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Popular Science Monthly/Volume 83/September 1913/The Progress of Science

THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE
WHARF-PILE FAUNA IN A MUSEUM GROUP

The oceanic waters that lap our shores conceal beneath their tidal margin a wealth of animal and plant life that is surprisingly unfamiliar to those who are not actually students of marine biology. As terrestrial animals ourselves we live and move in the midst of a world of air-breathing creatures with which most of us have become tolerably familiar. Beasts, birds, reptiles and insects have for us an economic or esthetic bearing that gives them a

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The Vineyard Haven Wharf Pile Group.

The upper background is made up of enlarged photographic transparencies showing the actual locality. Below the water line, the animals and plants of the wharf piles are represented largely by models. The submarine background effect is produced by five successive sheets of plate-glass through which daylight filters from a window behind.

PSM V83 D312 The broken pile in the foreground of the group with its marine life colonies.png

The broken pile in the foreground of the group with its colonies of mollusks, hydroids, sponges and ascidians.

place in the daily life of every one. The same is true of our terrestrial plants. But while the sea is familiar to us in its outward aspects, while certain of its creatures are well known to us because of their food value or for other reasons, yet the vast majority of the life that crowds that watery atmosphere has been effectually concealed from the generality of mankind by the density of the medium in which it lives. This is true not only of the animals of the deeper waters but of those that people the very margin of the sea as well. Here in the shallows life abounds. Here the struggle for existence is fiercest, and it is here that the closest adaptations to environment may be seen. These ocean margins were doubtless the theater of much of that tremendous evolutionary progress which in Archean times laid down the foundations of the great phyletic groups of the animal kingdom.

In order to give a picture not only of the abundance, variety and beauty of the sea life of our littoral waters, but also of the delicately balanced and interlocking associations of the animals and plants composing it, the American Museum of Natural History in New York has been installing a series of groups representing the actual conditions under which this life occurs at certain definite localities on the Atlantic coast. Photographic and painted transparencies are arranged to show the surroundings at the locality in question while the animals and seaweeds are represented partly by actual specimens and partly by models colored from life. The latest of these groups, as shown in the accompanying photographs, reproduces the animal and plant colonies to be found living below the low-water mark on the wharf piles in the neighborhood of Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts. The upper part of the group represents an old abandoned wharf between the piles of which may be seen

PSM V83 D313 Marine life colonies inhabiting pile underwater.png

The pile to the left is covered with the tubes of serpulid worms, overhung by the yellowish masses of the ascidian, Molgula. Starfishes, mollusks. barnacles, sponges, sea-anemones and sis species of ascidians are seen on the central pile.

glimpses of the cottages on the further shore of the harbor. In the foreground the-water is shown as though sectioned to disclose the submarine portions of the wharf piles with their bewildering display of living forms. In the center of the foreground a broken pile is completely covered by a colony of edible mussels (Mytilus edulis) over which has spread the pink and saffron clusters of a delicate hydroid (Tubularia crocea). Other species of hydroids are interspersed with fleshy masses of rosy-pink "sea-pork" (Amaroucium pellucidum), while glowing dully in the center is an orange-red colony of the beautiful red-beard sponge (Microciona prolifera). A graceful yellow and pink-tinted jellyfish (Dactylometra quinquecirra) with frilled mouth and fringed umbrella floats near the pile, and a school of squid (Loligo pealii) swims back and forth among the long thread-like filaments of the alga known as the "devil's shoe-string" (Chorda filum). The pile to the left is encrusted with the tubes of serpulid worms (Hydreides dianthus), whose many-colored gill circlets are protruded flower-like from all parts of the pile, and overhanging these are the yellow masses of the ascidian Molgula manhattensis. On this and the neighboring piles are also scattered in wild profusion sea-anemones, starfishes, mossanimals and several species of ascidians besides those already mentioned. Most of these are sessile animals and form an admirable illustration of adaptation to an inactive life and a diet of microorganisms, as contrasted with the swiftly moving and voracious fishes and squid shown elsewhere in the group.

Other groups which have been completed in this series are the "shore mollusk group," showing the animals of a sand-spit at Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, and the "Woods Hole marine worm group." A group to illustrate the invertebrate animals of a Nahant rock tide-pool is under construction.

 

THE INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL CONGRESS

Three important international congresses were arranged for the month of August, two of them on this continent. The Congress of School Hygiene meets at Buffalo just after the issue of the present number of the Monthly. The Geological Congress met at Toronto, and the International Medical Congress at London earlier in the month, but only the cabled accounts of the latter congress are at hand in daily papers. It is gratifying that these should be somewhat full, The Boston Transcript, for example, devoting as much space as two columns in a single issue to cabled despatches. The proceedings of a medical congress, more especially those parts relating to public hygiene, can with advantage be brought to the attention of the widest possible public.

International medical congresses were organized in Paris in 1867 and have since been held at four-year periods. The second congress was held in London thirty-two years ago under the presidency of Sir James Paget. Among those who took part in its proceedings were Pasteur, Virchow, Charcot, Koch, Huxley and Lister. Since that time vast progress has been made in the medical sciences and in their application, but it may be that a generation hence none of those taking part in the present congress will be so widely distinguished.

The general sessions of the congress were held in Albert Hall. The address in medicine was given by Professor Schauffard, the distinguished French physician; the address in surgery by Dr. Harvey Cushing, recently called from the Johns Hopkins University to Harvard University, and the address in pathology by Professor Ehrlich, of Frankfort. The general addresses were continued on the two following days, when Professor William Bateson spoke on heredity and Mr. John Burns, president of the British Local Government Board, gave an address on public

PSM V83 D315 Charles F Martin.png

Copyright by Harris and Ewing.

Professor of Meteorology in the U. S. Weather Bureau since 1891, Chief of the
Instrument Division, appointed Chief of the Weather Bureau, to succeed
Mr. Willis L. Moore. Mr. Marvin is here photographed with the
barograph, which is among the important meteorological
instruments which he has invented.

health. There were on the program the titles of some 600 papers and some hundred formal discussions distributed among 23 sections. Among the great number of subjects included in the program there may be mentioned almost at random a discussion on tropical sanitation by Sir Ronald Ross, who advocated a separate department of state to deal with the health of the community; an account by Surgeon General Sir David Bruce of his investigation of sleeping sickness in Nyassa Land, where he found half of the wild animals to be infected; Dr. Van Logham, of Amsterdam, foretold the spread of yellow fever to Asia and Australasia through the opening of the Panama Canal; Dr. Ehrlich explained the mechanics of his laboratory, through which he had obtained his 606 different combinations, of which the last had become so important; Dr. S. Kitasato, of Japan, presented a report on the plague, and Dr. Shirayama on the cause of beri beri; Dr. George W. Crile, of Cleveland, spoke on the surgical effects of shock; Dr. Clarence M. Blake, of Boston, on climatic and occupational influences in diseases of the ear; Dr. K. F. Wenkelbach, of Strassburg, on the pathology of heart failure. Sir Thomas Barlow, the president of the congress, made an address at the general session and other English representatives made addresses before the sections over which they presided. Sir E. A. Schafer made the address on physiology; Sir Anderson Crichett, on ophthalmology; Sir Malcolm Morris, on dermatology; Sir J. Mackenzie Davidson, on radiology; Sir Lauder Brunton, on therapeutics, and Sir David Ferrier, on neuropathology.

There were three prizes awarded by the congress, one established at Moscow was given to Professor Ch. Richet for his work on anaphylaxis; the prize established at the meeting in Hungary, to Professor Wright for his work in the same subject, and the Paris prize to Professor A. von Wassermann, the newly appointed head of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Experimental Therapy, for his work on immunity.

The congress passed a resolution to the effect that "It is our conviction that experiments on living animals have proved of the utmost service to medicine in the past and are indispensable to its future progress." The seven thousand members were entertained at dinners, garden parties and other functions in the manner which is only possible in the well-organized system of English society. The meeting of 1917 will be in Munich. Four years later it might well be in the United States.

 

SCIENTIFIC ITEMS

We record with regret the death of Professor John Milne, distinguished for his work in seismology, and Dr. Robert von Lenderfeld, professor of zoology in Prague.

M. Pierre Boutroux has accepted a professorship of mathematics at Princeton University, and will assume his duties in the autumn. M. Boutroux is a son of the distinguished professor of philosophy, M. Emile Boutroux, and is closely related to the Poincaré family.—Dr. J. S. Kingsley, professor of zoology in Tufts College since 1892, has accepted a chair of zoology in the University of Illinois.

The Kelvin memorial window in Westminster Abbey was dedicated on July 15. The dean of Westminster made the address and the ceremonies were attended by many distinguished scientific men. The window, which was designed by Mr. J. N. Comper, is in the east bay of the nave on the north side. The light from it falls upon the graves of Kelvin and Isaac Newton, and immediately beneath it are the graves of Darwin and Herschel.