Known to the world as ‘Shark Lady’, Eugenie Clark was a pioneering marine biologist who made life-long contributions to the study of sharks and bony fish.
Clark was a female scientist in a male-dominated field and was respected for the quality of her research as well as her diving skills and courage, using new and sometimes dangerous diving techniques to get close to sharks at a time when they were often portrayed as mindless killers. Clark campaigned tirelessly to change the public perception of sharks and to preserve marine environments.
Thanks to her work we now know – amongst other things – that sharks do not have to keep swimming in order to breathe, that they can learn tricks as fast as mammals can, that the Moses Sole produces a natural shark-deterring chemical and that some fish can change sex in as little as 10 seconds, in order to fertilise their own eggs.
Clark wrote two books about her adventures in science: Lady with a spear and The Lady and the Sharks. She also set up the Cape Haze Marine Laboratory in Florida, now known as the Mote Marine Laboratory and inspired generations of marine biologists.
As picked by...
Kelly Richards, Exhibitions Officer