Remembering the influence and legacy of a Dal biologist through interactive art – Dal News

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At first glance, it looks like a simple painting of a face. Take a closer look, however, and you’re suddenly immersed in an underwater scene filled with sea creatures.

There are leatherback turtles, swordfish, white tip sharks, Atlantic cod, bluefin tuna, and humpback whales – six marine species that featured most in the marine research of the late Ransom A. Myers. .

Dr Myers, known to many friends, students, and academic colleagues simply as “Ram,” was a beloved educator and conservationist whose decades of work in Dal’s biology department were accompanied by the growing international influence of his work highlighting the effects of overfishing on marine species such as cod.

“As a child, I have always loved Where’s Waldo? In a way, it’s kind of the inspiration behind the painting, ”explains Carlo Myers, artist and son of Dr Myers, of the interactive painting he created that depicts his father’s face in small marine species.

Carlo created the work, Together, over the past year to commemorate his father’s legacy. (For many years Carlo also donated his art to guests of the annual Ransom A. Myers public lecture hosted by Dal).

Recognize Ram’s Legacy

The painting was unveiled this fall at a small ceremony for family and friends to celebrate Dr. Myers, recipient of the 2021 Dal Science Legacy Award. First created by the Faculty of Science in 2018, the annual award recognizes members of the Dalhousie community who have made significant contributions to science on a global scale.

Dr Myers was known around the world for his accomplishments as a fisheries biologist and environmentalist. Among many accolades, he gained international recognition in the 1990s and 2000s for his research on the effects of overfishing on marine species, such as Atlantic cod, pelagic sharks and bluefin tuna. He also gained global media attention for an article documenting the dramatic decline of large predatory fish, which landed him on Fortune the magazine’s 2005 list of the 10 most to watch people.

As a former student and faculty member, Dr. Myers’ passion for ocean conservation has had a significant impact on Dal’s scientific community and his legacy lives on through the research of his alumni and colleagues who continue to ” expand understanding of the ocean.

Charles Macdonald, Dean of the Faculty of Science, presented the award to the Myers family at the rally, which was held at the Wallace McCain Learning Commons and attracted others whose work was influenced by Dr. Myers.

“Ransom Myers was my postdoctoral mentor, friend and colleague and shaped my scientific journey in many ways,” says Boris Worm, marine conservation biologist at Dalhousie. “Many of his students are now professors at Dal or overseas, others are working to improve sustainability outcomes at DFO or Environment Canada, still others are working for NGOs, trying to push forward the conservation of the oceans. “

Dr Worm says Ram was also an original thinker with great results.

“Its groundbreaking research and societal impact were instrumental in placing Dalhousie on the world map as a powerhouse in ocean science and conservation – a reputation that continues to grow with each passing day,” he says.

A fun addition to a growing collection

Carlo’s idea for painting arose one day during an afternoon conversation.

“Dr. Worm and I had the brilliant idea of ​​climbing the Memorial Stairwell at the Life Sciences Center. That’s where most of my dad’s papers live. I counted them all down. marine species. From there, I selected the top six that were most prevalent in his work, ”he explains.

Carlo hopes that seeing the painting will be a fun activity for the community.

“From a distance, it looks like a face. As you get closer it is a face made of fish and up close it is a fun and interactive piece.

In partnership with Library Services, the faculty designated a space for Wallace McCain to present the recipients of the Legacy Awards. The Dr. Myers painting is the second strand of art in the building, which also includes 200 circles – an origami sculpture created by Dr Erik Demaine (BSc’95) and his father, Martin Demaine. Dr. Demaine was the first recipient of the Science Legacy Award and continues to be the youngest person in history to graduate from Dal.

The hope is to fill the popular student learning space with works of art that represent each recipient.

To learn more about the Dal Science Legacy Awards, please visit: dal.ca/science.

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