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Henry Bryant Bigelow (October 3, 1879 – December 11, 1967) was an American oceanographer and marine biologist.

Henry Bryant Bigelow[1]
Born(1879-10-03)October 3, 1879
DiedDecember 11, 1967(1967-12-11) (aged 88)
Alma materHarvard University
Known forWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Fishes of the Gulf of Maine
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Perkins Shattuck
AwardsAlexander Agassiz Medal (1931)
William Bowie Medal (1944)
Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal (1948)
Scientific career
InstitutionsMuseum of Comparative Zoology (Harvard), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Doctoral advisorE. L. Mark
Other academic advisorsAlexander Agassiz
Author abbrev. (zoology)Bigelow

After graduating from Harvard in 1901, he began working with famed ichthyologist Alexander Agassiz. Bigelow accompanied Agassiz on several major marine science expeditions including one aboard the Albatross in 1907. He began working at the Museum of Comparative Zoology in 1905 and joined Harvard's faculty in 1906 where he worked for 62 years.

In 1911, Bigelow was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[2] He helped found the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1930 and was its founding director. During his life he published more than one hundred papers and several books. He was a world-renowned expert on coelenterates and elasmobranchs.

In 1948 Bigelow was awarded the Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal from the National Academy of Sciences.[3]


Bigelow's Fishes of the Gulf of Maine[4] (with William C. Schroeder) continues to be a useful reference today.

Bigelow described numerous new species to science, 110 of which are recognized today according to the World Register of Marine Species. On the other hand, some 26 species and two genera (Bigelowina, stomatopods in family Nannosquillidae, and Bigelowiella, protists in family Chlorarachniophyte) are named after him.[5]

The Henry Bryant Bigelow Medal in Oceanography is awarded by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to honor "those who make significant inquiries into the phenomena of the sea".[6] Bigelow was the first recipient of the medal in 1960.

He was honored by the naming of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research vessel NOAAS Henry B. Bigelow (R 225).


  1. ^ Redfield, A.C. (1976). "Henry Bryant Bigelow, October 3, 1879-December 11, 1967" (PDF). Biographical Memoirs. National Academy of Sciences. 48: 50–80.
  2. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  3. ^ "Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal". National Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on 29 December 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ Bigelow, Henry B.; William C. Schroeder (1953). "Fishes of the Gulf of Maine". Fishery Bulletin. 74 (53): 1–577. html version pdf version
  5. ^ "World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS)". Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  6. ^ WHOI. "Henry Bryant Bigelow Medal in Oceanography". Retrieved 27 March 2012.

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