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Article
Published: 2012-12-12

Ludwig Döderlein’s Pioneering Research on Echinoderms, Ecology and Evolution: A brief historical review*

Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, USA
Bavarian State Collections of Zoology, Munich, Germany
Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, Netherlands
Senckenberg Natural History Museum and Research Institute, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
history of sciences Ludwig Döderlein biography Germany Strasbourg

Abstract

The German zoologist and paleontologist Ludwig Heinrich Philip Döderlein (1855–1936) was one of the foremost echi­noderm researchers of his time. Self-taught in many subjects of natural science, he rose from provincial obscurity to international fame. We present some aspects of: a) his life history; b) his echinoderm research; c) his contributions to ecology and evolutionary biology, with the coral genus Fungia as an example; and d) his achievements in building up and promoting biological collections. The latter is illustrated by the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology, being second only to the Zoological Museum of Strasbourg in the diversity of Döderlein specimens that survived the perils of two world wars.