Eugenie Clark was a pioneer in shark biology—and she inspired a generation of ocean advocates—including myself. This is why I’m especially happy to learn that a new species of shark, that was identified from the Gulf of Mexico and western Atlantic Ocean, has been named after her. Squalus clarkae, also known as Genie’s Dogfish, is a newly discovered species of dogfish shark.
Dr. Eugenie Clark passed away in 2015 at the age of 92 in Sarasota, Florida. Dr. Clark studied sharks most of her life and was founder of the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida. She was arguably the world’s most pioneering shark biologist. Her key message was that sharks are amazing—fear them not. Dr. Clark was a strong advocate in educating people about the wonder of sharks, and we’re starting to see a real sea change in how people view and appreciate sharks. Dr. Clark’s legacy will continue in the good work of others and in every shark saved thanks to her influence.
Genie’s Dogfish is a deep-sea shark with BIG green-blue eyes. The new species was previously categorized as Squalus mitsukurii, a dogfish species native to Japan. However, scientists at Florida State University conducted genetic tests and detailed analyses of the creature’s physical features to determine that Genie’s Dogfish is distinct from its Japanese relative.
New discoveries like Genie’s Dogfish highlight how important it is for us to keep the ocean and environment thriving and healthy—who knows what new species will be discovered next—or what mysteries are still to be uncovered.