Gretchen's message for the 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.
Please see the links below for media reports from around the world, describing Ram's life and work on the event of his death. Also, please listen to an interview in which Ram expresses - as only he could - how he felt about that state of our oceans, describes sea turtles "as big as Volkswagens", and how and why he changed the world.