[Coral-List] Passing of Jack Randall

Luiz Rocha lrocha at calacademy.org
Wed Apr 29 13:18:01 UTC 2020

Hi everyone,

It is with a heavy and sad heart that I report the passing of Jack Randall. I don't think Jack requires introduction, but just to keep it short, if it wasn't for him, modern ichthyology would look very different. He was a true pioneer and started diving very early (late 50s, early 60s), which gave him access to hundreds of underscribed reef fish species. He is most known for his taxonomic contributions (he described almost 1,000 species), but also wrote many important papers on reef fish ecology, behavior and biogeography. He was very generous with his time and my first interactions with him were in the late 90s when he carefully reviewed what became my first international paper, the description of Haemulon squamipinna in Copeia.

I will tell you my funny story about him, so please share yours (I know there are many). During the ASIH conference in La Paz, Mexico in 2002 I had the distinct privilege of diving with him. But before we got in the water we had to get on a dive boat, and when we were booking our dive, the dive shop obviously wanted to see our dive certifications. I showed them my PADI card and he pulled out his YMCA dive card that was printed in the 1960s! The instructor at the dive shop had never seen one before and didn't want to let him dive! Lucky for me, I reacted quickly and saw that the book shelf at the dive shop had several of his books, so I pulled the books and pointed out to them that the person in the card and the one in the book were the same! And that's how I went diving with legendary Jack Randall.

He passed away on the night of April 26 peacefully in his house with his family.

Thanks and stay safe,


Luiz A. Rocha, PhD
Associate Curator and Follett Chair of Ichthyology
California Academy of Sciences
p. 415.379.5370
f.  415.379.5731
LRocha at calacademy.org
Academic Website

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Golden Gate Park 
San Francisco, CA 94118

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