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The Discovery Investigations were a series of scientific cruises and shore-based investigations into the biology of whales in the Southern Ocean. They were funded by the British Colonial Office and organised by the Discovery Committee in London, which was formed in 1918. They were intended to provide the scientific background to stock management of the commercial Antarctic whale fishery.

The work of the Investigations contributed hugely to our knowledge of the whales, the krill they fed on, and the oceanography of their habitat, while charting the local topography, including Atherton Peak. The investigations continued until 1951, with the final report being published in 1980.

Shore-based work on South Georgia took place in the marine laboratory, Discovery House, built in 1925 at King Edward Point and occupied until 1931. The scientists lived and worked in the building, travelling half a mile or so across King Edward Cove to the whaling station at Grytviken to work on whales as they were brought ashore by commercial whaling ships.

Vessels used were:

Results of the investigations were printed in the Discovery Reports. This was a series of many small reports, published in 38 volumes by the Cambridge University Press, and latterly the Institute of Oceanographic Sciences. Many were printed as individual reports rather than in large volumes.

Pages/Plates/Charts

Plates I – VI

Plates VII – XVIII

A C Hardy MA
N A Mackintosh ARCS MSc

Plates XIX – XXIV

with Notes on Other Seals Found at South Georgia

Plates XXV – XLIV

J F G Wheeler MSc

Plates XLV – LVI

Plate I

Plate II

Plates III – IV

Plate V

Plates VI – VII

Plates I – X

Plates XI – XXXI

(With a report on Rock Specimens by GW Tyrrell ARCSc DSc FGS FRSE)

A L Nelson RNR

Plate XXXII

Plates XXXIII – XXXVIII

with a Description of a New Species from South Georgia

Plate XXXIX

Plates XL – XLIV
Charts 1 – 4

Plates I – IV

Plates VI – XVII

Arthur Earland FRMS

Plate I

Plates II – III

Plate IV

Assistant keeper in the Department of zoology, British Museum (Natural History)

Plates I – VI

Lecturer in zoology at the University of Glasgow

Plates VII – XLII

A G Bennett

Plates XLIII – XLIV

Plates XLV – XLVII
Charts 1 – 7

Plates XLVIII-LVII

Assistant-Keeper, Department of Zoology, British Museum (Nat. Hist.)

Plates 1 – VII

Plates VIII – X

Plates XI – XIII

Plate XIV

Plate XV

Plates I – XIII

Plates XIV – XV

Plate I

Plates II – XIV

Plates XV – XVI

Plates XVI – XXII

Plates I-X

Plate XI

Plates XII – XXV

ER Gunther MA

Plates I – IX

Plates X – XII

Plates I – IIa

With a report on Some Crystalline Components of the Weddell Sea Deposits. by FA Bannister MA

N A Mackintosh DSc

Plates XIV – XVI

Plates I – V

Plates VI – XIII

Plate XIV

Plate I

Alec H Laurie MA

Plate II

Plates III-XI

Plates XII-XVII

Plates XVIII, XIX

Plate I

Plate II

Plates III – VI

Plates VII – XIII

Plates XIV – XIX

PL Kramp

Plates XX – XXI

Plates I – XXV

Plates XXVII – XXXIII

Plates XXXIV – XXXVIII

With a Report on Rock Specimens by CE Tilley FRS

Plates XXXIX – XLII

Plates XLIII – LXVIII

Plates LXIX – XCV

HFP Herdman MSc

Plates I – XXIII

Plates XXIV – XXVI

Plates I – IV

Plates V – VI

Plates VII – VIII

Plate I – IV

Plates V – XIII

British Museum (Natural History)

Plates I – XIV

Plate XV

Plate XVI

Compiled mainly from manuscripts left by the late ER Gunther MA

Plates I – III

Plates IV – VI

Plates I – IV

Plates V – XXII

Plates XXIII – XXXI

Plate XXXII

Plates XXXIV – XXXVII

Plates XXXVIII – XLI

Plate I

Plates II – IV

University of Oslo

Plates V – X

Plates XI – XII

Plates XIII – XVIII

Plates I – XII

Together with Systematic and Biological Notes on Related Specimens from Other Oceans

British Museum (Natural History)

Part I. First Survey RRS William Scoresby March 1950
With an Account of the Reproductive System and Sexual Succession of Limacina bulimoides

National Institute of Oceanography

Part I. First Survey RRS William Scoresby March 1950

Plate XIII

Marine Biological Station, Port Erin

Plates XIV – XVIII

Dept of Zoology, British Museum (Nat. Hist.)

First Survey, RRS William Scoresby, March 1950

Plates XX – XXI

Plates I – II

Plates III – V

Plates I – VII

British Museum (Natural History)

Plates VIII – IX

With a Supplement to Isopod Crustacea, Part I. The Family Serolidae

Department of Zoology, Cardiff

Plates X

L H Pemberton

Plates XI – XII

The Zoological Laboratory, Oslo-Blindern, Norway

Plate XIII

National Institute of Oceanography

Plates I – VI

British Museum (Natural History)

Plates VII – XXVIII

Part I. Natural History and Morphology
Part II. Behaviour and Histology

A K Totton
G O Mackie

Plates I – III

British Museum (Natural History)

Ronald I Currie

Dept. Zoology, Univ. of Manchester

Plates IV – VII

Plates I – II

Plate III

Charts 1 – 11

Plate I

Rijksmuseum van Ntuurijke Historie, Leiden

Plates II – VII

Dominion Museum, Wellington, New Zealand

Plates VIII – XXI

Institut royal des Sciences naturelles de Belgique

National Institute of Oceanography, Wormley, Godalming, Surrey

Plates XXII – XXVI

Rothamstead Experimental Station

Plates 1 – 17

National Museum of Canada, Ottawa

Plates I – IV

Whale Research Unit,
National Institute of Oceanography

Whale Research Unit,
National Institute of Oceanography

Department of Zoology,
Exeter University

Plates V – VI

National Institute of Oceanography

Whale Research Unit, National Institute of Oceanography

Natural Environment Research Council

Plates I – XVII

Natural Environment Research Council

Natural Environment Research Council

British Museum (Natural History)

Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, Plymouth

The Discovery Investigations are described in the following books, all of which were out of print in 2008: