Fish researchers to memorialize longtime professor

November 1, 2012 8:30 AM

New Wave staff

The latest fish research is on the docket for discussion when members of the Southeastern Fishes Council hold their annual meeting in New Orleans on Nov. 8 and 9, but the group has another agenda item as well: to remember and honor the council’s founder, the late Tulane University professor Royal D. Suttkus.

Professor Royal D. Suttkus

The late Royal D. Suttkus was a faculty member at Tulane for four decades. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

Suttkus, who died in 2009, taught at Tulane from 1950 until 1990 in zoology. He is known for building the largest collection of post-larval fishes in the world, now named the Royal D. Suttkus Fish Collection at Tulane.

“During his career, he described 40 species of fish as new to science, most of them from the southeastern U.S.,” says Henry L. “Hank” Bart Jr., professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Tulane.

Bart is now the curator of the Suttkus collection, housed at the F. Edward Hebert Research Center in Belle Chaase, La., and part of the Tulane University Biodiversity Research Institute, which Bart also heads.

On Saturday, Nov. 10, members of the council and friends of Suttkus from the Tulane community will gather at the Hebert Center for a memorial celebration.

“The event is the first opportunity the Tulane community has had to pay final respects to Dr. Suttkus,” Bart says.

During the memorial event, participants will be planting trees on the grounds of the Hebert Center in Suttkus’ honor. A tour of the fish collection and lunch on the grounds will follow.

Read here for information about registration for the event.

A Suttkus Memorial Fund is being established, Bart says, “which we hope will achieve endowment status ($10,000 or more) by the end of the year. We plan to use this for the long-term care of the Royal D. Suttkus Fish Collection.” For additional information, see details on the fund here or email Bart.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu