Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/483

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A MARINE BIOLOGICAL OBSERVATORY.

of the colleges and the co-operation of investigators, and on the same ground we have rested every appeal for pecuniary assistance.

In certain respects of fundamental importance, then, the Marine Biological Laboratory stands alone among the seaside laboratories now in existence. Its general policy has been national in scope; the organization of its governing board and its staff of instructors is entirely non-sectional in character; it is an independent establishment, free from the control of any other institution, and owes its existence to private initiative; its record of five years has been such as to win the desired support of many of our leading colleges, and thus to place it on a vantage-ground that insures its development along the line of its choice.

Its growth in numbers and prosperity has far outrun expectation. Starting in 1888 with an attendance of seventeen, representing thirteen different institutions, it increased that number to forty-four in 1889, forty-seven in 1890, seventy-one in 1891, and one hundred and ten in 1892, representing fifty-two of our higher educational centers. The number of colleges, universities, seminaries, academies, schools, etc., represented during the five seasons is one hundred and ten. We now have thirty private rooms for the use of investigators, and five general laboratories for the use of students and beginners in investigation. Every room and every laboratory has been filled the past summer to overflowing, so that the library room had to be again occupied, notwithstanding the addition of new buildings more than doubling the capacity of the original laboratory. During the summer we have had no less than fifty investigators, over thirty of whom occupied rooms as independent workers. We can now point to scientific results that secure for the laboratory a reputation of which many a richer foundation might be envious.

With so encouraging a beginning already made, what option have we but to go on and build up on this basis, trusting that friends of our science will be found who will appreciate its work and its need and give it an adequate foundation?

Biology in America has many needs, but not one that rises to the importance of a marine observatory. In that its highest interests now center, and I am sure that I only express the conviction of my scientific colleagues, both in this country and abroad, when I say that the establishment of such an observatory is an object worthy of the most splendid gift that private munificence has ever bestowed on any branch of science. It costs many millions nowadays to create a first-class university; and not a few low-grade affairs might better have never been planted. Instead of multiplying such institutions, it would be wise to create scientific institutes for the larger and more important branches of