Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 41, Issue 1–4, pp 89–114 | Cite as

The life and work of Eugenie Clark: devoted to diving and science

  • Eugene K. Balon


Eugenie Clark is an ichthyologist with a talent for communicating about marine life. Her life had three principal periods, (1) studies under Charles Breder, Carl Hubbs, Lester Aronson and Myron Gordon, (2) directorship of the Cape Haze Marine Laboratory sponsored by the Vanderbilts, and (3) professorship and inspired teaching at the University of Maryland. Genie proved that sharks have surprising learning abilities and that, contrary to popular opinion, none are vicious killers. During her studies on reproductive behavior, territoriality, and ecology of tropical marine sand-dwelling fishes of the Caribbean and Red seas, among many other phenomena, she discovered the cross-fertilizing hermaphroditeSerranus subligarius, the Moses and peacock soles producing toxins that repel sharks and other predators, and sharks ‘sleeping’ in underwater caves in Mexico and Japan. She combined a love for swimming and diving with the study of marine fishes - from hard-hat diving and snorkeling to using SCUBA and submersibles. Professor emerita since 1992, she has ridden whale sharks and participated in dives using submersibles to 3 600 m depths. She is a recipient of over 25 honors and awards, participated in 24 television specials, and the current IMAX film on sharks. She is the author of theLady with a Spear andThe Lady and the Sharks which are of considerable popular fame.

Key words

Biography Marine biology Ichthyology Diving Coral reefs Cape Haze Marine Laboratory Mote Marine Laboratory Florida Poeciliids Plectognaths Red Sea University of Maryland Shark repellent Sleeping sharks Submersible dives 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References cited

  1. Balon, E.K. & C. Flegler-Balon. 1985. Microscopic techniques for studies of early ontogeny in fishes: problems and methods of composite descriptions. pp. 33–56.In: E.K. Balon (ed.) Early Life Histories of Fishes, Developments in Environmental Biology of Fishes, Dr W. Junk Publishers, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  2. Beebe, W. 1934. A half mile down. National Geographic 66 (6): 661–704.Google Scholar
  3. Berra, T.M. 1977. William Beebe. An annotated bibliography. Archon Books, Hamden. 157 pp.Google Scholar
  4. Burgess, G.H. 1991. Life history notes on Stewart Springer. pp. 4–6.In.: S.H. Gruber (ed.) Discovering Sharks, American Littoral Society, Highlands.Google Scholar
  5. Burns, R.F. 1992. Dr. Eugenie Clark — the ‘Shark Lady’. Sea Technology February 1992: 72.Google Scholar
  6. Doubilet, D. 1990. Suruga Bay. In the shadow of Mount Fuji. National Geographic 178 (4): 2–11.Google Scholar
  7. Ellis, R. 1975. The book of sharks. Grosset & Dunlap Publishers, New York. 320 pp.Google Scholar
  8. Emberlin, D. 1977. Contribution of women: science. Dillon Press, Minneapolis. 160 pp.Google Scholar
  9. Fishelson, L. 1993. Israeli ichthyology in the Red Sea (1951–1992) — a personal perspective. Israel J. Zool. 39: 287–291.Google Scholar
  10. McGovern, A. 1978. Shark lady. The adventures of Eugenie Clark. Four Winds Press, New York. 83 pp.Google Scholar
  11. McAllister, D.E. 1988. Vadim Dimitrievitch Vladykov: life of an ichthyologist. Env. Biol. Fish. 23: 9–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Samarrai, F. 1992. A life beneath the sea. College Park (Univ. Maryland Alumni Magazine) 3 (2): 14–18.Google Scholar
  13. Stacey, P. 1990. Eugenie Clark: without a spear. Calypso Log June 1990: 8–10.Google Scholar
  14. Stein, J. 1982. Eugenie Clark: sweet sharks. Omni 4 (9): 94–98, 115–117.Google Scholar
  15. Steinbeck, J. 1960. The log from the Sea of Cortez. Pan Books, London. 320 pp.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eugene K. Balon
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Ichthyology and Department of ZoologyUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

Personalised recommendations