November 15, 1733|
|Died||September 1, 1821
|Institutions||Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences|
|Alma mater||University of Montpellier|
He began his studies in Toulouse, later returning to Montpellier, where he studied medicine at the university. Here he was a student of François Boissier de Sauvages de Lacroix (1706–1767), an ardent supporter of Carolus Linnaeus. In August 1752, Gouan received his doctorate under the chairmanship of Antoine Magnol (1676–1759), and subsequently practiced medicine at Saint-Éloi Hospital in Montpellier. Soon afterwards his interest turned to natural history.
In 1762 Gouan published a plant catalog of the botanical garden at Montpellier titled Hortus regius monspeliensis. This publication was the first French botanical work that followed the binomial nomenclature of Linnaeus. In 1765 he penned Flora Monspeliaca, and became titulaire at the Montpellier Academy. During this time period he attained a position at the botanical garden, and was in charge of collection and classification of plant species. In 1770 he published an important ichthyological treatise called Historia Piscicum, a work that expanded the number of fish genera that existed in the Linnaean system.
In 1766 he succeeded Sauvages de Lacroix at the Faculty of Medicine, and in 1783 became a foreign member of the Linnean Society of London. During his career he maintained correspondence with several learned scientists and thinkers, which included in addition to Linnaeus; Albrecht von Haller (1708–1777), Jean Guillaume Bruguière (1750–1798), Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778), Carl Peter Thunberg (1743–1828), et al.
In 1790, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
Gouan is credited with planting the first ginkgo biloba in France, a tree that was given to him by naturalist Pierre Marie Auguste Broussonet (1761–1807). Today this tree is still standing in the botanical garden of Montpellier. During his career he amassed a large collection of algae that was harvested around Marseille.
- This article is based on a translation of an article from the French Wikipedia.