“Science and sharks are timeless. They speak to us about history, pre-history, biology, and the astonishing, uncounted creatures that give shape to the ocean.”
She smiles as she says this. We’re in the deckhouse of a small, diesel powered boat steaming intoMangrove Bay in Bermuda. Edna Tucker, Teddy Tucker and Peter Benchley are standing beside us. We’ve just spent three hours exploring an old, Tucker-discovered shipwreckhidden beneath blue-water reefs. The sun is sliding out of the western sky. Its luminous rays highlight her deep brown eyes.
The whole story of her amazing life is in those eyes. Diving in research subs and scuba gear. Studying sleeper sharks. Analyzing the behavior of lemon sharks, black-tips, and great whites. Riding a whaleshark. Discovering new marine species. Writing 80 scientific papers. Sharing her hard won wisdom inlaboratories and classrooms.
She embodies the sense of wonder that generates scientific curiosity. It began when she was 9 years oldgazing through the glass of New York aquarium. She developed a deep empathy for the natural world. Science became her muse and mentor. She spent time in libraries devouring books about sea creatures. After majoring in zoology at Hunter College, she earned her master’s degree. A few years later, she was awarded her doctorate at New York University.
Because she lives for encounters with the natural world, she is an instrument of the natural world. FromMicronesia to the West Indies to the Red Sea, her scientific studies speak to the complex processes ofanimals living in the depths. When she’s underwater, she always stops to look at things. She lingers overthem, examines them, and places them in a corner of her mind. She’s among the first and finest of theocean readers. One of her priorities is to protect fragile shorelines and endangered species. She views things with the mind of scientist and the mind of a woman seeking the joy of life.