Carl Jørgen Wesenberg-Lund (1867-1955)

Professor of freshwater biology from 1922, MSc zoology 1893, assistant at the zoological and physiological departments at the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural College 1893-99, director of the Laboratory of Freshwater Biology from 1899, limnologist, entomologist.

Supported by his mentor, professor of botany Eugen Warming, Carl Wesenberg-Lund established a laboratory outside Copenhagen dedicated to ecological studies of lakes. Wesenberg-Lund’s primary focus was microscopic organisms and insects. His approach was deeply rooted in traditional natural history including observations in natural settings and the collecting of specimens, while he was not interested in experimental and physiological work. Wesenberg-Lund published several popular works on limnology such as Insektlivet i Ferske Vande [The Life of Insects in Fresh Waters] (Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 1915) in which his religious world view coloured his descriptions of the harmony of nature. Like Warming he had Lamarckian sympathies which he combined with a non-dogmatic faith. He was an outspoken vitalist and critical of mutation theory and genetics. Together with Warming and the zoologist Herluf Winge he was part of a strong Lamarckian tradition in early twentieth-century natural history in Denmark.

Hans Henrik Hjermitslev

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