Martin W. Johnson

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Martin Wiggo Johnson (September 30, 1893 – November 28, 1984), was an American oceanographer.


Of Scandinavian ancestry, Johnson was born in a farm house on the Great Plains in Chandler, South Dakota. As a young man, he was a general ranch hand. His family moved to Washington State, where he worked as a logger and as a guard on salmon traps.


After army service during World War I, Johnson attended the University of Washington and graduated in 1923. He was later awarded a PhD by his university.


Johnson died on November 28, 1984, in Snohomish, Washington.

Career summary[edit]

  • Curator of the Friday Harbor biological station
  • Scientific assistant at the Passamaquoddy International Fisheries Commission
  • Associate of the University of Washington, 1933–1934
  • Research associate, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California, 1934
  • Professor of marine biology, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, to 1961
  • Professor emeritus, Scripps Institution of Oceanography


  • Concerning the copepod Eucalanus elongatus Dana and its varieties in the northeast Pacific by Martin Wiggo Johnson (1938)
  • Some Observations on the Feeding Habits of the Octopus by Martin W. Johnson in Science (8 May 1942)
  • Concerning the proposed word "echolocation" by Martin W. Johnson in Science (23 March 1945)
  • The Oceans: Their Physics, Chemistry and General Biology by Harald Sverdrup, Martin W. Johnson and Richard H. Fleming (1942, new edition 1970)
  • The Euphausiacea (Crustacea) of the North Pacific by Brian P. Boden, Martin W. Johnson, and Edward Brinton (Bulletin of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Volume 6, Number 8, 1955)
  • Marine and Fresh Water Plankton by Martin W. Johnson in Ecology (Vol. 37, No. 4, 1956, pp. 859–860)
  • Production and distribution of larvae of the spiny lobster, Panulirus interruptus (Randall) with records on P. gracilis Streets by Martin Wiggo Johnson (1960)
  • Martin W. Johnson (1960). "The offshore drift of larvae of the California spiny lobster Panulirus interruptus" (PDF). California Co-operative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations. 7: 147–161. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-20. 
  • The palinurid and scyllarid lobster larvae of the tropical eastern Pacific, and their distribution as related to the prevailing hydrography by Martin Wiggo Johnson (1971)


"For his outstanding leadership in biological and general oceanography. Among Dr. Johnson's contributions are explanations for two newly discovered acoustic phenomena in the sea. These explanations brought biologist and physicists together in a common interest, and introduced underwater acoustics as a prime tool for marine ecology".

Private life[edit]

  • He was a mandolin player
  • His hobby was wood carving
  • A scientific paper called Spectral properties of Noctiluca miliaris Suriray, a heterotrophic dinoflagellate, by W.M. Balch and F.T. Haxo (1983), was "...dedicated to Martin W.Johnson on the occasion of his 90th birthday".

External links[edit]

An online edition of The Oceans: Their Physics, Chemistry and General Biology is now available here.