William Orville Ayres Photo

William Orville Ayres

Born: Sep 11, 1817

Death: Apr 30, 1887

Nationality: United States

William Orville Ayres

Date of Birth : Sep 11, 1817
Date of Death : Apr 30, 1887

William Orville Ayres was an American physician and ichthyologist. Born in Connecticut, he studied to become a doctor at Yale University School of Medicine. Ayres was also interested in natural science, however, particularly in ornithology. He became friends with famed ornithologist and painter John James Audubon, who named a woodpecker after him, mentioning him by name in his Birds of America: I have named this handsome bird after my young and learned friend W. O. AYRES, Esq., who is well known to science as an excellent ichthyologist; and who also is well conversant with the birds of our country. As the first Curator of Ichthyology of the California Academy of Sciences, Ayres wrote several many papers on the fish of California, despite poor facilities. In a letter to a colleague at the Smithsonian Institution Ayers pled for support for the fledgling academy: I am working along here in the dark as well as I can, with almost nothing in the way of books or means of reference, and what mistakes I make, some of you more advantageously situated must correct. Since there were no established scientific journals available, he turned to local newspapers to publish his descriptions of fish.

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