[Coral-List] Passing of Jack Randall

Peter Sale sale at uwindsor.ca
Wed Apr 29 18:14:10 UTC 2020

I echo Luiz Rocha's sadness re the passing of Jack Randall.  We all knew it had to come sometime, but the world seems a smaller place now.

I had the pleasure of introducing Jack as he gave his plenary at the Hawaii ICRS, 2016, the latest recipient of the ISRS (now ICRS) Darwin medal.  Jack played an immense role in my early career, without being physically present for much of it, because he had written his PhD in Bill Gosline's lab on the biology of the Manini.  Two thick volumes - don't try and tell me that standards have been relaxed in academia - one on the taxonomy of the Acanthuridae and the other on the biology of this wonderful fish.  I read the second, cover to cover.  It gave me my start in trying to understand the juvenile life of that fish.

My first real meeting with Jack occurred late in my PhD career, when again, he only talked to me second-hand, via Gosline, as the anonymous reviewer of a tiny paper I had submitted to Copeia.  I did not like his comments, that demoted my note from the next best thing to a moon shot to the tiny contribution it was.  I railed to Gosline about 'that damned reviewer' and Gosline, always wise, with a twinkling eye, and also eager to keep peace within the 'family' said' "Do you want it published, or not?  Do what that damned reviewer says."

My next encounter with Jack was at Heron Island, where he took the time to demonstrate to me how he pinned out his fishes to obtain taxonomically useful photos (before the days of routine UW photography).  And shortly after that we were on the Marco Polo (3rd ICRS) and I saw him in his wetsuit.  You know marine scientists pride themselves (or used to) on having well-worn dive gear. Jack's wetsuit was a ragged, patched old thing that he had painted in bold white stripes because he'd read somewhere that sharks did not like zebras - or something to that effect.

Great scientist, amazing human, he will be missed.

Peter Sale
sale at uwindsor.ca

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