The Prince and the oceanography

The second Princess-Alice

Until World War I, the Prince's oceanographic works never ceased to grow. He had a yacht built specially for his researches, the Princesse-Alice, used between 1891 and 1897 in the Western Mediterranean and in the Azores region. A bigger and more powerful ship became essential for an ever more important program: the second Princesse-Alice explored from 1898 to 1910 the Tropical and Temperate Atlantic Ocean, the Sargasso Sea, and, on four occasions, the Spitsbergen.

The second Hirondelle was launched in 1911. In 1915, the Prince brought to an end his round of twenty-eight oceanographic campaigns on board of this ship.

Nearly 3,700 stations were created during these campaigns; depth and temperature measuring at standardized levels, water and sedimentary deposit sampling, animal collecting, from the surface down to six thousand meter deep. The outcomes of those operations were significant. Knowledge on the submarine relief was herewith supplemented. The geographic and bathymetric distribution of living organisms took shape; particularly the existence of a bathypelagic fauna in midway levels between the surface and sea bed was established.

The marine meteorology, with the use of kites and balloons, made headway. Research, started on board of the second Princesse-Alice by Charles Richet and Paul Portier, further to a topic suggestion from the Prince, led to the discovery of the anaphylaxis phenomenon, which was the starting point of works on allergies.

Oceanographic museum of Monaco
inaugurated in 1911

Prince Albert's contribution to the blossoming of oceanography was decisive in many areas: deep-sea exploration, invention and adjusting of many devices, and cartography, may it be of areas he explored, or of the whole submarine relief, with the General Bathymetric Chart of Oceans. Last but not least, a constant concern to pass on the objectives and learnings of oceanography to a public as large as possible.

With this intention he published numerous articles, gave conferences around Europe and in the United-States, and created the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco, which was then supplemented by the Oceanographic Institute in Paris.

Monaco Monday 14 April () - Copyright © 2008 Prince's Palace of Monaco -