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Published in the American National Biography, v. 2, p. 750-751. Copyright 1999, the American Council of Learned Societies and Oxford University Press. Used by permission.


Over his long career Bigelow contributed substantially to the knowledge of Atlantic marine life, including such divergent forms as plankton, jellyfish, and sharks; completed a comprehensive oceanographic survey of the Gulf of Maine; and helped to establish Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. In “The Oceanographic and How It Grew” (in Oceanography: The Past: The Proceedings of the Third International Congress on the History of Oceanography [1980]), Roger Revelle wrote, “Bigelow was certainly one of the fathers of oceanography in the United States in general and of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in particular through his pioneering Gulf of Maine studies, his broadly-based, persuasive report to the Academy, and his work as the first Director of the Institution” (p. 12).