. Atoll research bulletin. Coral reefs and islands; Marine biology; Marine sciences. 35 the Exuma Cays in the Bahamas to survey an area under consideration for a land-and- sea national park, which has since been established (Randall and Ray, 1958). Oris Russell, then Minister of Agriculture and Marine Products of the Bahamas and also a member of the Exumas survey party, offered me a position as the Fisheries Officer in the Bahamas. He was especially anxious to see a study made of the biology of the queen conch (Strombus gigas). He was afraid it would meet the same fate as the overexploited con

- Image ID: RJY2RT
. Atoll research bulletin. Coral reefs and islands; Marine biology; Marine sciences. 35 the Exuma Cays in the Bahamas to survey an area under consideration for a land-and- sea national park, which has since been established (Randall and Ray, 1958). Oris Russell, then Minister of Agriculture and Marine Products of the Bahamas and also a member of the Exumas survey party, offered me a position as the Fisheries Officer in the Bahamas. He was especially anxious to see a study made of the biology of the queen conch (Strombus gigas). He was afraid it would meet the same fate as the overexploited con
Library Book Collection / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: RJY2RT
. Atoll research bulletin. Coral reefs and islands; Marine biology; Marine sciences. 35 the Exuma Cays in the Bahamas to survey an area under consideration for a land-and- sea national park, which has since been established (Randall and Ray, 1958). Oris Russell, then Minister of Agriculture and Marine Products of the Bahamas and also a member of the Exumas survey party, offered me a position as the Fisheries Officer in the Bahamas. He was especially anxious to see a study made of the biology of the queen conch (Strombus gigas). He was afraid it would meet the same fate as the overexploited conch of the Florida Keys. I was interested, as I liked the Bahamas, but he could not match my salary as an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Miami, then $6,000 a year. One of my first dives after getting established in Miami was off Alligator Reef in the Florida Keys. I spotted a drab gray-brown fish in 28-m depth that I did not recognize, and speared it. Not wanting to swim up to the boat with one specimen, I put it inside the front of my swim trunks. That was a mistake. The fish was the soapfish Rypticus saponaceus which I soon discovered had a skin toxin that proved to be a powerful urethral irritant. One of the graduate students made up a limerick about this episode which added to the infamy. Later I wrote a paper with five Japanese colleagues (Randall et al., 1971) about this skin toxin in the soapfishes which we named grammistin. It is very effective in deterring predation. In late 1957, I obtained a National Science Foundation grant to study the ecology of coral-reef fishes in the Florida Keys. I had barely started the study when I heard that the National Park Service wanted a three-year marine biological survey of the Virgin Islands National Park on St. John. I was selected to head this project and succeeded in transferring my NSF grant to the Virgin Islands. The National Park Service renovated an old Danish estate house at Lameshur Bay for our base of ope

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