Last night Mr. Alexander Agassiz, Director of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, gave an interesting lecture in the University Museum on "Some European Zoological Stations and Museums." Mr. Agassiz is an authority on this subject, having spent over two years in Europe 1870-71 in visiting all of the most important museums. The lecture in brief was as follows:
In Europe there are two distinct systems of zoological stations, one in which the stations are connected with the different universities, the other of a more cosmopolitan character, offering opportunity for research to students of every kind coming from every portion of the world. Thirty years ago there was not a place on the sea coast where marine zoology could be studied, excepting in a private way. At present the most important stations are situated on the North Sea and on the Mediterranean.
The best example of the cosmopolitan type of station is situated at Naples. It is one of the earliest stations established and draws students from all over the world. Since the establishment of the French stations, however, the importance of the Naples station has decreased. The equipment of the station at Naples is very extensive. There is an enormous building for the collection of specimens, and the station has control of two steam launches and materials of the highest order. Everything is done on a strictly business-like basis, with a view to making both ends meet. In fact this is the only station where so much consideration is given to the financial side of the institution. There are accomodations for fifty men, from each of whom a fee of $500 is required. As Germany has no station of her own, the Naples station receives a subsidy of from $12,000 to $15,000 from that country, in return for which the German university student are allowed certain privileges at Naples. The Italian government also contributes toward the support of the Naples station. A report is published by the station periodically, of the results of the investigations carried on by different students.
The Trieste station, however, is of an entirely different character. It is connected directly with the great Austrian universities. It is a comparatively modest institution, there being accommodation for only about fifteen students, from whom only a very moderate fee is demanded.
The station at Villefranche supplies the Russian universities in the same way. It is slightly modified, however, in that it has several subordinate stations each devoted to the collection of special kinds of Zoological fauna.
The French stations are all connected in the same way with special universities. The Sarbonne has two stations, one off the west coast of Spain and another in the English Channel. The station at Marseilles is perhaps the most interesting, as it is situated right in a university town.
Thus the students are enabled to remain at the laboratory of the station all the year around, and zoological research is consequently greatly facilitated. Here, also, the results of investigations are published.
In Denmark, Sweden and Norway the zoological stations, although less pretentious, are all connected with universities.
The principal English stations, at Plymouth, Liverpool and Manchester, as well as those of Scotland, are connected with the government fisheries.
The principal American zoological station is situated at Woods Holl, and is controlled by the Fish Commission. It is probably the best equipped station in the world. The attempt has been made by the American universities to join forces with the Fish Commission in order to have an opportunity to enjoy the superior advantages of the government station and equipment, but without success. Until this is accomplished, the facilities for zoological study in America will never be equal to those offered in Europe.