Felix Anton Dohrn
AuthorWellner, Karen; Clark, Kal; Schuermann, Brian
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Felix Anton Dohrn is best remembered as the founder of the Stazione Zoologica di Napoli, the world' s first permanent laboratory devoted to the study of marine organisms. Dohrn was born on 29 December 1840 in Stettin, Pomerania (now Poland), to a wealthy merchant family. Dohrn's paternal grandfather, Heinrich, trained as a surgeon and then established a sugar refinery, while Dohrn's father, Carl August Dohrn, who inherited the family business, became interested in natural history through Alexander von Humboldt, a family friend. Once settled in his career, Anton Dohrn's own research never strayed far from the origin of vertebrates. He promoted the theory that vertebrates closely resemble and are derived from annelid-like ancestors and he spent years studying the early embryogenesis of lower vertebrates in attempts to prove this.