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George MacGinitie

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George MacGinitie

Area: zoology


In 1926, as a graduate student at Stanford University, George E. MacGinitie began his intensive study the community ecology of a mud flat estuary, centered along the shores of Monterey Bay. This study became the focus of MacGinitie's Master's thesis, Ecological Aspects of Elkhorn Slough, which he completed in 1927. In 1929, George MacGinitie, having recently completed his Master's degree at Stanford University, was appointed to the position of Instructor at Hopkins Marine Station.

MacGinitie was a perfect fit for the instruction of field ecology as the research associated with his Master's thesis had focused on ecological aspects of Monterey Bay’s large marine estuary, the Elkhorn Slough. In the spring quarter of 1930, George MacGinitie offered a course titled Shore Ecology (545) for elementary students, repeating the course for advanced students during the summer quarter.

The course description for MacGinitie’s Shore Ecology (545) read: “A course primarily for biology majors designed to give an understanding of animal communities and the life activities of individual members of these communities in response to certain environmental factors. Prerequisite: a course in general zoology. Limited to eight students.” MacGinitie again offered this course, Shore Ecology (545), in the spring of 1931 for elementary students, repeating the course during the summer for advanced students.

In the spring quarter of 1932, a class titled Marine Zoology (510), co-instructed by MacGinitie and Fisher, was described as an introduction to the general zoology and ecology as illustrated by animals of the Monterey Bay. During the summer quarter of 1932, a class titled Marine Ecology was offered by George MacGinitie with a course description that read: Animal associations with particular attention to the physical and chemical environment; ecological interrelationship of species; life histories, especially in relation to the environment. During this period MacGinitie, serving as the assistant to the director of Hopkins Marine Station, worked with the community of establish the Pacific Grove Marine Gardens.  The following summer, with George MacGinitie having accepted the position as Director of the Kerckhoff Marine Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology, an effort was directed toward preparing Rolf Bolin to be the instructor of Hopkins Marine Station’s marine ecology course.

In addition to maintaining his Director position at the Kerckhoff Marine Laboratory, MacGinitie published extensively on marine life up and down the Pacific shoreline, with ten of his scientific publications referenced in the appendix of Between Pacific Tides. After retiring at Kerckhoff in 1957 (Nettie assumed his administrative duties for two years after his retirement), he remained an active scientist, with Nettie organizing a marine biology program for the Navy at Point Mugu. The MacGinitie’s  efforts  with this program were quite  influential in preserving Mugu Lagoon as a natural area for education and research.  Today Mugu Lagoon is a precious marine sanctuary along the California coast that is dedicated to the work of George and Nettie MacGinitie. Positioned on a small overlook platform for viewing Mugu lagoon stands a display of six panels depicting the plant life, shellfish,  fish and birds of the lagoon, dedicated to George E. MacGinitie and his wife for their interest in preserving the biological riches of California coastal wetlands.


MacGinitie, G.E. 1955 Distribution and ecology of the marine invertebrates of Pt. Barrow, Alaska. Smithsonian Msc.Col. v.128 #9:201

MacGinitie, G.E. 1949 Feeding of Ophiurans. J.Entomo.&Zool. v.41 #1:pp 4

MacGinitie, G.E. 1948 Dredges for use at marine laboratories. Turtox News, v.26 #12

MacGinitie, G.E. 1948 Choice, operation, and care of boats in marine laboratories. Turtox News, v.26 #5

MacGinitie, G.E. 1947 Notes on the devilfish, Mobula lucasana, and its parasites. Copeia #4

MacGinitie, G.E. 1945 Size of mesh openings in the mucous feding nets of marine animals. Bio.Bull., 88: 107-111

MacGinitie, G.E. 1940 Life in a marine mud flat. Turtox News, v.18 no.1

MacGinitie, G.E. 1939 Some effects of fresh water on the fauna of a marine harbor. The American Midland Naturalist, 21, 681-686

MacGinitie, G.E. 1939 Natural history of the blind goby, Typhlogobius californiensis Steindachner. Amer.Midl.Nat. 21:489-505

MacGinitie, G.E. 1939 The method of feeding of tunicates. Bio.Bull. 77, 443-47

MacGinitie, G.E. 1939 The method of feeding of Chaetopterus. Bio.Bull. 77, 115-18

MacGinitie, G.E. 1939 Littoral marine communities. American Midland Naturalist, 21: 28-55

MacGinitie, G.E. 1938 Notes on the natural history of some marine animals. Amer.Midl.Nat. 19, 207-19

MacGinitie, G.E. 1938 Movements and matine habits of the sand crab, Emerita analoga. Amer.Midl.Nat. 19, 471-81

MacGinitie, G.E. 1938 Experiments which cause inhibition of fuction, but not the activity, of sperms of Urechis caupo. J.Exp.Zool., 79:237-242

MacGinitie, G.E. 1937 The use of mucus by marine plankton feeders. Science 86, 398-399

MacGinitie, G.E. 1937 Notes on the natural history of several marine crustacea. Amer.Midl.Nat. 18, 1031-37

The fertilization of eggs and the rearing of the larvae of Urechis caupo within the blood cavity of the adult animal, MacGinitie, GE. JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL ZOOLOGY Volume: 71 Issue: 3 Pages: 483-487 Published: OCT 1935

Normal functioning and experimental behavior of the egg and sperm collectors of the echiuroid, Urechis caupo, MacGinitie, GE. JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL ZOOLOGY Volume: 70 Issue: 3 Pages: 341-355 Published: MAY 1935

The egg-laying activities of the sea hare, Tethys californicus (Cooper), Macginitie, GE. BIOLOGICAL BULLETIN Volume: 67 Issue: 2 Pages: 300-303 Published: OCT 1934

MacGinitie, G.E. 1934 The natural history of Calianassa californiensis Dana. Amer.Midland Nat. v.15:2 pp.166-174

MacGinitie, G.E. 1932 Animal ecology defined? Ecology v.13, no.2 pp.212-213

Basking sharks on the pacific coast, MacGinitie, G. E. SCIENCE Volume: 73 Issue: 1897 Pages: 496-496 Published: MAY 8 1931

MacGinitie, G.E. 1931. The Egg-laying Process of the Gastropod Alectrion fossatus, Gould. Annals and Magazine of Natural History. 8(10):258-261.

MacGinitie, G.E. 1930. Notice of Extension of Range and of new Species of various Invertebrates. Annals and Magazine of Natural History. 6(10).

MacGinitie, G.E. 1930 The natural history of the mud shrimp Upodebia pugettensis (Dana). Ann.Mag.Nat.Hist. ser.10 v.6 pp.36-44