Newly Discovered Shark Named for UMD Biologist
A newly identified species of deep-sea shark was named for a pioneering marine biologist and late UMD professor emerita of biology.
Squalus clarkae, also known as Genie’s dogfish, honors Eugenie Clark, aka “the shark lady,” who died in 2015 at age 92.
The shark, indigenous in the Gulf of Mexico and western Atlantic Ocean, has unusually big eyes and a short stature, typically measuring 20 to 28 inches in length. Its existence was confirmed by a team of researchers and published in July in Zootaxa.
“She is the mother of us all,” Florida Institute of Technology assistant professor and shark biologist Toby Daly-Engel, a co-author of the paper, told the university’s news site. “She was not just the first female shark biologist, she was one of the first people to study sharks.”
Clark’s career spanned 60 years; beyond her fundamental contributions to understanding of shark and fish behavior, she was a groundbreaking science communicator as well. She rose to public prominence with her bestselling autobiography “Lady With a Spear,” followed by articles in National Geographic and TV appearances. Clark was also, according to a tribute from her former student and later department chair Arthur Popper, professor emeritus of biology, likely the only female scientist to ever study aboard Jacques Cousteau’s Calypso.
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