The ocean lost an amazing ally this week. Dr. Eugenie Clark passed away at the age of 92 in Sarasota, Florida. She received her Ph.D. from New York University and embarked on a 50+ year career in the name of the ocean. She worked in a variety of prestigious research institutions, including the American Museum of Natural History and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She founded the Cape Haze Marine Laboratory (now the Mote Marine Laboratory) in Sarasota, which conducts research on sharks and a number of other marine species and issues.
It’s difficult for me to properly express how much Dr. Eugenie Clark meant to me. Since I was two or three, I knew I wanted to work for the oceans. My family was incredibly supportive, taking me to numerous aquariums and trips to the beach, letting me decorate my room with shark posters, jaws, and sharks in jars, humoring me when I asked for a membership to the Center for Marine Conservation (now Ocean Conservancy) as a birthday present, and leading me towards scientists and pioneers in the field as my role models. Of those great science and political icons that I latched onto, Dr. Eugenie Clark was at the top of my list.
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Bob Marley and Gnathia marleyi, the blood-sucking parasite named after him. Credit: Ueli Frey and John Artim, Department of Biology, Arkansas State University
Really? Yes, really.
A newly discovered crustacean parasite found in Caribbean waters has been named after Bob Marley, the iconic, rebellious and soccer-loving (among other things) Reggae singer and guitarist. The species, known as Gnathia marleyi, was named after Marley “because of my respect and admiration for Marley’s music. Plus, this species is uniquely Caribbean as was Marley,” according to Paul Sikkel, an assistant professor of marine ecology and a field marine biologist at Arkansas State University, who discovered the species.
So, just how similar to Marley is this tiny parasite? Let’s consider its eating habits:
“By concealing themselves within coral rubble, sea sponge or algae, juvenile Gnathia marleyi are able to launch surprise attacks on fish and then infest them.”
Yowsers! As a blogger and Bob Marley box set owner (and former Bob Marley black light poster owner) I am going to say, with some authority, that this crustacean is nothing like Bob Marley. But it’s still a pretty cool story.
Found on BoingBoing, Reuters and yes, National Science Foundation.
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