Agassiz, Garman, "Albatross," and the Collection of Deep-sea Fishes

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  • After experiencing five years of service in the Atlantic area following its 1882 launching, the U. S. Fish Commission research ship "Albatross" was reassigned to the Pacific coast. During its long career in Pacific waters, the vessel participated in a number of explorations; the author contends that the long-term legacy of the "Albatross" rests on scientific findings that arose from the few voyages which were entirely devoted to oceanography and organismic biology. This article concentrates on a single two-month voyage in 1891 during which the "Albatross" was under the leadership of Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology Director Alexander Agassiz.
  • He had already studied Atlantic and Caribbean fauna, and was anxious to conduct deep-water trawls and sample the eastern Pacific off Panama and Ecuador to help answer two questions regarding Pacific waters, namely, was there life in the intermediate depths, and was the fauna in any way related to Caribbean creatures. MCZ curator Samuel Garman did not take the trip, but processed specimens from it and used the findings to publish an 1899 deep-sea fishes book illustrated by Andreas Westergren and Henry Blake.


  • Blake, John Henry
  • Westergren, Andreas
  • Agassiz, Alexander
  • Agassiz, Louis 1807-1873
  • Garman, Samuel
  • Harvard University Museum of Comparative Zoology
  • Albatross (Steamer)


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography


Article is one of six from a quarterly journal of the National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U. S. Department of Commerce. This issue of the journal is devoted entirely to the U. S. Fish Commission Steamer "Albatross," launched in 1882 as the world's first oceanographic and fisheries research ship; the Introduction features 16 photographs and illustrations. The articles were papers presented at a symposium held on June 30, 1997, at the University of Washington in Seattle; each concerns a phase of the ship's 40-year career as a research vessel. Eleven figures accompany the article.

Contained within

Marine Fisheries Review Vol. 61, No. 4 (Journal)

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,




  • Scientific expeditions
  • Oceanographic research ships
  • Oceans
  • Fishes
  • Ichthyology
  • Marine resources
  • Oceanography
  • Biography

Physical description

pgs. 58-68

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