Myers, Ransom Aldrich Jr.

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Myers, Ransom Aldrich Jr.

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Dr. Ransom Aldrich Myers Jr., also known as RAM and Randy, son of a cotton planter and one of four children (brother Abbott, sisters Joan and Susan) was born in Lula, Mississippi, on 13 June 1953. He was married to Rita Kindl Myers, with whom he had five children: Emily, Rosemary, Sophia, Carlo and Gioia. Outside his work as a marine biologist and conservationist, Myers was passionate about the arts, especially theatre and opera.

He completed a BA in physics at Rice University in 1974 and worked in Kuwait's oil fields from 1974–1976. In 1977 Myers spent a year traveling through Africa before sailing across the Atlantic on a 8.5-metre sailboat and starting graduate school at Dalhousie, where he earned an MSc in mathematics (1980) and a PhD in biology (1983).

Myers worked as a research scientist for the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans in St. John’s, Newfoundland. In 1989 he joined the Resource Assessment and Survey Methodology Centre of Disciplinary Expertise, a group created to serve as a national resource for government scientists. Following his 1993 publication on the collapse of the Atlantic cod stocks, Myers became one of many scientists to raise public awareness of the government’s suppression of scientific work, and in 1997 was formally reprimanded. Myers then left the DFO to assume the inaugural Dalhousie Killam Chair of Ocean Studies.

Myers co-authored many papers in the late 1990s and early 2000s that influenced public understanding of the ocean’s natural resources, including Myers and Boris Worm’s "Rapid worldwide depletion of predatory fish communities" (Nature, 2003), which brought to light declines in marine fish biodiversity and provided Myers the opportunity to communicate with global decision-makers. He served as a witness at two US Senate Committee hearings on over-fishing and at the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans in 2003 and 2005.

In his work at Dalhousie Myers supervised several Masters, PhD and post-doctoral students and started the Myers Lab, which sought to catalogue and understand changes in marine biodiversity since the advent of industrialized fishing. He and his colleagues collected and compiled global fish population datasets, which they published in an open database, now known as the RAM Legacy Stock Assessment Database.

During his career Myers spoke at over 80 conferences and lecture series worldwide and accumulated numerous awards and accolades, including The Wilfred Templeman Publication Award (1994); a Visiting Fellowship at the Centre of Population Biology, Silwood Park, Imperial College (1996); and assignment to the Board of Directors and advisory boards of many organizations, including the International Oceans Institute of Canada, Atlantic Policy Congress, Sierra Club of Canada and International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN) Shark Specialist Group. Myers also worked to build the Future of Marine Animal Populations (FMAP). He was elected to the editorial board of Ecology Letters (2003) and to the board of science experts of the Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea (2005). Myers worked as a consultant for several projects and litigation proceedings under the incorporated name Ransom A. Myers & Associates Limited Natural Resources Consultants. In October 2005 he was named to Fortune magazine’s "Ten to Watch" list.

The scope of Myers’ research and contributions to science are considerable, focusing on many subjects, most notably life history evolution, oceanography, recruitment variability and population modeling, and conservation biology. By the time of his death he had co-authored over 150 research contributions, not including his work as a consultant, his works in progress, and government research documents. He died from a brain tumor in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 27 March 2007, aged 54.


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