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Spiridon Brusina


Spiridon Brusina (Zadar, 1845 – Zagreb, 1908) was a great Croatian zoologist faunist, organizer of scientific work, and palaeontologist malacologist.

 

Spiridon Brusina (Zadar, 1845 – Zagreb, 1908) was a great Croatian zoologist faunist, organizer of scientific work, and palaeontologist malacologist.

 

From his grammar-school days in Zadar and his studies in Vienna, he showed special interest in the study of marine and fresh-water molluscs, the snails and shells of coastal Croatia. During his student days and after coming to Zagreb, he published what was then the most complete presentations of living molluscs in Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia. Working persistently, he collected a mass of data for compiling a presentation of Croatian fauna. He published many books and papers on ichthyology, ornithology and mamalology, collaborated and corresponded with the greatest zoologists of his time, attended many international congresses, and was generally known and respected outside the borders of his homeland. Aware that one man cannot collect the complete fauna of a country, he devoted himself to the fauna of the Adriatic Sea. By the end of his life he had compiled the most complete collection of Adriatic fauna to date, in which he listed as many as 563 Adriatic taxons.


Brusina founded and headed the Croatian National Zoological Museum, leaving behind him classified, and professionally and scientifically analysed malacological, entomological, ichthyological, ornithological and mamalological collections. In his desire to gather and organize Croatian natural scientists he worked on the foundation of the Croatian Natural History Society (1885) and its journal with articles in world languages (1886). He organized scientific trips, and led a team of experts in Adriatic research (1894). He greatly encouraged ichthyological and ornithological studies of Croatia. He compiled the first Croatian zoological bibliographies because he was the first to realize the importance of such "data bases", and also the importance of natural science literature. He built up a valuable library from scratch, acquiring many important publications, journals, and series by purchase, exchange for the scientific journals he had established, and by individual and governmental donations. He far-sightedly realized the importance of the sea for Croatia, and was the first to encourage the foundation of a Croatian marine research station. He was called the father of Croatian marine biology.