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Diatom Research

By Doriedson Gomes, Oberdan Caldas, Eduardo da Silva, Peter Gell and David Williams


This paper describes the scientific life of Father Zimmermann, Brazil’s first diatomist. Father Zimmermann, a Jesuit priest born in Ehingen, Germany in 1871, studied theology in Britain in the early 20th century. His scientific life began in Portugal where, with other Jesuits, he founded the scientific journal Brotéria, for which he wrote several papers on diatoms. After the fall of the Portuguese monarchy in 1910, several conservative priests, including Zimmermann, immigrated to Brazil. In Brazil, he became a teacher at the Padre Antonio Vieira School in Salvador in the state of Bahia, where he taught a myriad of disciplines. In addition to his teaching and religious activities, along with his fellow priests, Zimmermann continued to edit Brotéria. By the end of his career in Portugal, Zimmermann had described a total of 69 new but not all valid diatom names. In 1913, Zimmermann began a series of articles entitled ‘Contribuição para o estudo das diatomaceas dos Estados Unidos do Brazil’ (Contribution to the study of diatoms of the United States of Brazil), in which he described two new genera and 49 new species from rivers, lakes, wetlands, reservoirs and beaches in the states of Bahia, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul. In addition to his taxonomic descriptions, Zimmermann who was an accomplished naturalist, also wrote about diatom movements and evolution. His diatom studies were compiled in a book entitled Diatomées, which has never been published. Father Zimmermann’s contribution to the study of diatoms deserves proper recognition. This paper aims to serve such purpose. Farther Zimmermann died in Salvador in 1950

Topics: Father Zimmermann, Diatomist, marine and freshwater waters, Brazil
Year: 2013
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