The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XIV. The Victorian Age, Part Two.

VIII. The Literature of Science

§ 50. Edward Forbes

Among marine biologists of eminence was Edward Forbes, who was the first to investigate the distribution of marine organisms at various depths in the sea; and he it was who defined the areas associated with the bathymetrical distribution of marine life, and pointed out that, as we descend into depths below fifty fathoms, vegetable life tends to fade away and that aquatic organisms become more and more modified.

The custom of naturalists to go on long voyages was still maintained. The younger Hooker accompanied Sir James Ross in the “Erebus” on his voyage in search of the south magnetic pole; Huxley sailed on the “Rattlesnake” with Owen Stanley, and, on this voyage, laid the foundation of his remarkable knowledge of the structure of marine animals; Darwin sailed on the “Beagle” (1831–6) and, among the many results of this memorable voyage, was his theory of the structure and origin of coral-reefs. The invention of telegraphy indirectly brought about a great advance in our knowledge of deep-sea fauna. It was necessary to survey the routes upon which the large oceanic cables were to be laid, and, by the inventions of new sounding and dredging instruments, it was becoming possible to secure samples of the bottom fauna as well as of the sub-stratum upon which it existed. Other names that occur in connection with deep-sea dredging are those of Sir Wyville Thomson, of W.B. Carpenter and of J. Gwyn Jeffreys.