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Marine science in the age of sail


  • Anthony L. Rice

Corresponding author: Anthony L. Rice. 13 John Eggars Square, Anstey Road, Alton, Hampshire GU34 2RG, UK. E-mail:


Contrary to commonly expressed opinion, scientific interest in the deep ocean did not begin in the second half of the nineteenth century with the famous cruise of HMS Challenger. However, before the widespread use of steam power, any would-be deep sea scientist had a number of difficulties to overcome. This paper explores a few of the more obvious ones that probably explain why, prior to the Challenger voyage, attempts at deep ocean science were generally small scale, uncoordinated — and largely unsuccessful!