Martin Anton Rolandsson

(08.08.1729 - 30.01.1785)


Finnish (Swedish) ornithologist, doctor and botanist. Martin became the first Scandinavian scientist to research the nature of the Arctic. He was one of the “apostles of Linnaeus” - the students of the great Swedish naturalist Karl Linnaeus, who participated in expeditions to various parts of the world, collected, and then brought or sent to Linnaea plant seeds, herbarium and zoological samples.

Because of his poor health, Martin never occupied academic positions, and conducted his research for one-time research aids.

Born in a town near Tallinn during his parents' trip to Estonia. His father, Roland Martin, served as adviser to the court of the Turku court.

In 1743  Martin began his studies at the Royal Abo Academy (now Turku, Finland). In 1756  he came to Uppsala University, in which one of his teachers was the great Swedish naturalist Karl Linna. In 1757  Martin defended his dissertation on mosses from the Buxbaumia family. On June 22 of the same year, he received a Ph.D. In 1761  he graduated from university with a degree in medicine.

In 1758 Martin was enrolled as a Goteborg merchant Peter S. Bagge (Peter S. Bagge) as a physician and naturalist in the crew of the whaling ship of the Greenland Company, sent to Spitsbergen. Among other things, Martin during the voyage was studying the issue of herring migration. It is known that due to weather conditions the ship was able to stay in Svalbard for only three days. Martin was the first to describe the fool bird, but he did not give a name to the new species. Karl Linney used this description in 1761 in the book Fauna svecica. Martin's diaries, which he led while traveling to Svalbard, were first published in 1881 in a journal. In his diaries, Martin described in detail the weather, the ship’s life, as well as the marine flora and fauna.

In 1759 - 1760  Martin conducted economic research in Norway related to agriculture and fisheries; near the city of Bergen, he collected ornithological and botanical collections. In 1761, Martin presented a report on his trip to Norway at Uppsala University. The report contained information about the inhabitants of the country, as well as a detailed description of the climate, soils, plants and vegetation of Norway, the irrigation systems used, and the salt plants.

During the expeditions  Martin froze his feet. In 1761  due to the onset of necrosis, one of the legs had to be amputated. After that, Martin returned to his native city of Turku and began to practice medicine, living on a very modest pension, which was assigned to him by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Martin was not married, he had no children.

Information from some sources that he died in 1786 is unreliable. He died in Turku on January 30, 1785 and was buried a few days later, on February 4.

Cape in Bellsund Bay in the south-west of Nordenskiöld Land, Spitsbergen. The coordinates are 77° 43.7'N   13° 56.5'E.


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