S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Schmarda, Dr Ludwig Karl (marine invertebrate zoology)

Born: 23 August 1819, Olomouc, Czech Republic.
Died: 7 April 1908, Vienna, Austria.

Ludwig K. Schmarda, zoologist, qualified as Doctor of Philosophy (1841) and Doctor of Medicine (MD, 1843) and for several years worked as an army surgeon. He then started teaching at the Joanneum in Graz, Austria, serving successively as acting head of the faculties of agriculture (1848), anthropology (1848-1849) and zoology (1849-1850). In 1850 he became professor of natural history at the University of Graz and in 1852 professor of zoology and director of the zoological collection at the University of Prague. He started his research career with a study of what were then called infusoria - Protozoa of the class Ciliophora. This work led to a monograph, Kleine Beiträge der Naturgeschichte der Infusorien (Brief contribution to the natural history of infusoria; Vienna, 1846, 61p). From 1847 to 1854 he produced ten papers in some of which he described infusoria, while others dealt with topics such as exotic fishes of the Adriatic Sea, and the shipworm Teredo navalis. He also produced a book, Die geographische verbreitung der thiere (The geographical distribution of animals; Vienna, 1853), an interesting pre-Darwinian account that dealt with both terrestrial and marine animals.

From 1853 to 1857 Schmarda travelled around the world, spending much of his time in the southern hemisphere. He described his journey in Ludwig K. Schmarda's Reise um die Erde in den Jahre 1853-1857 (Braunschweig, 1861, 3 vols). His activities near the Cape of Good Hope are dealt with in Vol. 2, pp. 25-95. The scientific results of his travels were written up in Neue wirbellose thiere beobachtet und gesammelt auf einer reise um die erde 1853 bis 1857 (New invertebrate animals observed and collected on a journey around the world, 1853 to 1857; Leipzig, 1859-1861, 2 vols). He was particularly interested in marine worms.

From 1862 to 1883 Schmarda was professor of zoology at the University of Vienna. In the latter year was made court councillor of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. During these years he wrote a two volume work, Zoologie (Vienna, 1871-1872), but little else. After his retirement he returned his attention to the geographical distribution of animals and published "Bericht über die Forsschritte unserer Kentnisse von der geographischen Verbreitung der Tiere" (Geographisches Jahrbuch, 1885-1889, 164p, in three parts).

List of sources:
National Union Catalogue, pre-1956 imprints. London: Mansell, 1968-1980.

Royal Society of London. Catalogue of scientific papers [1800-1900]. London: Royal Society, 1867-1925.

Smith, C.H. Some biogeographers, evolutionists and ecologists: Chrono-biographical sketches. .

South African bibliography to the year 1925. London: Mansell, 1979.

Compiled by: C. Plug