Ichthyologist, diver, writer, and teacher, Eugenie Clark has been called the American Jacques Cousteau and sometimes “the shark lady.” This biography explains the science of her work, and recounts for young readers the true story of an inquiring and energetic woman.
Genie was born in 1922 to a Japanese mother and an American father. As a nine-year-old she discovered the marine world, which led to a lifelong passion. She earned a college degree in zoology, learned both helmet diving and snorkeling, and took up spearfishing when hired by the Navy in 1949 to study poisonous fish in the South Seas.
After graduate school, Eugenie worked in the Red Sea area, where she collected hundreds of fish species, and finally in Florida, where she was invited to create her own marine laboratory. It was here that she established her reputation as a shark expert, and much of what we know about shark anatomy, physiology, and behavior comes from her work. Still active, Dr. Clark studies unusual fish around the world, leads diving expeditions, writes, consults, and teaches. Today she is at the forefront of the movement to protect the world’s oceans.
Authors Butts and Schwartz have interviewed Dr. Clark for this biography, which contains many photographs from her own collection.
Like Jane Goodall, Eugenie Clark is passionate about her career as the authors inform us in this biography of her extraordinary work in the field of ichthyology. Clark was born of Japanese descent and was swimming before she was two, Throughout her childhood her interest in sea creatures grew. By the 1940s she was well on her way to a groundbreaking career, despite the hostilities toward the Japanese and prevalent sexism during WWII.
Among her many discoveries, Clark was the first person to develop a technique for making “test tube” babies in female fish. As founder and director of Cape Haze Marine Laboratory, Clark studied the intelligence and behavior of sharks, earning the nickname “Shark Lady.” The book ends with Clark at 75, still going strong and very dedicated to marine conservation….Enhanced with photos from Clark’s personal collection and new words are italicized and helpfully defined in the index, Clark’s…curiosity and ambition shine through. Educators will find this book useful to exemplify an admirable woman intent on reaching her goals despite many hurdles. – Kirkus Reviews
About the Authors
Both Ellen Butts and Joyce Schwartz have a lifelong interest in science. Ellen Butts has been a trade book editor and a librarian; Joyce Schwartz has taught science, and worked in Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History as well. Another title by these authors is May Chinn: The Best Medicine.
A sincere…biography of a remarkable pioneer in the study of sharks. Containing not only the expected updated biographical data, it also includes a great deal of information on the studies Clark has conducted during her long career, and on shark behavior as well. A number of informational boxes provide notes on such diverse topics as “Diving Techniques” and “Poisonous and Venomous Fish”….A detailed, useful book…. — School Library Journal