William Orville Ayres

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William Orville Ayres

William Orville Ayres ( September 11, 1817 - April 30, 1887 ) was an American physician and ichthyologist .

Live and act

William Orville Ayres was born in Connecticut in 1817 . He studied medicine at the Yale University and received his doctorate there about tetanus . However, he began to be interested in the natural sciences early on and was particularly interested in ornithology . He worked closely with his friend John James La Forest Audubon , after Audubon's death in 1844 Ayres turned away from this area on the grounds that the ornithology was complete and that there was nothing left to be explored here and henceforth worked in the Ichthyology .

In 1854, Ayres moved to the California Academy of Sciences and became the first curator of ichthyology there. The working conditions were very poor at the time, Ayres had no suitable lighting and, in the absence of scientific journals, he had to publish his first descriptions in daily newspapers.

Ayres mainly worked on spiked heads (Sebastinae) and described many species of the genus Sebastes . At the same time, Theodore Nicholas Gill was working on the same genre at the Smithsonian Institution . Gill had serious doubts about the work of Ayres and criticized him again and again, finally he published a paper in the year 1864 in which he criticized Ayre's work as a whole.

The ruthless criticism of Gill hit Ayres so hard that he refused to publish or research on ichthyology. He left San Francisco in 1871 and first moved to Chicago. There he ran into financial difficulties and left the city in 1878 for New Haven. Where he taught medicine at Yale University. William Orville Ayres died on April 30, 1887.

In honor of Ayres, different fish and bird species were named with the Artepipheton ayresii .



  • Arthur W. Kendall: An Historical Review of Sebastes Taxonomy and Systematics . In: Marine Fisheries Review . tape 62 , no. 2 , 2000 ( pdf ).

Individual evidence

  1. Dave Brian Butvill: Science Amid The saloons. California Academy of Sciences, archived from the original on July 14, 2007 ; Retrieved February 17, 2010 .
  2. ^ About the Ichthyology Department - Department Milestones. California Academy of Sciences, accessed February 29, 2016 .
  3. ^ Theodore Nicholas Gill: Critical remarks on the genera Sebastes and Sebastodes of Ayres . In: Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences . tape 16 . Philadelphia 1864, p. 145-147 .