M‘intosh, William Carmichael

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M‘intosh, William Carmichael

(b. St. Andrews, Scotland, 10 October 1838; d. St. Andrews, 1 April 1931)

marine zoology.

William M‘Intosh was the only son of Baillie John M‘Intosh, a builder and magistrate in St. Andrews. He credited his mother, Eliza Mitchell, with an early stimulus toward marine descriptive zoology. His youngest sister, Roberta, who married Albert C. L. Günther (keeper of zoology at the British Museum of Natural History), illustrated many of his works.

He was educated at St. Andrews (1853–1857) and Edinburgh, where he received his M.D. in I860. He specialized in mental diseases and was superintendent of the Perthshire Asylum at Murthly from 1863 to 1882, Duringthis time, the results of his marine zoological studies appeared regularly in the scientific literature.

Volume I of his Monograph of the British Marine Annelids (The Nemerteam, published in two parts [1873-1874]) brought him wide recognition; hence the Annelid collections from the Porcupine and Challenger expeditions were assigned to him for description. The Monograph was not continued until 1900, when volume II, Polychaetes, appeared; this work was concluded with volume IV in 1923.

M‘Intosh assumed the chair of natural history at St. Andrews in 1882; he retired from it in his eightieth year. In 1883 he was appointed to conduct a royal commission scientific inquiry into the effects of beam-trawling on the Scottish sea fisheries. A knowledge of the early life histories of a variety of marine species was needed, and requisite facilities became available when he established the Gatty Laboratory (1884), the first marine laboratory in Great Britain, at St. Andrews. M‘lntosh and his co-workers first described in detail the pelagic eggs and larvae of the major British marine food-fishes, a critical aspect of fishery biology.

M‘Intosh received the Royal Medal in 1899, the Linncan Medal in 1924, and was president and active in the affairs of the Ray Society in London from 1913 through March 1931. He never married.


Among M‘Intosh’s writings are: Monograph of the British Marine Annelids, 4 vols. (London, 1873–1923); “On the Annelida of the Porcupine Expeditions of 1869 and 1870,” in Transactions of the Zoological Society of London, 9 (1876), 395–416; Report on the Annelida potychaeta collected by H. M. S, Challenger during the years 1873-1876, Challenger Expedition, Zool., XII (London, 1885); Report on Cephalodiscus dodecahphus, M‘Intosh, a New type of the Potyzoa, procured on the voyage of H. M. S. Challenger during the years 1873-1876, Challenger Expedition, Zool, XX (London, 1887); with E. E. Prince, “On the Development and Life-Histories of the Teleostean Food- and Other Fishes,” in Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 35 (1890), 665–946; The Gatty Marine Laboratory… (Dundee, 1896); with A. T. Masterman, The Life-Histories of the British Marine Food-Fishes (London, 1897); and The Resources of the Sea… (London, 1899).

Obituary notices appeared in the 2 Apr. 1931 issues of The New York Times and the Times (London); W. T. C, “Prof. W. C. M‘Intosh, F. R.S.,” in Nature, 127 (2 May 1931), 673–674; W. T. C, “William Carmichael M‘Intosh—1838–1931,” in Proceedings of the Royal Society, 110B (1932), xxiv-xxviii, with portrait. Also see List of Works, Memoirs, and Papers (Dundee, n.d.).

Daniel Merriman