Chattanooga, Tenn. (March 25, 2009) – Dr. Eugenie Clark may be one of the most remarkable underwater explorers on Earth. Her career studying marine life throughout the world’s oceans has spanned more than five decades and taken her in submersibles to investigate the darkest and coldest waters 12,000 feet below the surface.
Her passion for marine science began with a family visit to a nearby aquarium. “I don’t think I ever consciously wanted to be an explorer,” said Dr. Clark. “I don’t think I knew what an explorer was. I just knew that I wanted to study fish. And it was when I went to the old Aquarium at Battery Park in New York, I just thought, wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could spend the rest of my life studying fish and actually going into the water with them.” So perhaps it’s fitting that Dr. Clark will visit the Tennessee Aquarium on Thursday, April 2nd to deliver a thrilling presentation about her award-winning career and possibly inspire others to look at sharks and other “sea monsters” in a new light.
Dr. Clark’s shark research earned her the title of “Shark Lady” at a time when very few women were gaining prominence in marine biology. Her 1969 bestselling book, The Lady and the Sharks focused on her role as scientist and founder of the Cape Haze Marine Laboratory, now known as the Mote Marine Laboratory, located in Sarasota, Florida. Dr. Clark remains active as Mote’s senior research scientist. Her expertise has been called upon to produce two dozen television specials seen throughout the world including the 1982 National Geographic special, The Sharks, which holds the highest Nielson rating on PBS. Dr. Clark has also garnered numerous awards including the gold medal of the Society of Woman Geographers.
Over the years, Dr. Clark has studied fish face-to-face by snorkeling, hard-hat diving, scuba diving and patrolling for deep water sharks in submersibles. And at nearly 87, she continues underwater studies with a current focus on convict fish, Pholidichthys leucotaenia, a species of reef fish highlighted in Under the Sea 3D. In the IMAX film, audiences observe the curious behavior first studied by Dr. Clark - swarms of juvenile convict fish funneling into the underwater tunnels of their parents to deliver them food.
Dr. Clark’s presentation, “Sea Monsters I have Known,” will take place in the Tennessee Aquarium’s River Journey Auditorium from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 2nd. Desserts and coffee will follow with a book signing and optional cash bar. Admission is $20/Member; $25/Non-Member. The proceeds support Tennessee Aquarium’s conservation programs. Register online now or call 423-267-FISH (3474).
Join the Conservation Society for an invitation to an exclusive reception with Eugenie Clark, with complimentary tickets to the lecture. Call the Development office at 785-4106 for more information.
The Tennessee Aquarium inspires wonder and appreciation for the natural world. Admission is $21.95 per adult and $14.95 per child, ages 3-12. Each ticket purchased helps support Aquarium conservation programs. The IMAX® 3D Theater is next door to the Aquarium. Ticket prices are $8.50 per adult and $6.00 per child. Aquarium/IMAX combo tickets are $27.95 for adults and $19.95 for children. Excursions aboard the new River Gorge Explorer depart daily into “Tennessee’s Grand Canyon.” Cruise tickets are $29.00 per adult and $21.50 per child (3-12). Advance tickets may be purchased online at www.tnaqua.org or by phone at 1-800-262-0695. The Aquarium, located on the banks of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, is a non-profit organization. Open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Aquarium and IMAX are accessible to people with disabilities.