CARL R. EKLUND
Photo of Carl Eklund

Carl was born on January 27, 1909, and was a native of Tomahawk, Wisconsin. He graduated from Carleton College in Minnesota in 1932. Four years later he received a master’s degree from Oregon State College, and in 1959, after 11 years of night school study, the University of Maryland awarded him a doctorate.

Joining the National Park Service as conservationist in 1933, Carl remained there for three years, and then transferred to the Fish and Wildlife Service as a research biologist. He remained in that agency until 1957. His last post with the agency was assistant regional director in Atlanta, Georgia.

Carl became chief of the Polar Research Division of the Army Research Office in 1958, on his return from the Antarctic.

Carl was chief of polar and arctic research for the Army. He lived in Bethesda, Maryland, and made several trips to polar regions. He accompanied the Byrd expedition to Antarctica in 1939 as an ornithologist. During World War II he served with the Arctic-Desert-Tropic branch of the Air Force, with tours of duty in Greenland and Labrador.
In the International Geo-physical Year, 1957-58, Carl served for 18 months in Antarctica at the Wilkes Station.

On the last trip he solved the riddle of how the emperor penguin incubates its eggs in temperatures of 79 degrees below zero. Results showed that the egg remained, on the average, only about ten degrees lower in temperature than body temperature, despite the intense cold.

While on the Byrd expedition, Carl made one of history’s major Antarctic dog-sled treks, traveling 1284 miles in 84 days, charting 350 miles of coastline. Islands in the King George VI sound were named the Eklund Islands in his honor.

Carl died on November 3, 1962, in Philadelphia after suffering a heart attack only days after lecturing at the Museum of Natural Sciences. Carl was married to Harriet and had two daughters, Linda, and Signe.

He was elected to membership in the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 1956.