Benedykt Dybowski was born in Adamaryni of Navahrudak Uyezd of Grodno Governorate in the Russian Empire and was the brother of the Polish naturalist Władysław Dybowski and the cousin of the French explorer Jean Dybowski.
He studied at Minsk High School, and later medicine at Tartu (earlier Dorpat) University (Estonia). He later studied at Wroclaw University and went on expeditions to seek and study oceanic fishes and crustaceans. He became a Professor of Zoology at the Warsaw main school.
He started studying the natural history of Siberia and in 1866 a governor Muraviov dismissed Dybowski from hard labour (katorga), renewed his civil rights and proposed him to work as a doctor in hospital.
He later settled in the small village Kultuk and began a detailed study of Baikal Lake with some technical support from the Russian Geographical Society. He served as a medical doctor for the indigenous population of Kamchatka, the Aleutian Islands, the Commander Islands, Bering Island, making four trips per year around the populated areas there.
In 1927 the Academy of Sciences in the USSR elected Dybowski as a member-correspondent. Apart from that in 1921 Dybowski was given an honorary doctorate by the Warsaw's University, and in 1923 by the University of Wilno. On Dybowski's 95th birthday he was congratulated by the Shevchenko Scientific Society government.
Dybowski spent the last years of his life in Lwów, in his house on Kubanskaia 12. Dybowski died at the age of 97. He is buried in Lwów on the Łyczakowski Cemetery among the participants of the Polish Uprising of 1863.
Most of his collection of zoological and botanical specimens is now in the Lwów Zoological museum.
An amphipod (Gammaracanthuskytodermogammarus loricatobaicalensis), supposedly from Lake Baikal and named by him was once considered the longest scientific name. However, that name is no longer considered valid.
- Iłowiecki, Maciej (1981). Dzieje nauki polskiej. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Interpress. p. 164. ISBN 83-223-1876-6.
- Dybowski 1926 Bull. internat. Acad. Cracovie, (B) 1926:61.
- Pałkiewicz odsłania tablicę Dybowskiego na Kamczatce at Rzeczpospolita, 6 February 2014.
Media related to Benedykt Dybowski at Wikimedia Commons