Rum, Sea Squirts, and the Lash!
“But assuming that the would-be scientist managed to avoid, or survive, the potentially dire consequences of scurvy, dysentery and malaria, that his ship was not sunk in bad weather or driven onto an uncharted rock or reef, and that his journals and specimens were not destroyed by shipboard fungus, insects, rodents or cow or sheep urine, he still had several major problems to overcome in order to undertake remotely adequate deep sea research.”

Wow. There really is no more fun left in marine science. That’s the conclusion one must reach after reading Anthony Rice’s Marine science in the age of sail, part of a wonderful special issue of Zoologica Scripta entitled In Linnaeus’ Wake: 300 Years of Marine Discovery.

Worth checking out. And it makes me pose the question, if you wanted to get into marine science then, would you rather spend 5 hours manually bringing in your sounding lines using a capstan and a crew of surly sailors, or study the intertidal? Followup: why then did it take until the 20th century for the study of the intertidal to take off?

Possible answer: Chanties and Rum. That’s my hypothesis, and I’m stickin’ to it.

(although, for 5 hours?)

Anthony L. Rice (2009). Marine science in the age of sail Zoologica Scripta, 38, 25-31 DOI: 10.1111/j.1463-6409.2007.00305.x

2 thoughts on “Rum, Sea Squirts, and the Lash!

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