Saturday, December 8, 2007

RAM inducted in N.S. Hall of Fame

"Nova Scotia’s best and brightest minds were honoured last night at The 2007 Discovery Awards for Science and Technology. The 5th annual gala event celebrated dedicated individuals from the fields of science and technology whose locally, nationally and internationally recognized work is being carried out right here in Nova Scotia.
The awards are held as a Discovery Centre fundraiser and as a unique way to recognize the exceptional talents of Nova Scotians working in science and technology.

Three people were also inducted into the Nova Scotia Hall of Fame for Science and Technology: Dr. Frederic Sexton, founder of Nova Scotia Technical College, Dr. Ransom Myers, a world leader in large marine animal analysis, and Dr. Robert Ackman, co-founder of Canadian Institute of Fisheries Technology.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Nova Scotia News -

Nova Scotia News -
Discovery Centre has announced that it will posthumously induct Dr. Ransom Myers, world leader in large marine animal analysis, into the Nova Scotia Science and Technology Hall of Fame. Myers dedicated his career to studying marine life in Nova Scotia and around the world.
Among Myers’ many breakthroughs, his research revealed that a few decades ago, tuna were twice the size they are today, and that marlins the size of killer whales once swam the world’s oceans. At the forefront of his work, Dr. Myers’ provided evidence, which he and a co-worker produced and published, that demonstrated that 90 per cent of the world’s large fish population has vanished completely.......
The Hall of Fame induction will take place at the 2007 Discovery Awards for Science and Technology on November 29 at the Westin Nova Scotian Hotel.

Monday, September 24, 2007

RAM working on vacation

I took this picture just over a year ago. Ram was working during his family vacation in Cape Breton. And now, it's almost a six months since he left us... involuntarly and unwillingly. Ram had so much more work to do, so many ideas, and yes, so much love for all of us. Damn Brain Cancer!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Was RAM an "Ocean Historian?"

"Dusting off sales records, fishery yearbooks and other sources, researchers Brian R. MacKenzie of the Technical University of Denmark and the late Ransom Myers of Canada’s Dalhousie University show majestic bluefins teemed in northern European waters (North Sea, Norwegian Sea, Skaggerak, Kattegat, and Oresund ) for a few months each summer until an industrialized fishery geared up in the 1920s and literally filled the floors of European market halls with them.
The research, to appear in a special edition of the peer-reviewed journal Fisheries Research, shows that generations ago Atlantic bluefins typically arrived in the northern waters by the thousands in late June and departed by October at the latest, their foraging travels likely related to seasonal warming."

Monday, August 6, 2007

Bluefin Tuna/Northern Europe/New Study by RAM &I Brain R. MacKenzie

Marine historians chart collapse of bluefin stocks
Updated Sun. Aug. 5 2007 12:38 PM ET News Staff
For the first time, ocean historians have been able to create a detailed picture of the "burst of fishing" from 1900 to 1950 that led to the collapse of bluefin tuna stocks off the coast of northern Europe.
The research, released Sunday afternoon, was completed by Brian R. MacKenzie of the Technical University of Denmark and the late Ransom Myers of Canada's Dalhousie University.
Myers, who died earlier this year, had worked on some of the most important surveys of global fish stocks.
Some of the research was completed with the Tag-A-Giant (TAG) program, which uses electronic tags to track migrations of giant bluefins off Ireland and in the Gulf of Mexico.
Barbara Block, a marine sciences professor at Stanford University and chief scientist of the CoML Tagging of Pacific Predators program and TAG, told the tagging technology has been active for 14 years and has led to a greater understanding of the North Atlantic fisheries.
"We are using some of the coolest technology on the planet," she said. "We are putting something the equivalent in price of a laptop computer inside the tuna ... and like a submarine, we are asking 'where is it going?'"
There are three bluefin species of tuna: Atlantic, Pacific and Southern Bluefin, and they are one of the most lucrative commercial fish in the sea. Their quickly declining numbers has been a great concern to scientists and sushi lovers around the world.
The Atlantic bluefin have two populations -- one in the East Atlantic, and one in the West Atlantic. The 45th meridian divides the two populations for purposes of the study.
The study began with a bit of history -- looking at the almost mythical bluefins that once teemed in northern European waters (North Sea, Norwegian Sea, Skaggerak, Kattegat, and Oresund) for a few months each summer.
The smallest weighed 40 kilograms, but there were also giants of up to 700 kilograms. They began disappearing when an industrialized fishery geared up in the 1920s, using harpoon rifles and hydraulic lift nets.
By 1960, the species had virtually disappeared from the region.
"We've shown bluefin tuna were here for a long time in high numbers," MacKenzie said in a news release. "High fishing pressure preceded the species' virtual disappearance from the area and apparently played a key role but other factors under study might have compounded the fishery's demise -- the catch of juvenile tuna in subsequent years, for example.
Tagging shows travel patterns
The research team hopes their work will inspire "a more precautionary approach to the management of bluefin tuna in the Atlantic."
Today, Atlantic bluefin stocks are down 80 to 90 per cent compared to historical breeding populations.
CoML-associated scientists working with the Tag-A-Giant (TAG) program tracked migration patterns, and learned that fish tagged within minutes of each other wound up more than 5,000 km apart eight months later.:
One swam 6,000 km, past Bermuda to waters about 300 kilometres northeast of Cuba
The other remained in the eastern Atlantic and moved off the coasts of Portugal
A third tagged bluefin swam into the Mediterranean Sea and was caught by fishers southeast of Malta in 2005
Tuna have generally been harder to track than other fish stocks. The species keeps body temperature independent of the ambient environment. This allows it to go into very cold, northern waters -- and travel much longer migration routes than other fish.
The electronic tags allow scientists to determine exactly where the tuna breed, and the oceanographic conditions they are selecting.
"That's the first time for a large tuna species that we've had this kind of data to say this," Block said. "This information can help scientists and policy-makers best protect the remaining tuna while they are spawning."

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Ecology Action Centre's Sunshine Award = RAM

"Ransom Myers Even after his death, Ram's work is coming out in Science and Nature. Just like the sun - Ram's impact on the world will take a while to set. Ram was never afraid to speak his mind and to work on things that were important for marine conservation. Ram was almost always happy and despite the magnitude of the problems he worked on, he always saw solutions. Ram was a great naturalist in that he loved the outdoors, loved asking questions and had a great appreciation for the work the natural environment did for us humans. Ram's science fundamentally changed fisheries science, raised very important marine conservation issues and really did make a difference in marine policy and law, particularly the work he and others did on shark bycatch in the pelagic longline fishery."

Friday, June 15, 2007

Ram's Birthday

June 13th...Ram would have been...should have been...will never be.......55!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Ransom Myers obituary in Nature

In this week's issue of Nature (10 May, 2007), Daniel Pauly has written an obituary of Dr. Ransom A. Myers. It may be found at the following link in the News and Views section:

Pauly, D. Obituary: Ransom Aldrich Meyers (1952-2007) Chronicler of declining fish populations. Nature 447 (7141): 160.

This is a wonderful and fitting tribute to someone who published several articles in this esteemed journal, and led to mainstream talk about the status of depleted populations of marine species. For those who do not have a subscription or access to Nature, I hope it can be made available through other media.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Listen to the touching NPR story on Ransom Myers

In "Science out of the Box," NPR featured "a story of a scientist who earned an international reputation for thinking outside the box." Below are some notes but it is much better to listen to the 3/30/07 edition at or download it from itunes.

Ram ... was one of those guys who always stood out at scientific conferences ... partly it was the kids - he had five - and one or two always seem to be following him around at a meeting. But it was also ... his ability to instantly see the hole in any argument. Biologist Charles Peterson said, Ram "had a twinkle in his eye and good humor but his comments were always sharp and to the point..."

Ram's voice from a few years ago: "the amazing thing we found...changing fundamentally the world's ocean without really thinking about it and really understanding it." Those studies made Ram a hero of conservatism.

Ram once said that it was bit of a fluke that he ended up studying species. He grew up in rural Mississippi. His precocious talent for math and science cause problems at school.
Andy Rosenberg said that Ram told him that "when he was in high school, he came to an agreement with the teachers that they had taught him everything they could and it would be better if that just left him in the library to learn things for himself."

....As a grad student at Dal, Ram began using his mathematical talent to understand how the oceans work. Andy Rosenberg was at Dal then & remembered Ram "coming out of the elevator with a stream of paper behind him (from the old teletype sheets) and Ram said 'I had this idea and I've written it up' and it fragments of sentences, equations and graphs ...he walked down the hall with a paper stream behind of him... that was just so much Ram."

Ram was never shy about defending his work. At one public debate, he titled his power point presentation "I AM RIGHT." Andy Rosenberg was there and the memory brought tears.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"We are fishing our oceans to death"

Margaret Wente writes, "Ransom Myers is not a household name. He should be. The Nova Scotia biologist, who died last week at 54, was called the best fish scientist in Canada. He was also a leading authority on the greatest environmental disaster of our time. It's too bad that global warming gets all the ink, because the danger documented by Prof. Myers is right here, right now. We are fishing out the seas. We don't have to wait for global warming to wipe out species, because we are doing it already. Prof. Myers found that in the past 50 to 100 years, we have fished out more than 90 per cent of the world's biggest predatory fish -- tuna, swordfish, marlin, cod, shark. Most of the ones that remain are much smaller than the ones your grandpa saw. If somebody rewrote The Old Man and the Sea today, the old man's adversary would probably be a minnow. Today, we don't fish the seas -- we mine them. Ocean-going supertrawlers drag the seas to depths of 600 metres, sucking up the last of the giant bluefin tuna, along with tonnes and tonnes of bycatch (waste fish for which there is no market). They fish out one area and then move on, leaving a virtual desert in their wake. Prof. Myers's warnings were not speculation. He based them on a hard slog through the data of ocean trawler records through the years. Back in 2003, he warned, "We've got to cut fishing by 50 per cent, and if it's not done, we're going to lose the pelagic [ocean-going] species." Last week, his final piece of research was published in the journal Science. It found that populations of some of the biggest shark species off the eastern coast of the United States had also plunged by 90 per cent or even more. "If you go to any reef around the world, except for those that are really protected, the sharks are gone," Dr Ranson Myers said........... "The collapse was all blamed on the environment, on the seals, on the foreigners, when it was primarily Canadians," he (Dr. Ransom Myers) said later. "I saw that as the big lie, blaming it on anything but ourselves." So why are the big sharks going the way of the cod? Blame consumer tastes -- in this case, the Asian craze for shark-fin soup, which is considered a tasty if expensive delicacy. Shark fins sell for hundreds of dollars a kilogram, and shark-fin soup for as much as $100 a bowl. In a practice known as finning, fishermen catch the sharks on the high seas, cut off their fins and throw the carcasses back. It's illegal, but the high seas aren't well policed. As many as 75 million sharks were finned last year, says research team member Julia Baum. It's not too late to save the big fish. Prof. Myers's research has helped to bring about important changes in fishing practices and technology. But nothing much will happen without international laws, internationally enforced. Call it a sort of test case for global warming. If the world's fishing nations can't get together to save the fish, there's no hope for a pact on greenhouse gases.
Meantime, watch out what you're eating from the sea. As someone who loves sushi, this breaks my heart. But it's the ethical thing to do."
MARGARET WENTE From Tuesday's Globe and Mail April 3, 2007 at 3:58 AM EST

Sunday, April 15, 2007

David Suzuki on Ransom Myers

"Dr. Ransom Myers was at the leading edge of conservation biology. He consistently strove to dig deeper and go further in the search for answers to pressing ecological issues. His efforts raised the public's understanding of the plight of our oceans, and he inspired a generation of marine biologists. His work will be sorely missed, and so will he. " h ttp://

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday the 13th

Ram was born on Friday the 13th, 1952. A scientist is not superstitious. But the illiterate and uneducated often are superstitious. When we were growing up, we had a washing woman named Mary who was illiterate and superstitious. I remember Mary talking..."that Mister Randy...that Mister Randy.... he's done gonna blow up the whole town....don't that boy know he was born on Friday the 13th ......"

This is, perhaps, more indicative of the frozen place and time we grew up, rather than a reflection of Randy. The man who became Ram made his own luck, that is, until his Brain Cancer went undiagnosed (by the Candian govertment controlled health care system) until it was too late.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Ransom Myers' death a loss for science

Dr Ransom Myers "was indeed a distinguished scientist, an engaging public speaker and leading advocate for change. Sadly, we will now never know what else he may have accomplished. His death from a brain tumor, at just 54, came at the height of his scientific career and at a time when the world needs him most." The Review

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

See Sharkwater & Remember Dr. Ransom Myers

The documentary Sharkwater is a must see for all Fans of Dr. Ransom Myers....Fans of Dr. Boris Worm...Fans of Dr. (or soon to be Dr.) Julia Baum...and many others........

Monday, April 9, 2007

Ransom Myers: He told it like it was

Dr. Borris Worm on Ram: "There were so many instances when he would keep busy working on data and doing complicated analyses while sitting in a meeting or a conference and everybody would assume he’s not there at all and get annoyed and then, at a critical moment, he would have this absolutely brilliant statement. And everybody would be surprised that he could do that, but he just needed more than the average person to keep his brain occupied."

Saturday, April 7, 2007

the future Dr. Ransom Myers Easter 1967

Randy (the future Dr. Ransom Myers) with his older brother and younger sisters Joan and Susan G Myers in front of his childhood home in Lula, Mississppi on Easter morning 1967

Friday, April 6, 2007

Inspired by Ram

I have created a Facebook group called "Inspired by Ram". It may be one way for us to connect with old friends and remember Ram.

(By the way, as Wikipedia notes, Facebook is a social networking website.)

Why scientists like Ransom Myers & Julia Baum matter

The value of Dr. Ransom Myers (Ram)
The value of science, scientists and sharks by Jack Betts

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Ransom Myers, Scientist: 1952-2007

"Ram would get an idea.
He would gather all the relevant data in the world about it,
and he could put all these data sets together,
analyze them and
see what the pattern was." -- Julia Baum
Julia Baum on Ram, The Globe and Mail, Charles Mandel, April4, 2007.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Ransom Myers did see

Ransom Myers did see.
He saw
he thought
he studied,
from all of that,
he developed
of scientific knowledge
on the East Coast fishery
that can hardly be equalled.
excerpt from Editorial originally printed in The Telegram, St. Johns, Newfoundland

Monday, April 2, 2007

Ransom Myers solved "the major problem in fisheries science"

Daniel Pauly, who heads the Fisheries Center at the University of British Columbia, cited ... Myers' efforts to solve "the major problem in fisheries science," predicting in one season how many fish larvae will survive to young adulthood in the next. Scientists call this "the recruitment problem," difficult to solve because fish produce immense and highly variable numbers of larvae and because mortality is so high. Myers solved the problem, Pauly said, by assembling a large base of stock data and developing a complex mathematical model to sort it out. "Out of that came the conclusion that a female in general produced three to five recruits per year for most fish," Pauly said. "It is the definitive study." (Picuture of Ram with some of his Myers Lab Team taken in late summer of 2006)

Ransom A. Myers and the uses of fame

The following is an excerpt of an article by Bill Barker, King's College President and 20 year friend of Ram. The article appeared in the Halifax paper the day of Ram's memorial. The picture of Bill and myself was taking the morning after. "It was exciting to get to know someone who was so alive with a passion for research at the very highest level of his discipline, and who had so much curiosity and so many opinions on so many topics. He had a bracing energy, and every encounter gave me a bit of a jolt. He was one of those intellectuals for whom the work goes everywhere, and the mind never stops boiling over with observations and new ideas. I loved the boldness. Looking back, I have to say his nickname, though made up of his initials, was not an accident...Ram was, for a self-described "quantitative fishery population biologist," relatively famous...It’s interesting how all the comments on his life (mine included) mention Ram’s listing in Fortune – this is the way that you become famous for being famous. Ram clearly loved the notice, and enjoyed the ironies of this celebrity. But being in the spotlight helped his cause ....Ram was exceptional in the force of his message. If you want to see how he did this, one of the best places is his 2003 testimony to the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation (it’s on the web). Here Ram presents his advice on the decline of fish stocks. His summary of an ongoing massive meta-analysis of data from around the world clearly demonstrates the vastness of the ecological failure through overfishing. From this general view, he moves back to the particular to offer practical advice on the management and replenishment of specific stocks. The clarity, urgency and hope in his testimony are exemplary. He knew the value of publicity, of getting in the news. The Dalhousie web page devoted to his memory mentions that his work made the front page of The New York Times "above the fold." This, of course, is pure Ram, and all his friends will get the joke. He was delighted that he had appeared "above the fold" because he knew he had captured the ultimate piece of real estate in the world of print journalism. Many academics have important messages that should be heard by the public. Sometimes these messages are too nuanced or too obscure for public discourse, which is not terribly refined or precise. How to attain that knowledge transfer is a huge issue for universities and our research funding agencies, who want the public informed and the discoveries to be used. Most of us (I speak as a member of the public in relation to Ram’s research) don’t want to hear the details. For whatever reason, we can’t put in the effort or the time. We want the big picture. It’s difficult for an expert, who has struggled so carefully to tune the ideas, to enter into the rough and tumble world of the media. Now and then, however, there are academic experts who are able to maintain a sophisticated research agenda and who at the same time can translate the work into terms that can be quickly grasped by the general public. When their ideas get out there, they help to shape necessary public debate. This is important work, and deserves recognition. Ram was one of the masters." ---William Barker, President of the University of King’s College, The Chronical Hearld,

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Take a Hike in Memory of RAM!

Ram wanted his funeral to be a long hike. That wasn't practical. His wife has MS. And I am not much of an hiker myself (Being a southern bell, I packed head to toe in black for a funeral. I didnt' pack hiking clothes! ) But a hike along the shores and cliffs of the sea might do us all good. Maybe it would clear our heads. Maybe it would help us come to terms with our grief. So if you couldn't come today and if you are incline to take a hike, then take a long hike in memory of the man you knew, as Randy, or Ram, or Dr. Myers, or Papa, or that damn scientist. You will never meet another like him, so, TAKE A HIKE!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

My brother Dr. Ransom Myers

In December, I held my brother Randy's hand and thanked him for loving me. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to tell him goodbye as I did not have the opportunity with Mama. Emotionally, I have always felt that Mama just vanished... left me, although intellectually I know she was killed one night on Highway 1 by a cotton trailer with no lights. Randy always loved me, unconditionally and without judgement. My life has been better because he was my brother. The world is better for having such an innovative, creative, determined and fearless scientist.

2004 interview of Ransom Myers

Listen to an NPR interview of Dr. Ransom Myers on July 8, 2004

Friday, March 30, 2007

Ransom Myers = solid science + brilliant analysis

Ransom Myers of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia warned at length, using solid science and brilliant analysis, of the dangers of overfishing. He didn’t mince words and he wasn’t afraid to report bad news. As the Guelph Mercury reports, the 54-year-old biologist, originally from Mississippi, was known for his groundbreaking research and blunt warnings about the extinction of marine life around the world...

Ransom Myers on CBC

Listen to an interview about Ram on CBC's As It Happens (Click on "Part 3"):

In memoriam Dr. Ransom Myers (1952-2007)

This beautiful memoiram was posted today on the Myers Lab website "Our dear Ram (Ransom A. Myers), the leader of our research group, passed away on Tuesday, March 27th. We miss him terribly. For those of us in the lab, working with Ram every day was a very special experience, imbued with Ram's gleeful exuberance. His immense energy, brilliant ideas, sheer determination to obtain and analyze ecological data, and ability to answer complex problems with elegantly simple answers was truly unique. Ram was also incredibly funny; his blunt statements about mis-management of the oceans and tendency to describe his research in original ways triggered many laughing exchanges in the lab - usually followed by insightful re-analysis of the problem at hand.
We all experienced how much Ram cared each of us - a concern that extended far beyond publications and thesis completion. This concern for people he trusted and cared about was integral to Ram's character, and was part and parcel of his passion for conservation. He believed that good-hearted people, guided by careful analysis, should and would make changes necessary to protect marine species like sharks and sea turtles from extinction. As he said in one of hundreds of media interviews he has given over the years: "I want there to be hammerhead sharks and bluefin tuna around when my five-year-old son grows up. If present fishing levels persist, these great fish will go the way of the dinosaurs."
As we think about Ram and what he meant to us, it is clear that each of us has developed different strengths because Ram saw them in us and could draw them out. There is no question that Ram has changed the world with his scientific genius, ability to untangle "impossible" data, and compunction to speak the truth at all costs. He has also changed the world through his influence on those he worked with, who will continue to do the science needed understand our oceans and speak out to stop the ecological destruction that Ram revealed and fought so hard to bring to a halt."

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Protege Julia Baum carrys on Ransom Myers' legacy

“With fewer sharks around, the species they prey upon – like cownose rays – have increased in numbers and in turn, hordes of cownose rays dining on bay scallops have wiped the scallops out. Large sharks have been functionally eliminated from the east coast of the U.S., meaning that they can no longer perform their ecosystem role as top predators. The extent of the declines shouldn’t be a surprise, considering how heavily large sharks have been fished in recent decades to meet the growing worldwide demand for shark fins and meat. With an average population increase of about eight per cent per year, the east coast cownose ray population may now number as many as 40 million. The rays (which can grow to be more than four feet across) eat large quantities of bivalves, including bay scallops, oysters, soft-shell and hard clams, in the bays and estuaries they frequent during summer and migrate through during fall and spring.
Our study provides evidence that the loss of great sharks triggers changes that cascade throughout coastal food webs. Solutions include enhancing protection of great sharks by substantially reducing fishing pressure on all of these species and enforcing bans on shark finning both in national waters and on the high seas. " Julia Baum stated in an interview on the eve of Science journal's publication of her research with Dr. Ransom Myers.

Dr. Myers passed away on the eve of the publication of this study. His passing has deeply affected the Dalhousie community, but his legacy remains in the form of continued meaningful research in the Myers Lab that has the potential to change the world for the better. This research is a fitting way to honour his memory.

Ramsom Myers and Abundance

Ram and Abundance
by S. D. Fuller (a PhD student of Ram's)
Dec 1, 2006

Ram Myers is a man of abundance. He always has an abundance of enthusiasm, support and advice for his students, endless abundance of love for his family – which I first noticed when he would talk to his wife Rita on the phone from his office. Hello my lovely wife he would say, yes my love, I will be home soon, lovely, perfect wife. He always has an abundance of ideas, spilling from his mind to his mouth faster than hecan keep up with. Befitting of all his ideas, Ram has an abundance of published papers on a abundance of topics. Many of them concerning the lack of abundance of marine species and various reasons for this – from evolutionary questions, life history, overfishing, historical events. If you search Google for Ransom A. Myers and abundance, 49,000records are listed. That is an abundance of google hits!

Ram would not be Ram without his abundant curiosity. Have you seen him "in the field" or out on a walk? My favorite field story is Ram in the water in Florida, surrounded by what would certainly be considered an abundance of box jellies, and risking the sting to observe the abundance of small fish taking shelter in the tentacles.

He has an abundance of students and post docs, people who depend on his abundant spirit to buoy them when things are not going quite right, and to learn how to stick to an idea or a hypothesis until a solid, quantitative answer is found. Ram always strives to gather anabundance of data – get all the data in the world, he says. And he does.

Ram has an abundance of commitment to the world of biology and ecology, dedication to using his scientific ability to tell the stories that need to be told. Of all the people I know who work for change in the world, in varying capacities, Ram has the greatest abundance of drive to do the right thing. He has an abundance of trust, trusting his students and colleagues to do the right thing.

He loves an abundance of babies, always encouraging students to have babies as soon as they finished, and supporting them when the babies came along during a thesis. He has what in North America is considered an abundance of children of his own. Ram has an abundance of friends, and even among his critics, we suspect an abundance of secret admirers. All of this abundance, can only be met with an abundance of gratitude, an abundance of respect and an abundance of love. Leave it to Ram to only be diagnosed with cancer, when the cells have reached such great abundance. What Ram hasnever had – is an abundance of time. There has never been enough time to spend with his children, to to spend doing nothing. There has never been enough time to do everything, to spend with everyone, to find all the data, to answer all the questions, to go to all the meetings, to talk to all the reporters, to give all the seminars. The first five minutes of any conversation with Ram are the moments of gold – where a question might get answered before a new idea arose and shoved the issue at hand, aside. Those five minutes are never enough, but enough to get started, enough to be either frustrated or inspired, but oneway or another enough to move on. Ram's lack of abundance of time seems to be the one thing that he has not been able to change. But the time those of us who know him or ever met him, was enough to ensure that his work, enthusiasm, compassion and concern for people and other species, will go on.

S. D. Fuller

Ransom Myers CBC Radio Interview

Listen to Dr Ransom Myers. Below is a link to his 10/12/06 CBC interview

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

L A Times reports Ransom Myers' backstory:

I have found 26 articles reporting Ram's death, but none have included his backstory. But there is a writer who knew Ram and cared enough to write what most don't know. His name is Ken.Weiss of the LA Times. His story is the one you want to read.,1,192207.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

Born and raised in the tiny town of Lula, Miss., Ransom Aldrich Myers Jr. was one of four children and the namesake son of a cotton farmer who owned a plantation stretching across thousands of acres.In grade school, his teachers were worried that he was slow to learn to read, according to his younger sister, Susan G. Myers. But by high school, his teachers said that he shouldn't bother coming to school. It was for another reason: There was apparently nothing they could teach him that he hadn't already mastered. At age 16, he won an international science fair with an "X-ray crystallograph" that measured the symmetry between atoms — a delicate instrument that he built in his bedroom. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology tried to recruit Myers for its physics department, but his father wouldn't stand for it. "My father wouldn't let him go because it was north of the Mason-Dixon line," Myers' sister said, explaining that deep Southern roots included ancestors who were Confederate soldiers.So Myers earned a physics degree at Rice University in Houston and then worked in the oilfields of Kuwait as a physicist to earn some money before departing on a series of adventures that took him trekking in Nepal, backpacking through Africa and sailing across the Atlantic from Africa to the Caribbean in a 28-foot boat.It was during this time that he became interested in fish, his sister said. Not wanting to displease his father, he ventured farther north than the Yankee north and enrolled in Dalhousie University, where he received a master's degree in mathematics and a PhD in biology.

Dalhousie's Memoriam

In memoriam Dr. Ransom Myers (1952-2007) One of Dalhousie’s brightest lights, Dr. Ransom Myers, passed away in Halifax on March 27, at the age of 54. Ram, as he was known, captured the world’s attention time and time again with breakthrough research on declining fish populations. He focused much of his attention on models of extinction, which is a growing concern in the marine environment.
As Dalhousie’s inaugural Killam Chair in Ocean Studies he was widely respected around the globe as a leading world-class ocean researcher. Last year, Fortune Magazine named him the only Canadian on a list of the “Top Ten People to Watch” in the world over the next 75 years. His work was featured on the cover of Time magazine and the New York Times (“above the fold”) and he testified at the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Hearing on Overfishing and at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. He was also in Who’s Who in Canada.
Dr. Myers received his B.Sc. in Physics from Rice University, and his M.Sc. in Mathematics and Ph.D. in Biology from Dalhousie University. He published more than 100 refereed scientific publications in diverse fields of aquatic ecology. His influential work on the causes for the collapse of fish stocks, particularly cod in Eastern Canada, has been well documented.
The Dalhousie community is enriched for having known and worked with him. Dr. Myers' achievements will long be recognized by his colleagues and his many friends, the world over. The entire Dalhousie family is deeply saddened by the passing of an outstanding colleague and friend and our hearts are with his family today and in the days ahead

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Bon Voyage Dr. Ransom Myers

Dr. Ransom Myers and son, innocently walking last summer under a "Bon Voyage" sign in Cape Breton. And now, today, it is so painfully, so permantely, so tragically, so senseless........BON VOYAGE. Bon Voyage brother. Bon Voyage to a Fearless Guisus who helped changed the world. Bon Voyage to a man who loved with a loved that was more than love.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Visits with Ram

"Hi Ram, I really love each of our visits. I may not be learning new science but with each visit I am learning more and more of what makes you such a fantastic person. Even without the use of words, you have this ability to communicate and make people feel so important and loved. Your honesty and upfrontness along with your compassion and enthusiasm is so inspiring. I wish everyone could be so lucky to have met you. Thank you for everything that you have done for me- I wish I could do more for you. " Christine.

"Christine A. Ward-Paige, Ransom A. Myers, Christy Pattengill-Semmens. In Prep. Yellow Stingray in the Florida Keys.This study analyzed temporal trends of the yellow stingray in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) as recorded by trained volunteer divers using the Roving Diver Technique. Data were obtained from the REEF Fish Survey Project. A generalized linear model on presence-absence data was used to estimate the change in yellow stingray by year. Habitat type, bottom time, depth, site, water temperature, and Julian date were included in the model to standardize the data. The decline in sighting frequency has occurred in all habitat types, depths, sites, and regions of the FKNMS. Within the FKNMS yellow stingray sightings declined from 32% SF (425 sightings in 1323 surveys) in 1994 to 8.5% SF (93 sightings in 1095 surveys) in 2005, averaging ~18% decline per year. The decline has gone virtually unnoticed. This study highlights the importance of protecting marine communities for the preservation of fishery resources and shows the importance of recording all marine species extractions. It also demonstrates the value and application of trained volunteer divers for monitoring temporal trends and species interactions of marine communities. This work was presented at the Summer 2006 American Elasmobranch Society meeting."

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Ram in 1963

This picture was taken in 1963 in Lula, Mississippi at Ram's grandmother's house. Ram (then known as Randy) is on the left. His sister Joan is on the right. And I'm in the middle.

Saturday, March 3, 2007


"The goal of this project, headed by Ransom Myers of Dalhousie University, is to protect large sharks and their ecosystems. The aims are three-fold: to locate data and develop analysis techniques that demonstrate the magnitude of the declines in shark populations on a global scale, to effectively communicate the results, and to advance conservation action. The strategy for producing this global synthesis of data is to link existing raw data from around the world with modeling expertise and then to present the findings to the general public.Since Dr. Myers and colleagues launched the Pew Global Shark Assessment in October of 2003, we have obtained the first glimpses of what we have lost from our pelagic ecosystems. The ongoing analysis of the Myers research lab will continue to reveal the status of global shark populations and the implications for our ocean ecosystems.Drastic Declines in Shark Populations in the Gulf of MexicoIn February 2004, Baum and Myers published “Shifting baselines and the decline of pelagic sharks in the Gulf of Mexico” in Ecology Letters. This research developed a ‘scientific snapshot’ of what shark populations in the Gulf of Mexico looked like in the mid-1950s and compared these abundances with recent shark abundance data. Baum and Myers revealed that oceanic whitetip sharks have been reduced by 99%, or 150-fold in numbers (300-fold in biomass), and continue to decline (see Figure 1). Other commonly caught shark species, silky and dusky sharks, were estimated to have declined by 91 and 79%, respectively." For the rest of this article, click

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Anza Borreggo

This picture of Ram was take by Shelton and Mei Lin Harley when Ram, his wife and young children were in Anza Borreggo.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 19, 2007

Farming the Seas documentary

Dr. Ransom Myers is in the documentary film called Farming the Seas. The film was produced by Habitat Media, who produce "films and other compelling media about efforts to make a better world. Our goal is to show audiences how they, too, can take part in making change."

Steve Cowan, Director of Habitat Media, wrote Ram, "...thank you for being in our film, Farming the Seas. The documentary has been hugely popular worldwide and successful as a wake-up call, in part thanks to your landmark research and commentary in the film.¨"

To buy the film, go to

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Ram and his mother

This picture was taken the last time Ram saw his mama. Today, Valentines Day, is her birthday. She would have been 82. She would have been very proud that her son has helped make the world a better place. When she was killed, in October of 78, the future Dr. Ransom Myers was still an unmarried grad student. He had given her lots of things to worry about over the years...from climbing on top of the ice box to having a blow torch in his bedroom, from growing a beard and looking like a hippie to working as a physicist in Kuwait, from traveling a year in Africa to sailing across the Atlanta with one other person and a jar of peanut butter. She would have loved being a grandmother to Ram's five children, especially the one that likes makeup and shopping! And she would have loved Ram's wife Rita like her own daughter. But she missed the past 29 years of her life because of a careless and uncaring farmer named Mohead. She was killed, violently and suddenly, one night on Highway 1 by a cotton trailer with no lights.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Elephant Seals

Picture of Ram and me taken by Ram's wife in February 1996 in San

Simeon, California. I was amazed at the Elephant Seals along the beach. On the right is a picture of San Simeon Elephant Seals in Feb taken by As for the picture on the left, I've taken out of the picture...Ram's baby on his back, my baby in a hippie swing, and Ram's then tween daughters. Dr. Ransom Myers was in California for the International Conference in Monterey. I, Susan G Myers, was living in Bakersfield as President of Mid State Development Corp. And my brother and I ...and our families vacationed in San Simeon.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Botton Dragging "Hugely Distructive"

"You get 10,000-tons of corals for every 4,000-tons of fish, so this is a hugely distructive fishery" Ransom Myers on Bottom Dragging

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Dr. David Suzuki

"In Nova Scotia, I was grateful to be able to spend some time with renowned biologist Ransom Myers, whose work on the depletion of the planet's fish stocks sounded a warning to the world." Canadians are hungry for environmental leadership
"I want you to know that you have long been a big hero of mine," wrote David Suzuki. "Your voice and research have been absolutely crucial in the battle over the future of the seas."
For more about David Suzuki, visit his website at

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Stop Botton Dragging

During his comments to the (St. John's) Board of Trade, John Risley (Chairman of Clearwater) said most of the areas over which bottom dragging is performed is little more than gravel beds anyway and there is really nothing there to protect. In response to that statement Ransom Myers.... pretty much said it all. Myers agreed that the majority of trawling now takes place over areas that are essentially gravel beds but went on to say, "…they weren't mere gravel beds when they started.”

This picture was originally posted on the deapseas blog. The deapseas bog "gives Canadians the opportunity to express their desire for Canada to support a U.N. moratorium on dragging in the high seas."

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Day 70

It has been
70 days
since Ram suffered
a massive stroke
caused by an
Glioblastoma Brain Tumor.
We miss you Ram!

Picture taken by Susan G Myers, late August, 06, Cape Breton
Ransom Myers (RAM) was having headaches then and had already had a CAT scan that did not show anything wrong.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Lament for An Ocean

"I fought hard to get access to the tagging databases because I knew I could infer crucial information on fishing mortality and mitigation rates. However, I was not allowed access to this data, even though I was a DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) employee and was the best qualified person to do this analysis. This was extremely hard on a personal level, to fight to do your job on what was perhaps the most important issue for Newfoundland. After the collapse of the cod, I did get access to the data, and published three papers. And yes, it did show that fishing mortality was very high. But it was too late." --Dr. Ransom Myers as quoted in Lament For An Ocean: The Collapse of the Atlantic Cod Fishery by Michael Harris, 1999 edition, page 254

Friday, February 2, 2007

The First Ransom Aldrich Myers

Picture of Ram's parents taken in 1970s, prior to October 1978

RAM's father, died 4 years ago today. The following is an except from his father's obituary: "Ransom Aldrich Myers, Sr., prominent citizen and innovative planter, died Sunday, February 2,2003 at his Mississippi home. He was a graduate of Tunica County High School and Mississippi State University and served in the U.S. Army during World War II, where he fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Mr. Myers had traveled extensively throughout Europe, Australia, Asia and South America....Mr. Myers is survived by ...two daughters, Joan Fay Myers Peters of Memphis, TN, and Susan Myers Mychesky of Charlotte, NC; two sons, Abbott R. Myers of Dundee and Ransom Aldrich Myers, Jr., of Halifax, Nova Scotia."

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Fighting Against the Odds

"I remember the support we got from this man (Dr. Ransom Myers) back at the time when some of us were fighting like hell trying to save Main River from the greedy clutches of Kruger. His legacy will live on as an inspiration for those who while knowing they are fighting against the odds, refuse to surrender." Lloyd, in a comment to Sue's blog (not ME) entitled "No Man's Ransom" Sunday, January 28, 2007

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Leatherback Turtle & Ram

"Present fishing practices will eventually drive sensitive species such as sharks, some of the turtles, and other long lived species like blue fin tuna and blue marlin extinct simply because they are being caught at rates that are simply unsustainable,"
Dr. Ransom Myers
US Senate Commerce Committee

Ram with a leatherback turtle while doing fieldwork with the Canadian Sea Turtle Network in Cape Breton
Photo provided by Kathleen Martin, Executive Director,

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

My brother

Ransom Myers (RAM) always loved me, unconditionally and without judgement. My life has been better because he was my brother. The world is better for having such an innovative, creative, determined and fearless scientist. Many people, including those at Myers Lab at Dalhousis, will carry on his mission. And I will have to figure out how to carry on without my brother.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Ability to See; Courage to See

"There are people on this Earth who have the ability to see things that others can not, and the courage to say what they see. You (Ransom Myers) are one of those men." Elin Kelsey, Monterey, California

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Happier Times

No RAM doesn't look like Tom Cruise!

Photo by Eric Wynne / Herald
Real-life hero faces eternity’s curveballBy MICHAEL HARRIS

"...heroes are not nearly as plentiful as the nightly news would have you believe. They almost never look like Tom Cruise....Somewhere in a Halifax hospital a true Canadian hero is lying in bed awaiting either a miracle or the end. Just before Christmas, this 54-year-old scientist was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour and is now in critical condition. His name is Ransom Myers and chances are you have never heard of him...."

For the rest of the article, click
This column first appeared in the Ottawa Sun and was linked in this blog under "Hero of the Seas."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ram's 1st trip to Canada

Ram's first visit to Canada was a canoe trip to Algonquin Park in the summer of 1965. This picture was taken just before the boys departed from Alexandria Virginia. Ram, then known as "Randy," is the boy in the front with the ears and the glasses. The blond boy in the front is second cousin John Howie from Jackson Mississippi. In the back row from left to right are Clant Seay of Jackson Mississippi, Dr. Abbott Ferriss and his sons Will and John. At the time, the Ferrisses were living in Alexandria Virgina where Dr. Ferriss was the Asst. Study Director at the National Science Foundation and a professor of Sociology. I believe he was also working on his book, Indicators of Trends in American Education, at the time. Today, Dr. Abbott Ferris almost 92 years old and still publishing and speaking on poverty. Dr. Ferriss is our first cousin once removed. It was Dr. Ferriss who provided the previously posted picture of Ram's great grandfather, who he resembles. Dr. Ferriss was instrumental in Ram's early life because he introduced Ram to camping, Canada, and the academic life.

Monday, January 22, 2007


"Lots of us KNOW what is the right thing to do. Ram is a guy who DOES it."
Paul Falvo, Yellowknife

"I love the way you say it like it is; no butter required. No one else creates such a powerful first and last impression." Craig Purchase on Ram, DFO St. John's, Newfoundland

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Fans of Ram: Brain Cancer

Fans of Ram: Brain Cancer

Hero of the Seas

Author Michael Harris on RAM: "You hear a lot of loose talk these days about heroes.

Like saints, heroes are not nearly as plentiful as the nightly news would have you believe. They almost never look like Tom Cruise. Unlike their cartoon counterparts, they have only one precarious life.

Somewhere in a Halifax hospital a true Canadian hero is lying in bed awaiting either a miracle or the end. Just before Christmas, this 54-year-old scientist was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour and is now in critical condition. His name is Ransom Myers.

In his time, Myers was the bureaucracy's worst nightmare..."

For the rest of the article, go to Ottawa Sun: Michael Harris is the author of Lament for an Ocean, an investigation of why the cod fishery in AtlanticCanada was destroyed by political incompetence/treachery and short-sightedgreed.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

hymatsuda on RAM

A friend of RAM from Japan posted this on his blog: "This is unbelievable news to me. I met RAM at Reykjavik last June. He was very active and looked well. Two weeks ago, Boris wrote me, Ram was very tired from receiving radiation. I feel Ram's family are also very tired from nursing. His has young children. First I met Ram at Montrey probably in 1996, Ram looked for raw data of Japanese fisheries. I met him again at Esbjerg in 2000. He was very kind to me and invited me into F-MAP group. He invited me Halifax in 2002. We celebrated his 50th birthday party. Ram suceeded to get raw data of Japense longline fisheries, to analyze the data, and to publish a big result. Ram also succeeded to get his young colleagues. RAM has a strong team at Halifax for FMAP."

Friday, January 19, 2007

Dr. Jeff Hutchings on RAM

George Lilly, Ram Myers, Jeff Hutchings Department of Fisheries & Oceans, St. John’s, Newfoundland
December 1994 Photograph taken in JH’s office, commemorating our receipt of the 1993 Wilfred Templeman Publication Award for: Hutchings, J.A., Myers, R.A., and G.R. Lilly. 1993. Geographic variation in the spawning of Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua, in the Northwest Atlantic. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 50: 2457-2467.

"Ram has an uncanny ability to take disparate sets of data and bring it all together to address fundamentally important questions."

"He has highlighted the demise and declines of marine fishes and brought it to the attention of people that previously hadn't been aware of it and that was groundbreaking."

"He's been outspoken within and outside DFO," he said. "I wrote a paper in 1997 and cited a letter of reprimand he had received from his directors at DFO . saying he was not supposed to speak on certain things."

"I think Ram's contribution really will ultimately be his ability to communicate important issues about marine conservation biology to as broad an audiuence as possible. His work absolutely and quite appropriately provokes. We've needed the scientifically driven provocations by Ram to force us to look very carefully at our oceans."

--Dr. Jeff Hutchings, marine biologist, Dalhousie University, published almost 20 papers with Ram. (as quoted in article by ALISON AULD, published in Canada East, Wednesday January 17th, 2007

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Brain Cancer

The Hamilton Spectator reported today, "A Canadian scientist renowned for his groundbreaking research and blunt warnings about the extinction of marine species around the world has been hospitalized with an inoperable brain tumour. Ransom Myers, 54, a marine biologist who's been a vocal critic of Ottawa's management of Canadian fisheries, is reportedly in critical condition in hospital after being diagnosed in November 2006 with a rare form of brain cancer."

Sunday, January 7, 2007

A big difference in a short time.

Last Spring I was invited to the Biology Department at Dal to give a seminar, by a very old friend - Hal Whitehead. While there he introduced me to RAM. I had read his papers and knew of him but that was it. After my talk we sat down in his office and there was no option - the force was there to spill my cares and worries about survival of the North Atlantic right whale species. I really don't remember what exactly we talked about, but the upshot was that about a week later a draft paper arrived from RAM. I guess I had been complaining about the density of lobster gear in the US side of the Gulf of Maine especially in the summer, and what that represented in terms of gear entanglement risk. It is the chronic entanglement cases that really eat me up as I do many of the forensic right whale necropsies that have become all too common on the eastern seaboard. One of the things I have to do is recreate in my mind the likely sequelae that lead to their ultimate demise. It has become obvious that these animals, when entangled, are in excruciating pain for an average of about 6 months before they die. It is as if they were hanged over that period.

Well - RAM, Boris and others took that thought and translated it in to an elegant comparison of US and Canadian lobster fisheries and the result is a paper due out on Tuesday showing the ridiculous over capitalization of the US fishery, with some very real ways in which things could improve. I wish with all my heart that two things could happen. That we can a) fix the issues threatening the survival of the right whale species, and b) RAM has a miraculous recovery. We need him desperately.

The issues that ail the right whale are a microcosm of what ails the world. The world can survive the loss of that one species, but it can't survive the generic forces causing that loss.


Saturday, January 6, 2007

Indentify & Publicize

“We identified this problem,

publicized it,

got the front page

of the New York Times, and

that's why we're in Fortune.”

Dr Ransom Myers


Thursday, January 4, 2007

Learning Differences

For all you parents out there with a child who is a late reader...who is an eternally erroneous speller with unintelligible handwriting....know that Dr. Ransom Myers was such a child.
And yet, despite his elementary teachers predictions, Dr. Ransom Myers has generated over 100 peer reviewed scientific publications and is an influential force in the effort to prevent overfishing and extinction in the oceans.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

"It's important to speak up."

"If you know something that's important for conservation or policy,whether it's improving the lives of fishermen or saving the lives ofsharks . . . you say it clearly and carefully," Mr. Myers said in aninterview after the session."You're irresponsible not to," he said, pointing to the collapse ofthe northern cod stocks as a dangerous example of what happens whenpeople aren't properly informed. "There was virtually no one from theuniversities or government speaking up. It's important to speak up."