Celebrating Darwin

Charles Darwin
“What Darwin understood like no one before him was that all organisms – including ourselves – are deeply connected, both through their interactions in the “struggle for existence” and over time through the grand forces of evolution. What is most amazing to me, is how he was able to sketch out the Big Story of Life on Earth simply from detailed, open-minded observation. We need to encourage this passion for nature, and skill of observation again in students today.”

Dr. Boris Worm of Dalhousie University and lead scientist on the Future of Marine Animal Populations project for the global Census of Marine Life

In 2009 there were two anniversaries to celebrate the naturalist: two hundred years since Darwin was born (12 February 1809) and one hundred and fifty years since the publication of his seminal book, On the Origin of Species (24 November 1859). To honor the occasion, USM graduate student Erik Pietrowicz, applied for and received a grant from the Society for the Study of Evolution to promote the work of Charles Darwin in the region.

As part of the celebration, we featured a selection of blog articles, videos and educational resources throughout the year.

Featured Blog

  • Celebrating Darwin – Leading scientists from around the region and the world contributed essays to a weblog reflecting on Darwin’s contribution to science.

Essay Contest: Discovering our Modern Day “Darwins”

As part of our year-long celebration, we sponsored an essay contest for high school students to learn how modern-day researchers with the global Census of Marine Life are following in the tradition of Charles Darwin. Read the winning essay “Following Darwin’s Footsteps” by Brett Davisson of Wells, Maine.

Educational Resources


“Beagle: On the future of species”

The 35-part series, by Dutch VPRO, will reconstruct Darwin’s 5-year long voyage on the HMS Beagle in the course of one year, departing September 1, 2009. Beagle will make an attempt to assess where the world stands today in light of Darwin’s evolution theory. The entire voyage, and any resulting scientific discoveries, can be viewed on the VPRO web site.

Darwin Birthday Card

Enjoy this Society for the Study of Evolution video of scientists and students around the world wishing Darwin a Happy Birthday: