Maria Merian

1647-1717
German naturalist and scientific illustrator. Predated Charles Darwin by 150 years.

Our fund is named after Maria Sibylla Merian. She was driven by her passion for science and art to better understand the natural world. Working in the late 17th century, Merian is credited with developing the field of entomology by studying, codifying and depicting insects that were local to Europe as well as the exotic flora and fauna of South America. Merian's expedition to South America in 1699, accompanied by her younger daughter Dorothea, was unprecedented. There she observed the local flora and explained for the first time the life cycle of the insects as well as cataloguing their native names.

 

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