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Archival Collection: Charles M. Breder Jr.

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Dr. Breder was an experimental and behavioral ichthyologist whose work and achievements dominated the field. Dr. Breder’s pioneering research in ichthyology helped draw attention to the west coast of Florida. He was the mentor and long-time friend of Mote’s founder, Dr. Eugenie Clark, who is known world-wide as the “Shark Lady.” He served as interim director of Mote Marine Laboratory in 1967 and spent years as research associate in residence and member of the board of directors at Mote.

He is known for his work on the reproductive, schooling, and social behaviors of fishes, with a special interest in flying fishes and fish locomotion, as well as the evolution and behavior of blind cave characins (historical name) or characids from Mexico. He was involved in new research and discoveries in bird banding, tarpon tagging, flying fish, fish locomotion, and fish sound recordings. In the mid 1930s he developed a method for hatching and growing flying fish larvae. His research at the New York Aquarium included studies on the progressive acidification of seawater that occurs in aquariums. Dr. Breder's publications included 160 papers and books.

His earliest publication, written at 18, concerned photography of local birds and by age 21 he had published 15 popular articles and notes and had started his theoretical and experimental studies on fish locomotion. In 1925 the New York Academy of Sciences awarded him the A. Cressy Morrison Prize for his pioneering and penetrating analysis of fish locomotion. Among his achievements he described at least 5 new genera and 23 new species. In 1948 another ichthyologist, Fernández-Yépez, named a new species of belonid, Ichthyacus breederi, in honor of Dr. Breder. (The fish is now called Hyporhamphus brederi).

The content of these journals includes notes, itineraries, illustrations, and observations from specific scientific expeditions and laboratory research. They also provide an insight into the early meticulous scientific thoughts of this biologist, and how he examined and developed ideas. "It is apparent that among Dr. Breder's passions was his continual search for knowledge about questions that besieged many scientists (A. Y. Cantillo, 2002)."

Note on Project Funding
Since late 2009, the library staff has been conducting a basic processing and digitization project of pertinent Mote Technical Reports, 1930s-40s gray literature from the Bass Biological Laboratory (BBL) of Englewood, Florida, and various other SW Florida environment-related collections dating to the early 1920s. The process involves the rescue and preservation of unpublished documents and data from various entities, conversion to electronic format and e-publication of some of the key materials in the Library's open-access repository, DSpace. Initial digitization was funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), administered by the Florida Department of State, Division of Library and Information Services. In 2011, materials processing was supported by the Mote Scientific Foundation. This project was then expanded and continued in 2013, thanks to funds from The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations.

Collections in this community

  • Charles M. Breder Jr Field Journals and Transcriptions

    This collection includes photographs, drawings, rescued documents, transcriptions of field journals, and other materials about or written by Charles M. Breder, Jr. (1897-1983).

  • Charles M. Breder Jr Papers

    This collection includes items also found in the Bass Biological Laboratory Collection. Items include correspondence with the Bass Biological Laboratory from 1936-1939 & 1941.

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