Challenger expedition – Wikipedia

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**1. Expedition Overview:**
– Conducted from 1872 to 1876.
– HMS Challenger was the research vessel.
– Aimed to study oceanography, marine life, and seafloor topography.
– First global marine research expedition.
– Significant contributions to scientific understanding of the oceans.

**2. Discoveries and Scientific Contributions:**
– Conducted 492 deep sea soundings and 133 bottom dredges.
– Discovered about 4,700 new species of marine life.
– Catalogued over 4,000 previously unknown species.
– Disproved the existence of Bathybius haeckelii, impacting evolutionary theories.
– Crew recorded a sounding of 4,475 fathoms deep in the southwest Pacific Ocean.
– William Dittmar established the composition of seawater.
– Mapping of oceanic sediments was conducted by Murray and Alphonse François Renard.
– Verified constant cold temperatures in the deep sea.

**3. Route and Exploration:**
– Voyage started from Portsmouth, then Lisbon, Gibraltar, and Madeira.
– Explored various islands and archipelagos like the Canary Islands, Bermuda, and Kerguelen Islands.
– Visited locations in Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, and various Pacific islands.
– Reached Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench.
– Confirmed the existence of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

**4. Crew and Officers:**
– Original crew included 21 officers and around 216 crew members.
– Naval officers included Commander John Maclear and Captain George Nares.
– Frank Tourle Thomson took over as captain in Hong Kong.
– Thomas Henry Tizard conducted hydrographic observations.
– Willemoes-Suhm died and was buried at sea on the voyage to Tahiti.

**5. Legacy and Impact:**
– Findings were published until 1895 by the Challenger Office in Edinburgh.
– Specimens collected were distributed for examination by experts worldwide.
– Established the importance of interdisciplinary marine research.
– Pioneered oceanographic research.
– Inspired generations of marine scientists.

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