[MARMAM] Remembering Bill Perrin

Eric Archer - NOAA Federal eric.archer at noaa.gov
Tue Jul 12 16:00:14 PDT 2022

It is with deep sadness that we report the passing of Dr. William F. Perrin
on July 11, 2022 at the age of 83.

Starting in the late 1960’s, as a student of Ken Norris and Carl Hubbs,
Bill began conducting what would become critical early research on dolphins
killed in the eastern Tropical Pacific tuna purse-seine fishery. His work
highlighted the growing problems in this fishery, which in turn was
influential issues leading to the enactment of the US Marine Mammal
Protection Act of 1972. Additionally, the rigor and scope of his pioneering
work on the taxonomy, life history, population ecology, and behavior of
these species has raised the bar for all future studies. Bill can truly be
considered the father of modern marine mammal taxonomy.

It is impossible to accurately convey the ways Bill has instrumentally
changed and guided the field of marine mammal science. He has served as a
president of the Society for Marine Mammalogy, chair of the SMM
International Relations Committee, and founder of the SMM Taxonomy
Committee. He has been an editor of Marine Mammal Science, associate editor
of the Journal Mammalogy, editor of the Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals
along with Bernd Würsig and Hans Thewissen, and editor of the World
Cetacean Database. Over several decades, he has been a leader of critical
cetacean conservation work done with many national committees like of
Committee of Scientific Advisors, Marine Mammal Commission and
international organizations such as the IUCN Cetacean Specialist Group and
their Red List and the Scientific Committee of the IWC and the Scientific
Committee of the CMS. He is also known for his work with numerous regional
organizations, particularly his studies and capacity building in southeast
Asia and western Africa. He and his wife, Dr. Louella Dolar, extensively
studied cetaceans around the Philippines, and lobbied for their continued

For almost 50 years, Bill had a celebrated career at the NOAA Southwest
Fisheries Science Center, where he served as a Senior Scientist for much of
that time. He was also an adjunct Professor at Scripps Institution of
Oceanography, UCSD and the University of Washington. Bill’s publication
record is awe-inspiring. He not only wrote and co-authored hundreds of
papers, but also edited many important books and special journal issues.

The students, coworkers, and colleagues around the world who have had the
pleasure to be mentored by and work closely with Bill have all enjoyed not
only his remarkable and organized mind, but also his passion for the work
and unique sense of humor. Those who knew him well understood that his
gruff exterior was only a thin cover for a man who was overly generous with
his time and resources. He would regularly go out of his way to provide
help to aspiring biologists, many of whom would later become friends.  The
field of marine mammalogy has lost one of its most influential and
important scientists and leaders.

We offer our love and support to his family in these difficult times. We
take some comfort in the knowledge that his legacy will live on in all of
us whose lives he has touched. We will miss him terribly.

Eric Archer, Lisa Ballance, Bob Brownell, Jr., Tom Jefferson, Sarah Mesnick


*Eric Archer, Ph.D. *(he/him/his
Leader, Marine Mammal Genetics Program
Southwest Fisheries Science Center (NMFS/NOAA)
8901 La Jolla Shores Drive
La Jolla, CA 92037 USA

Adjunct Professor, Marine Biology
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
University of California, San Diego

GitHub: github.com/ericarcher
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3179-4769



*The universe doesn't care what you believe.                  The wonderful
thing about science is that it   doesn't ask for your faith, it just asks
 for your eyes.*"  - Randall Munroe

"*Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.*"
   - Benjamin Franklin

   "*...but I'll take a GPS over either one.*"
       - John C. "Craig" George
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