[Coral-List] FW: In memorium: Dr. Frederick "Ted" Bayer

Steven Lutz steven.lutz at mcbi.org
Tue Oct 9 11:32:23 EDT 2007

In memorium: Dr. Frederick "Ted" Bayer


Posted on: October 3, 2007 11:34 AM, by Peter Etnoyer

Frederick "Ted" M. Bayer, 85, a retired Smithsonian curator in the
Department of Invertebrate Zoology and one of the world's leading
experts on marine invertebrates, passed away earlier today after a long
illness at Washington Home in Washington, DC.

Dr. Bayer published over 130 papers and books on the taxonomy and
natural history of soft corals (i.e., octocorals: sea fans and sea
whips), describing over 170 new species, 40 genera, and even three new
families. He was long acknowledged as the doyen of soft coral research,
attracting visitors and collections to the Smithsonian from all parts of
the world. Several dozen species from many different groups of animals
have been named in his honor, including the hydroid Hydractinia bayeri,
described by his colleague, the Emperor of Japan, Hirohito.

Dr. Bayer was born in Asbury Park, New Jersey on Halloween night, 1921,
but grew up in southern Florida, where he became an amateur naturalist
at a young age, his early passion being the collection of seashells. 

His undergraduate education was interrupted by WWII, during which time
he served as a photographic technician in the Army Air Corps (36th Photo
Reconnaissance) from December 1942 to December 1945. In this capacity he
traveled to New Guinea, the Philippines, and Okinawa, in his spare time
making collections and drawings of shells, fish, and butterflies. He
eventually received his BS from the University of Miami, and his MS and
PhD degrees from George Washington University in 1954 and 1958,

He was hired as a Smithsonian curator at the National Museum of Natural
History in 1947. Almost immediately he was sent to Bikini Atoll to
survey the marine fauna just two years after the nuclear testing at that
island. He also spent many months of field work in Micronesia at Ifaluk
(1953) and Palau (1955). Bayer left the Smithsonian in 1961 to become a
Professor at the School of Marine Science, University of Miami. During
that time he participated in numerous deep-sea collecting expeditions in
the Caribbean and off western Africa, as well as mentoring over a dozen
graduate students in the classification of exotic marine invertebrates.
He returned to the Department of Invertebrate Zoology, Smithsonian
Institution in 1975 where he continued his interrupted curatorial career
for another 21 years until he retired in 1996. He continued to work and
publish papers at the Museum as a Curator Emeritus until 2006. Although
an expert on corals, he was a broadly based naturalist, perhaps one of
the most knowledgeable deep-sea biologists in the world.

He was an outstanding bio-illustrator, both in black and white line
drawings (the stipple technique) as well as color paintings. He painted
a series of six beautiful, scientifically accurate underwater scenes
that were used for a set of postage stamps for Haiti in 1973. After the
scanning electron microscope was invented, he employed it assiduously to
examine the microscopic anatomy of the octocoral skeleton, ultimately
amassing a collection of over 40,000 images, many taken in stereo view.

Dr. Bayer was a commissioner of the International Commission of
Zoological Nomenclature for 23 years (1972-1995), the international body
that adjudicates disputes about zoological classification. He was also
an ardent supporter of the Handel Society in Washington D. C. He was a
member of the Washington Academy of Sciences.

Survivors include a niece, Lisa Stojek, and nephew, Michael Glocheski,
both living in Plymouth, Michigan.

Special thanks to Dr. Stephen Cairns for compiling the obituary above.

The photograph is from a commemorative volume of Proceedings of the
Biological Society of Washington (Oct. 2001) dedicated to Dr. Bayer on
the occasion of his 80th birthday.



Steven Lutz, Ocean Policy Analyst
Marine Conservation Biology Institute
600 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 210
Washington DC 20003 USA
1 202 546 5346 (office)
1 202 546 5348 (fax)
Steven.Lutz at mcbi.org


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