[MARMAM] Malcolm Clarke 1930-2013
rui at portulano.org
Wed May 15 09:37:07 PDT 2013
It is with great sorrow that I have to inform you that Malcolm Clarke passed
away last Friday due to heart failure. He rests in Pico Island (Azores,
Portugal), where he and his wife Dot made residence many years ago.
Most of us understand the great loss for science that Malcolm's passing
represents. It is difficult for a marine mammalogist not to have come across
his work from time to time. But Malcolm was not only an accomplished marine
mammalogist but also a prolific researcher and well known in the fields of
teuthology and parasitology. But perhaps only the lucky ones who had the
opportunity to spend some time with him will fathom the great loss of a
human being this also represents.
Malcolm was an achiever. He never stopped working and having new ideas. He
was passionate about his work and about life.
He was a great teacher; his workshops on cephalopod beak identification are
a testimony to that, but his teaching dimension went far above that. I
learned much about how to think and act in science just by conversing with
Malcolm and listening to his stories.
Malcolm was also a hands-on scientist. He spent a good deal of time in
Antarctica as a whaling inspector, dissected countless animals, invented new
ways to probe deep in the specimens and take the most of them. He worked all
over the World, carrying out research in South Africa (Cape Town, Durban &
Port Elizabeth), Indonesia, Australia (Perth & Melbourne), New Zealand, USA
(Florida & Hawaii), France, Portugal (Madeira & Azores), Spain (Canary
Islands), Denmark, Faroe Islands and Norway. Even when his age and post
meant he could just tell other people what to do; he didn't shy of diving in
a full whale dissection or to go out to the sea in a small skiff. He was
happy as a child when handling a gooey Haliphron atlanticus, as I've seen
him doing at sea because he was unable to wait until we were back on land.
The stories are endless; one that comes to mind right now took place in
1998, when Malcolm was 68 years old. We were out at sea trying to put
satellite tags on sperm whales. Malcolm was present as a consultant but he
didn't rest until he jumped in the small inflatable kayak and rowed towards
the whales with two other colleagues. Back in the boat I didn't rest until
they came back and Malcolm was safe and sound. But the grin on his face was
worth every second of my despair. It wasn't his nature to just be there
watching everything from the boat; he had to be part of it. even with a
His hands-on approach meant that he had a deep knowledge of the anatomy,
physiology and biology of his study subjects. That and his brilliant and
ever inquisitive mind made him a great theorist. Malcolm became one of those
rare biologists who creates new theories and lines of thought.
Malcolm and Dot Married in 1958 and had four children. His work brought
Malcolm and Dot to the Azores and I believe the land and people made them
stay. They made home in Pico Island and instead of laying back and resting,
sipping tea on a stretcher and watching whales from the comfort of his
backyard (which has the most amazing view over a stretch of ocean where
sperm whales often come close to land), Malcolm embarked in one of his
greatest challenges. In his own words, he "planned, designed and constructed
all the exhibits for my own museum on the biology of spermaceti whales and
their cephalopod food. This museum has been open since 2003".
That was done against all odds. Politicians offered their support, the merit
of the idea was recognized and even the place was announced publicly: an old
whaling factory in Pico. But these were pie-crust promises and soon were
broken. Malcolm had a type of stubbornness that is called perseverance.
Instead of giving up, Malcolm and Dot built a museum with their own hands,
from the foundation to the ceiling, laying bricks at the same time they
planned and developed the exhibit; literally all the exhibit contents were
created by them, from the small pump-activated contraption from which you
can feel the smell of ambergris, to the life-sized depiction of a pregnant
sperm whale, not forgetting the anatomically correct, life-sized stuffed
cephalopods cut and sewn by Dot.
All along, Malcolm kept publishing. He left over 150 research contributions
plus being editor of several books. He worked to the last day of his life.
My apologies, but I have to stop here; Oh Malcolm, we will miss you.
Born 1930 in UK. Married 1958 4 children.
1979. D.Sc. Marine Zoology. Hull University, UK.
1959. Ph.D. Parasites of Marine Mammals. Hull
1955. B.Sc. Special. 2 i Zoology. Hull University.
1987-2013 Independent research (unpaid).
1972-1987. Marine Biological Association of the UK,
Plymouth, UK Principal Scientific Officer
and later Senior Principal Scientific
1958-1972. National Institute of Oceanography,
Wormley, Surrey. Scientific officer and later Principal
1954-1955 Government Whaling Inspector in Antarctic.
1950-1951 Teacher in a Secondary Modern School in Scunthorpe
1948-1950 National Service in the Royal Army Medical Corps.
1981. Elected to Fellowship of The Royal Society, UK.
1989-2005. Visiting Professor. Liverpool
1990-2011. Visiting scholar. University of
the Azores, Portugal.
1993-1997 Leverhulme Research Fellow. Research on cetacean
physiology and anatomy.
2001-2003 Visiting Professor. National Institute of
Atmospheric and Water Research, New
2003 Visiting Professor, Kaichung University, Taiwan.
Research has included
1. many aspects of the biology of cephalopods including their taxonomy,
vertical and horizontal distribution, swimming, buoyancy, growth,
2. evolution and palaeontology of cephalopods.
3. study of the buoyancy control and the sound production, conduction and
control in spermaceti whales.
4. dietary studies of many species of fish, birds, seals and cetaceans
5. calculations of biomass of cephalopods
6. development of new sampling gear and methods for
catching and studying cephalopods including new trawls and
the use of lights on trawls.
Over 150 research contributions (mostly papers in international, refereed
journals) and contributions to books. List attached.
Editor or joint editor of 6 books including
1.'The identification of cephalopod beaks.'
2.'Cephalopod Paleontology and Neontology.'
eds. Clarke & Truman. Vol 12, The Mollusca. Ed. Wilbur,
3.'Physiology ' eds. Truman & Clarke. Vol 9 The Mollusca. Ed. Wilbur,
4. 'Cephalopod Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolution.' eds. Roeleveld,
Lipinski &Clarke. South African Journal of Fisheries. Special vol.
5.'Identification of Cephalopod paralarva'
Smithsonian special Vol.,
eds Herring & Clarke. Wiedenfeld &
8 months served on a Whaling Factory Ship as a British Govt. whaling
inspector and biologist and a total of over 6 years on various research
ships including over 30 cruises as chief Scientist.
Committees served on.
Royal Society, National and International Committees concerned with deep sea
research, global fisheries and research vessel design.
Secretary for 6 years and President for 3 years and life member of the
Cephalopod International Advisory Council.
Advice and service in the field has been provided on cetaceans and
cephalopods for video productions by
The National Geographic Society, USA.
The BBC, UK.
Discovery Channel. USA
The Open University, UK.
Pitcairn Productions, USA
Windfall Films Ltd. London
Public talks are occasionally given. Most recent were on 'Giant squids'
'In search of oceanic squids.' 'The importance of statoliths in the
interpretation of coleoid evolution.' 'Sperm whale buoyancy'and 'Sound
production and control in pigmy sperm whales.'. They were given in London,
Berlin, Taiwan and Thailand
Workshops and training courses.
Three workshops have been organised on '"Identification of cephalopod
beaks". Many post docs have been trained individually or in classes on the
A number of Ph.D. students at Liverpool, Bangor, Aberdeen, Cambridge,
French, Spanish, Portuguese and Canadian Universities as well as one D.Sc
candidate have been supervised or examined.
Research has been carried out in South Africa (Cape Town, Durban & Port
Elizabeth), Indonesia, Australia (Perth & Melbourne), New Zealand, USA
(Florida & Hawaii), France, Portugal (Madeira & Azores), Spain (Canary
Islands), Denmark, Faroe Islands, Norway
Post doctoral students and some doctoral students of Universities of
England, Scotland, France, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Australia and the USA
have been personally trained in cephalopod and cephalopod beak
I have served on the editorial board of 'Arquipelago' and referee several
papers each year for other international journals.
I have worked in the London,, Washington (Smithsonian), Los Angeles,
Melbourne (Australia), Wellington (N.Z.), Taipei (Taiwan), Tokyo, Cape Town
and Port Elizabeth (South Africa) Museums and have examined the methods of
exhibition in those as well as in Berlin, Paris and Santa Barbara Museums.
>From that experience I planned, designed and constructed all the exhibits
for my own museum on the biology of spermaceti whales and their cephalopod
food. This museum has been open since 2003.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the MARMAM