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Eugenie Clark  

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Ichthyology  

NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
8 Mar 1999

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NPR/NGS
RADIO EXPEDITIONS
Show: National Geographic Radio Expeditions- Eugenie Clark
Log of DAT #: 1
Date:3/8/99

ng = not good
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vg = very good

EC
00:00:19¿lives under the ice

AC
00:00:21 And how big is it? 00:00:26

EC
00:00:27 Well, it gets up to 18 ft.- 20 ft. What¿s peculiar is that I¿ve read about this for years, I¿ve read that they have a parasite on each eye and so this parasite..

AC
00:00:50 Does this parasite infect any other creatures? 00:00:55

EC
00:00:56 Not that we know of¿ and another one of my students is the parasitologist working on it. The problem right now because they collected them and he¿s studying them and it¿s very recent work.

AC
00:01:10 Could you just sit back¿00:01:27 are you still at work making the observations about sharks, the Greenland shark? 00:01:39

EC
00:01:41 I didn¿t do the Greenland shark, my son did.

AC
00:01:44 No, but you said that you had gotten the first photographs. 00:01:47

EC
00:01:48 Oh, yes. that must have been around 8 yrs., 7 yrs. ago in Saruga (?) Bay when we went out there with National Geographic Television and we did a story on diving in submersibles to depths in Saruga Bay and there this big Greenland shark came along and really wowed the people and I thought first when I saw the film and studied the close-up of it that it was string or something , a scratch in the film but it was coming right out of the eye and there were two of them. And it was my daughter actually who looked at it and said ¿Mom isn¿t that that Copapod parasite that they talk about?¿ And it was.

AC
00:02:43 It seems to me it¿s amazing that two creatures could develop such a relationship. The parasites attack the eye of the shark¿00:03:01

EC
00:03:01 Something like that. That was in a recent just last year, that came out in National Geographic, beautiful (AC:How¿) pictures they got.

AC
00:03:13 How would that be beneficial to the shark? 00:03:26

EC
00:03:27 Well, if it lures other little fishes in to the face of the shark living under an ice pack where there are not too many things around in the darkness. If they see two glints, fish could be attracted to it like any kind of bioluminescence in the sea. They might go into investigate it and if the go into investigate it and if they go to look at the eye they are right in front of the sharks huge mouth.

AC
00:03:53 When you saw the shark you were in a submarine?00:03:57

EC
00:03:58 Yes, uh-huh, I¿ve seen it in a submersible. The best pictures were taken by Ralph White, a pilot of the submersible and he saw it a couple of thousand feet down.

AC
00:04:11 Really, 2,000 ft¿ 00:04:14

EC
00:04:15 Well, it was as big as the submersible so it kind of scared everybody inside but they got great video. We made 10 dives in Saruga Bay, the deepest bay in Japan, it gets down to over 7,000 feet. And we brought back some wonderful footage, and pictures, Emery Christoff was involved in that. I¿ve done a lot of work with Emery Christoff and David Doubilet those are the two Geographic photographers that I¿ve worked with all these years.

AC
00:04:49 Were you looking specifically for sharks? 00:04:58

EC
00:04:58 I suspected that there would be lots of sharks there.

AC
00:05:03 Were you expecting to find a Greenland shark? 00:05:05

EC
00:05:06 Yes, they are known to be in that range. It¿s a controversy whether the Greenland Shark and the Pacific Sleeper are the same species or not but they both have the parasites on the eyes and no other shark is known to do that. They have, they are listed as two different species but nobody can really tell what¿s the difference.

AC
00:05:29 Not even you? 00:05:31

EC
00:05:31 Well, I haven¿t studied them that much. You¿d really have to get the specimens in front of you and compare them, do a lot of studies but from the many photographs and a few specimens there doesn¿t seem to be any, there doesn¿t seem to be any difference between them.

AC
00:05:50 With a shark like that how many different species are there? 00:05:56

EC
00:05:56 There would be close to 300 species now. So when you say the shark it¿s almost meaningless, there¿s such a variety of sharks. I¿m describing one right now, a swell shark from Papua New Guinea that swells up. It¿s from also, deeper water, a thousand feet or so down. And we caught it in traps and pulled it up and I looked at it. Years ago I studied swell sharks, in fact, I was the first to describe the swelling mechanism of these sharks. They blow up like puffer fish do but not to the same extent.

AC
00:06:35 How much bigger do they make themselves? 00:06:40

EC
00:06:40 Well, they¿re a slim bodied shark ordinarily and then when they puff up it¿s like a balloon coming out of their stomach. The skin is loose so it can balloon out. But it¿s not like a puffer fish. Sharks have a long tail so a third of the body is on the end of this balloon where as a puffer fish blows up and it really look like a balloon because it¿s just a tiny little tail fin and other parts of it.

AC
00:07:10 Do you know why a swell shark swells up? 00:07:13

EC
00:07:15 No, not for sure. Maybe to wedge itself into caves. But I don¿t think that it has to frighten away predators because it doesn¿t have many predators and anything big enough to go after a swell shark wouldn¿t be turned off but a pregnant, a grossly pregnant looking swell shark. But puffer fishes increase their size so greatly and they become and the smooth ones especially become so slippery that it¿s harder for any predator to get them in their mouth.

AC
00:07:53 How long would a swell shark be? 00:07:57

EC
00:07:57 The one I¿m describing is a small species, not more than 3 ft. long.

AC
00:08:04
When you say you¿re describing this? It¿s previously undescribed?

EC
00:08:13
Yes, it¿s a new species. (AC: It¿s a new species?)That¿s why when you said ¿How many kinds of sharks are there?¿ I said nearly 300 because every year somebody is describing a new species. My daughter just described a new species last year. So there¿s probably going to be more than three hundred living species of sharks described before they get close to the total number living in the seas today because many more have lived in ancient seas and become extinct.

AC
00:08:50 Did you find this swell shark? 00:08:56

EC
00:08:57 Well, I was, we had chartered this boat and were working out there studying other kinds of fishes when Bob Halstead, the captain, pulled this trap up and the shark was in it. And I said ¿That looks different¿ and I made a lot of notes on it and preserved the specimen. And we got another one and I preserved the head of that and then we got a third specimen and then Jack Randall, the curator of fishes at the Bishop Museum he¿s now retired, like I am, supposedly, but still very active. And he picked up a specimen and sent it to me and he said ¿ Let¿s, ..it looks like a new species to me too and since you have three and I have one, take this one.¿ And we¿re describing it together actually but I¿m at present doing the work on it. I just had the artist do the final drawing which is unusual in that the belly of the shark is mottled, marbled and there¿s no other swell shark like that, there are quite a few swell sharks known.

AC
00:10:05 How long ago was this when you found it? 00:10:07
EC
00:10:07 Oh, about 3-4 years ago.

AC
00:10:13 What are you going to name the shark? 00:10:15

EC
00:10:16 We haven¿t decided yet. I wanted to talk that over with Jack. Sometimes we name it. I¿ve described fish, I named one after my son Nicky. Tricanotis Nickia (Sp?) a fish that I¿m still studying. Then when this fellow Bob Halstead who put this trap down, is a marvelous photographer and dive guide and he owns a boat in Papua New Guinea and he knows all the places there, was setting these traps, and he said ¿ You know occasionally we get this small shark inside the trap and so I was a , I guess we did about 4 or 5 years of study with him, a month or two each time and he said one of these days we¿ll pick up that shark and he made a real effort to do it and this beautiful specimen came up. It`s a small shark but it was a mature female so I knew that was the adult size and then we got a male who was also mature, smaller than the female, only about two feet long.

AC
00:11:27 What led you to study sharks? 00:11:30

EC
00:11:32 I¿ve been studying fishes since I was a kid. I just got intrigued with fishes in an aquarium, the old New York Aquarium in Battery Park , in New York when my mother used to take me every Saturday. And then I had an aquarium at home and then when I went to college, I majored in zoology and studied all kinds of fishes but while I was taking comparative anatomy, in college we had to dissect a shark as a typical fish which, of course, it isn¿t typical at all of the fish world and there were two pores on the underside of the shark and I asked the teacher what they were and she said ¿Well you better read up on it and find out.¿ Well, I tried and I couldn¿t find out anything. Well, she didn¿t know either and I thought to myself, well if I ever have a chance to study a live shark, I¿m going to plug those pores and find out what they¿re for. They¿re called abdominal pores. And so, in 1955 when I had a chance to open my own little marine laboratory, quite by accident, we found that we were catching lot so of sharks and I thought, ¿well I¿ll do an experiment on this. But this was in addition to all the other fish I was studied. I get associated with the name ¿Sharklady¿ and I suppose sharks are the most spectacular fishes that I have studied and certainly I have studied a lot about sharks how behave, how they react, how they learn, their memory. But I spend just as much time, if not more, on some other kinds of fishes, particularly sand fishes.

AC
00:13:22 What did those pores turn out to be? 00:13:24

EC
00:13:25 We don¿t know. After about 10 years, it led to all kinds of other discoveries about sharks but we still don¿t know the function of the abdominal pores for sure. We have some suspicions, but we started to call them the abominable pores because every experiment that we did on them something went strange and we couldn¿t explain them but they are really extraordinary pores and all sharks have them. If you turn a shark over on it¿s belly they are on either side of the cloaki (?) you call it. Where the anuses is, and if you dissect a shark there¿s a cavity around the heart called the Pericardial Cavity and if you inject a dye into the Pericardial Cavity it goes through an opening into the whole abdominal cavity and comes out these pores. So, we did find that when we kept, once a big Tiger Shark in captivity for quite a while that the pores closed. So I, from that, I thought that we had good evidence they had something to do with depth changes, but pressure changes are not that great, underwater. So we did a series of experiments in which we injected dyes into the sharks, florescent dye that we could track if it came out of the water. And then we dropped it into deep water but of course, we couldn¿t follow what was happening so then we got a pressure chamber and we put the sharks in there, and we got irregular results. Sometimes the dye came out and other times when we put them under terrific pressure it didn¿t come out and then I discovered that you really have to burp sharks before you do this kind of experiment because any gas trapped in the sharks stomach will throw the whole thing off, measuring¿ (AC: Burp a shark?) ..yeah, well get the gas out somehow, we push it out but sharks, ya know, they gobble down everything and as they do, some of the gases form from all the garbage that they¿ll sometimes eat.

AC
00:15:42 I hesitate to ask but how do you burp a shark? 00:15:45

EC
00:15:45 Not over your shoulder¿ (laughing etc..). You just sort of press down but then you can¿t be sure that you are going to get all the gas out. And just a little bubble of gas could throw our pressure experiments off because water is almost incompressible. The gas is, the first results we were getting, didn¿t make sense. But then we got off onto some other things when we started to learn that sharks have memory and they were capable of learning and you could teach them tricks and stuff and we went off on that and the Navy was quite interested and they supported some of our work and we were the first ones to show that sharks weren¿t dumb eating machines, that they could learn and be taught how to ring a bell when they wanted to eat and it was quite a fascinating two decades of studies on sharks. We kept them alive in our pens in Florida, first in Anglewood, Fl. Placeta, Fl. And then in Sarasota Fl. where I now live, and that little laboratory that I started as a one-room shack is now a gigantic multimillion dollar shark institute. It overwhelms me when I see it.

AC
00:17:13 Are you the director? 00:17:14

EC
00:17:15 No, not anymore. I was when it first opened.

AC
00:17:19 Do you still have an office there? 00:17:20

EC
00:17:21 No, I don¿t even ..they¿ve offered me an office but I¿m involved with the University of Maryland now. When I retire from there completely, I retired 7 years ago, you wouldn¿t know it from what I¿m doing but I want to really retire completely in the next few years.

AC
00:17:42 You just got back from Palau what were you doing there? 00:17:52

EC
00:17:53 Well, it was my forth trip to Palau and I was studying the sand fishes, one in particular which is so intriguing because we aren¿t sure what this fish is doing. Nobody has ever even heard of the family except specialists in the field. But it¿s a tiny fish that lives in the sand and the male fish has huge plumes on it¿s head and it displays and it mates with the females which incidentally turn into males, it¿s what they call a protoginushermaphadite (?) a fish that is both sexes in it¿s lifetime but first proto, it¿s first female and when it gets larger it turns into a male and develops this elaborate plumage and color and bands it¿s just fantastic and we¿ve been studying this fish off and on, for a couple decades and we¿re winding up our work there. But one of the mysteries there is.. Every morning they wake up and the males mate with their females, sometimes all five of them or sometimes only two or three if they are interrupted. We were following the male as he went around from male to male mating and then we started staying with the female and where they mated at the sand she starts to peck at the sand with her mouth and we didn¿t know what she was doing with these eggs, fertilized eggs that they lay in the sand and we are just now on the brink I think of figuring out what it might be. I¿m working with an embryologist in Canada Dr. Ballum at the University of Gwoth and Dr. Joe Nelson another Canadian icthyologist and we think that maybe the females are picking these eggs up and brooding them in their gill pouches and we¿ve looked at so many and we haven¿t found any eggs developing but we don¿t know what else they are doing but Joe Nelson has found two specimens with eggs in the gill pouches and we¿re just now, this afternoon I¿m going to mail some of those specimens up to Canada and they are going to carefully open up dozens if not over a hundred females to see if they can find the eggs developing. If they do it will be the first time any marine fish is known to have a not planktonic stage where the eggs develop inside the mouth of the mother, in the brancial chamber where the gills are. This would explain why this fish is found in enormous concentrations in one spot and then you can go all around Papua New Guinea and you won¿t find another place like this one spot and we found one spot like that in the Palau Islands, it¿s an interesting ecological, another puzzle in the many mysteries of the sea. As many of my..as my best friend always says to me ¿Yeah, but can you eat this fish?¿ No, you can¿t eat it but it¿s fascinating. It¿s life history is incredibly interesting. And the fish themselves are so fascinating and we are the first ones to have ever seen them mate. We first saw them in the Red Sea and we weren¿t even sure that that was mating and then we saw it again in Papua New Guinea where we¿ve made many trips to study them in this one place that we call Observation Point and I take teams of divers and they study these fish at various times of the day. Cousteau¿s grandson came out with us recently and he¿d never been in that part of the world and he¿d never made observations on fish before and I said to him, ¿If you go down to this spot you¿ll find this male that looks like this with the plumes on its head and at about ten after six in the morning he may start mating with his females so record each time he mates and I told him what it was like and the very first dive that he did he saw the whole thing and did a beautiful record of what they did, that¿s Phillipe Cousteau, the grandson of the old man who died recently and the son Phillipe that was killed in an accident when his mother was pregnant with the young Phillipe. He¿s a wonderful young man now, getting into this field.

AC
00:22:49 As an explorer and discoverer how do you asses your responsibilities and what you want to do? 00:23:06

EC
00:23:07 Well, I think that I find it more interesting to teach and I think students find it interesting when you are actively working in the field and you can come back and tell them the latest things that you are finding out about creatures in the sea and I take students with me a number of times and we go out, we usually have anywhere from 8-16 people we¿ve had as many as 16 and I have a very good team of workers now, not always the same ones but I have a pool of people that will come on my various expeditions and we¿ve been doing them every years now since the early 1970¿s and I used to go with just one or two students and now I have a team of people, doctors, lawyers, nurses other teachers, people from all phases in life. I have a wonderful meteorologist,-Don Pooley who does all our underwater mapping for us. And another cartographer, who¿s not a cartographer but she¿s great underwater, Beth Johnson from the Washington area. I assign them certain things to do and we teamwork and make these observations and we learn more than just a few people going down. Once you understand the situation you must get quantitative data to back up any theories or conclusions that you want to make about the behavior of these fish. And then sometimes it¿s very serendipitous. We went to Mexico, I went with Prof. Diane Nelson. And she came out, this is the plankton net story. We went out there and there were 7 whale sharks feeding on this rusty murky stuff in the plankton and you couldn¿t hardly see what it was and they were lifting their heads the water and swimming along the surface it was fantastic and I said we¿ve got to get some kind of a plankton net rigged because you don¿t know it all happened very sudden and then it was gone again. So, her husband got the hoop together and we designed the plankton net and we got it in the water in a couple of hours and it only lasted two days but these 7 young whale sharks, were, not only the whale sharks were feeding on this copapod plankton it turned out to be a copapod. But the sucker fish, some of theses big whale sharks will have like 20 sucker fish hanging on the body. Well, this we had a young photographer with us and he did nothing but photograph from the boat this behavior of the whale sharks, pictures of these whale sharks sticking their heads out of the water and he got pictures showing the sucker fish with their mouths open, you know they hang upside down on top of the shark, upside down with their mouths open and they were feeding on the copepods too and a couple of them were leaving the shark and actually scooping up this very dense bloom of copapod.

AC
00:26:27 And your colleague? 00:26:30

EC
00:26:30 Diane, yes, she¿s a wonderful marine biologist. She studies tardagrades (?), little animals that live among the sand grains and she , here she is studying 20 foot whale sharks with me. And we published a paper on it. 00:26:44

AC
00:26:45 But she rigged this plankton net out of what? 00:26:48

EC
00:26:49 Panty hose.

AC
00:26:54 Laughing¿

EC
00:26:55 When you work in the field you can¿t take everything out there that you might need and we didn¿t know that we were going to collect plankton. Luckily one of the women on our team had a pair of, a pair do you call them? A pair of panty hose in her luggage. Because when we go out in the field we don¿t carry things like that.

AC
00:27:19 How did you learn to lead expeditions? 00:27:32

EC
00:27:32 In 2 weeks we are going to the Solomon Islands and we are studying a very fascinating fish that lives under on the coral reef, under inside deep in the coral reefs, the adults, well I started by taking students with me. One or two and then it got up to five that I was taking to the Red Sea and then other people wanted to come along and one of the scientists from NIH, Maxine Singer said, ¿Can I help you too?¿ She and her husband came and they were helping me do studies on garden eels and helping me put molds into the sand to see what kind of a configuration their burrows made and then other people wanted to join them and we never advertised, just people came and it enabled me to charter a larger boat, like if everybody did a cost share of the boat and getting the expedition together. I was told about this a long time ago by a professor I was working with in Colorado that I met in the Red Sea and he had all these people working with him. I said ¿How can you afford to pay them to do all this work?¿ He said ¿I don¿t, they pay me. or a foundation.¿ So I conduct these expeditions through the University of Md. Foundation and people who want to go with me make a contribution to the Foundation and it¿s almost completely tax deductible and they come along and they pay their own airfare and they contribute to the charter of a boat and the equipment that we use to make our studies. And I only take people who are really seriously interested in helping in research. And I have developed a very interesting method , as one reporter said ¿She studies fish ten minutes at a time.¿ The so called 10 min observation and the divers, how I train them is that I tell them to go down and look a this particular fish for whatever I want to learn about it for exactly 10 minutes recording minute by minute what they do exactly. Because if you say a fish yawns a lot in the morning when it wakes up, that doesn¿t mean anything unless you can put the statistics on it. What we do when we are studying sand fish, every hour that these fish are out of the sand, it starts a little before 6 in the morning until 6 at night. I send down teams of workers to do 10 min observations. And that, how many times they feed, that¿s how we discovered when they mate, by recording every time of the day. Because the mating only takes place in about 10 mins so if you¿re not there in those 10 mins So I accumulate a lot of statistical information that is put into a computer by my very good teammate John Poley and he analyzes it and puts it into graphs to show at what time of the day these fish are mainly doing this in a quantitative fashion and you really understand a fish. And people say ¿How can you look that long ?¿ And everybody¿s down there staring at these little fish. ¿Isn¿t it boring, and sometimes we do it on video, and that¿s an even better and wonderful supplementary way for us to study these fish. They say don¿t you get bored just watching these fish but everybody is assigned a certain fish or harem for example, these (?) Sand fish live in harems and the male mates with each female in the morning and pretty soon the people get so attached to these fish that they just can¿t wait to go down the next morning or the next afternoon to see what they are doing at that time and they record exactly with an underwater pad, or with video, we have 5 good underwater videographers and usually we have 2 or 3 of them on each trip and they go down for 10 mins they photograph these fish and this is how we discovered the adults of these mysterious fish they we are studying in the Solomon Islands at the end of this month. It¿s scientific name is (?). Again a fish that hardly anyone knows about and it lives in swarms as tiny little individuals that look like poisonous catfish and then as it gets larger it starts to lose these horizontal stripes and then it breaks into spots and then as it gets bigger nobody knows what happens to the adults but by following those swarms all day long was saw that they had a pattern around the coral reefs and then at night the swarms all started to get together and would form a stream of babies that would go down deeper into the reef and go down into the most inconspicuous cryptic hole and that¿s where the adults are. We¿ve had video cameras on the opening of that hole running 36 hrs. at a time and we know that the adults don¿t come out, at least not every night, they stay in that hole and the adults are big, 2 ft. long they look like eels, very muscular, where are they getting their food. They don¿t come out to feed. They are so cryptic, We were the first ones to ever collect a specimen which is now one specimen which is in the Smithsonian and these things are burrowing under the coral reefs in deep holes, and living 2 and 3 within these elaborate burrows under the reefs, you never see them unless you watch that hole opening a lot because they have to clean the hole out, sand falls in. So they come and they spit out sand. And another time we could see sand being spit out of the hole and we couldn¿t tell anything but the head of this strange looking fish was coming out of the hole and we suspect now that they don¿t even have to come out and feed because every night these thousands of babies come back into there and they probably cull them off. (AC) Cannibals..eating their own babies. Those babies are going to be eaten anyhow by other fish before, I mean the babies are only, they start at less than an inch long and then when they get up to about 4 inches long nobody knew what happened to them. And here¿s this big muscular adult living hidden under the reefs eating these things.

AC
00:34:46 Do you think that these fish exist under reefs all over the world? 00:34:49

EC
00:34:51 NO, I don¿t know. I don¿t suspect, I don¿t think they do. We¿ve only found them in Papua New Guinea and in the Solomon Islands. They are definitely not in Palau. We¿ve looked all over Palau for them in recent trips but these fish have been collected, as babies by the aquarium trade because they are beautiful looking babies and they are mistaken as Platosis, the poisonous catfish, when they are young. And the aquarium collectors have collected them and brought them up and they thought that they raised them to the adult stage of nearly a foot long but the real adult size is twice that size.

AC
00:35:43 You lost none of your fascination for what you are doing.00:35:58

EC
00:35:59 Since I was a kid and first saw fishes in an aquarium, I became so fascinated with them. The joy of it all is that I remember when I was about 9 years old I went to the old NY Aquarium in Battery Park and they couldn¿t, didn¿t know how to keep the water too clean there so when you got up close to these big tanks like the ones that they kept the Sand Tiger Sharks if you put your nose almost on the glass tank and you felt like you were underwater and you didn¿t see the back of the tank because it was too dirty and you felt like you were down under the sea and I thought what I wouldn¿t give to be underwater and studying these things alive and later on, I took up, well, I always liked swimming and diving and I was on the swim team in college but when I got into snorkeling and then into scuba diving, which I¿ve been doing for 50 years, it just is such a fantastic world. And to go scuba diving like so many people do, that `s why so many people come and volunteer to help me, you can go around and see so many coral reefs and so many beautiful fish but if you don¿t know what they are doing and what¿s their place in this complex ecology of the coral reefs, it¿s been compared to the Amazon Forest, I mean there¿s so much going on there and then the sand environment which I¿m studying which has been so neglected but next to coral reefs are often great expanses of sand and in there are some of the most fantastic fish that people never see because people don¿t look at the sand. You go around the sand and they are so beautifully disguised. They are like Houdinis you get close to them and before you even know what you are looking at they¿re underneath the sand, they just disappear before your eyes. But there¿s a whole ecological situation involving so many fish and so many invertebrates that live in the sand and the average person swims over the sand and says ¿Well there¿s nothing here, I¿ll go to the next coral reef, look at a lot of pretty fishes, OK where¿s another coral reef and they don¿t really know what¿s going on.¿ Our teams go down there and they become so fascinated because these things are all there like puzzles, ya know find the face in the puzzle and you look and there are 6 faces there. You look down in the sand and you see like couple of hundred eyes looking up at you when you realize the difference between a sand grain and a fish eye. And there are all these things hiding and just, I hate to give it up, I don¿t think that even though I¿m retired officially, I¿m still teaching and I¿m still diving and I¿d like to continue diving because diving is the one sport, well it¿s not really a sport for me but it¿s the one thing that you can do until you¿re, I don¿t know just until you are as old as you can get around. Even when you can¿t walk you can still dive and somebody said that you must be the oldest woman diver going to the depth that you do. I go quite deep, this last study we did , we were studying fishes that live over 200 ft. underwater and then I ran into last year, Lenny Reifenstal do you know her? (AC: the German filmmaker) She¿s in, in her late years she decided to go diving and she became so intrigued with underwater world she¿s making a film now of the fishes over in Papua New Guinea and the Red Sea and she¿s 97 years old and she¿s filming underwater and diving to these depths and I¿ve met her from time to time in all strange parts of the world and I hugged her and she¿d so frail, she¿s 97 years old and yet she¿s diving because underwater you are weightless. If you¿ve got it balanced right and you are comfortable, I figure if I¿m in a wheelchair they can wheel me to the end of the boat and put a tank on my back and dump me over the side of the boat and I can go down to the bottom and I can study these fishes as long as I want!

AC
00:40:32 How deep do you dive down? 00:40:35

EC
00:40:36 Well, I dive a little deeper than I should because I don¿t use mixed gases and we go to over 250-270.

AC
00:40:46 With a scuba tank? 00:40:47

EC
00:40:48 Yeah, just plain air because the places that we are studying this wonderful fish I called Haplolatulus. It¿s a series of fishes that live, they¿re hardly ever found above 100 ft., most of them live deep and go into the deep sea. I wish I had the ability to go down to around 4-500 feet to study some of these deep.. They build houses underwater they build mounds, a fish a couple of inches long could build a mound as big as this table. Nine feet across. And when I first saw these mounds and two pieces of fish carrying this rubble from the sand and building up these big mounds, I thought it must take generations to do that but we took part of the mound apart and we counted the pieces in and then we counted how many times they can move pieces within each of these ten minute intervals and I figure they can build a mound like that in lass than a year. They work hard at it and we don¿t know why they build the mounds because closely related fish in another genus they live, they¿re quite successful too but they don¿t build mounds at all they just live in holes and under rocks and in the ground. But here¿s this huge structure and we¿ve just finally got a publication out on this and one of our aims, we¿ve been studying these fishes for over 50 years and one of the first questions I had was why do they make such big mounds? What are the purpose of these mounds? And we can propose all kinds of things but we really don¿t know why they make them that big. Well some people have said that maybe they just have this urge, they¿ve got to keep carrying things around but they construct the mounds, the openings that go into the mounds where they live. It¿s all done so neatly and is so effective, there must be more to it. So you can study these fish for so long and it just opens up more questions.

AC
00:43:16 So many people think that there¿s nothing left to be explored. 00:43:46

EC
00:43:47 I know, I meet people that say, are you still studying that same fish? Haven¿t you been studying for years now? But there¿s still so much to learn and every time you really get your teeth into a problem there are like 20 more problems opening up. We¿re never at a loss as to what to study. It¿s just a matter of how we can go about it, what instruments we need, like this (?) that lives burrowed under the reefs we¿re trying to find a kind of endoscope that will go down and see what those burrows look like under the reefs. There¿s no end to it there¿s no end. There¿s not enough lifetimes to study even the few little groups of fishes that I study.

AC
00:44:31 Do you think of yourself as a figure of inspiration? 00:44:42

EC
00:44:43 No, not really. I feel that sometimes others are inspirational to me. I mean students. It¿s the most wonderful thing to teach and I¿ve been teaching for 33 years at the University of Maryland. To look out and see their faces all lit up and ask questions and see if they can come on our expeditions that inspires me. I love talking with young people and children. In one course that I teach, I allow, for certain lectures I allow anyone to come and schools bring grade schools classes by bus and they sit in the audience, usually I have some audio visual things and these little kids will sit there and listen and sometimes come out with the most amazing questions that they ask me and it sort of refreshes me and inspires me to go on and find out. I was showing one picture of the egg case of a Horn Shark which has a spiral flange. It¿s a black egg case and this flange goes around it. And this student, she was 9 years old, the youngest student ever registered at the University of Md., she came, she wanted to take my class and her mother had to bring her from Baltimore and she came every week but she never said a word she sat in the front row and just listened and so once I said to her before class ¿ If you have a question to ask, don¿t be afraid, everybody else does.¿ There I guess more regular looking college students then this one little kid sitting in the front row. So I showed this picture of this remarkable egg case, of the Horned Shark and she raised her hand and said ¿Is that a double helix the spiral, the flange around it?¿ And I looked for the first time and saw that there¿s two horns and it¿s a double helix. Nobody ever thought of that before, nobody ever asked me that question. This child who went onto take other courses with me. It¿s just wonderful to teach young people and it¿s very refreshing sometimes to go out with some of these old timers that are a lot of people that I dive with are in their 50¿s 60¿s 70¿s like me and they come out and they are almost jaded, they¿ve been diving around the world but they want to learn a little bit more about the fish and they get as excited as the school kids when they come. It¿s just wonderful to see these old mature people saying, ¿I wish I hadn¿t gotten into my profession I wish I had gone into marine biology.

AC
00:47:43 Discovery sets off a glow in you.00:47:51

EC
00:47:52 Well, I think we¿ll always have so much to study. There¿s so much more to learn about animals in the sea, animals everywhere, plants and about the terrible changes that are going on now, coral bleaching and coral warming. I just read in the Washington Post the other day, last week that this coral bleaching has spread and they said that last year it had reached all these places and they had a map and I had just returned from the Palau Islands and I was devastated to learn that so many of the reefs there are just being wiped out by coral bleaching and is it just the raise, the higher temp. that¿s causing this, or what other circumstances, is it all a natural phenomenon or are we contributing to this? The whole meaning of what¿s going on in the sea is a lot of the phenomenon are related to what we¿re doing and the increase in population and tourism and waste in the sea. So it becomes fascinating. I¿m not an ecologist or environmentalist to the extent that I could study this but by understanding the fish you can see the changes. In the Red Sea there¿s this one fish this little Sand Perch, a fish that lives in the sand, it¿s the only fish that I know of that hasn¿t been harmed by all the pollution and debris and stuff being dropped into he Red Sea. In fact it takes advantage of it. It makes it home under some of the tin cans and garbage that is being put down¿. (Goes on talking about the fish and the pollution in the sea.)

00:50:14 I don¿t think I can do anything except just to keep studying these to try to understand what these few things¿ It¿s like just a little piece in a jigsaw puzzle all over the table. Once in a while you find the piece that fits and you say, ¿Oh that¿s exactly right. That¿s why, that¿s why I couldn¿t find it here, because it fits right here!¿ It¿s an exquisite revelation when you finally find the answer to some of the things that you are studying. Like when I was studying the behavior of sharks and I thought that they were so.. everybody thought that sharks were so dumb and the first time a shark came up and looked at the target and understood that he could only press one to get his food, he figured it out and we were all dumbfounded on the dock watching this shark as he did it. They have no expression on their face or anything but we had one shark it was a baby shark and he never made a mistake¿ (goes on talking about this shark and meeting the Crown Prince shortly thereafter and giving the shark to him)

Clark goes on to tell stories about snorkeling with the Crown Prince etc¿

00::59:27 I¿m Eugenie Clark. I¿m a senior research scientist and a professor a merita at the Department of Biology, University of Maryland, in College Park.

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