Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Profile: Tom Carefoot, Marine Biologist

 Tom Carefoot, diving at Turneffe Island, Belize

Adding new material to the marine invertebrate sections on E-Fauna BC gained momentum last year when Tom Carefoot lent his expertise to E-Fauna and began to send in species introductions. He started with an introduction to the Zebra Sea Hare (Phyllaplysia taylori)--a lightly striped, mostly green, sea snail that grazes on common eelgrass Zostera marina. Since that introduction, Tom has contributed dozens of introductions to marine invertebrates on E-Fauna, ranging from the Dog Whelk  (Nucella ostrina) to the Southern Sea Slater (Ligia occidentalis).

Tom is a retired zoology professor from the University of British Columbia where he spent 35 years teaching the biology of invertebrates as well as researching sea hares and the physiological ecology of oniscid isopods (woodlice or sowbugs). Tom is well-versed on invertebrate marine life both on the Pacific Coast and also in the Caribbean, and has written 2 books on marine ecology and is the author of more than 90 research papers.

Of his teaching career, Tom says: "My teaching involved two courses on the biology of invertebrates, one given several times a week to a class of 300 students. The courses required many field trips to the west coast over the years, and in total I did over a thousand SCUBA dives at local sites. In lectures, I used photographs, videos, and other projection material, complemented during later years with extensive computer-based teaching aids that we developed with financial aid from a series of “Teaching, Learning, and Enhancement” awards from the University. Later in my career the University honoured me with a Master Teaching Award, which always seemed humorous to me because most of the time I joked that the administration would instead be better off giving out scads of  'Master Learning Awards'."

Recently, Tom has produced an interesting and comprehensive educational website on west coast marine invertebrates called A Snail's Odyssey.  This is a detail-rich web site that summarizes research findings on west-coast marine invertebrate species, and covers just about everything.   He says this "will keep me busy essentially forever".  Tom is also preparing a second web site on Caribbean coral reefs, called the Biology of Caribbean Coral Reefs.  For this he is assembling his large collection of underwater tropical photos and videos--it is a work-in-progress.

Tom's level of expertise and exceptional knowledge of marine species ecology have resulted in some great introduction notes for BC species.  They are well worth a read.  To find Tom's notes, go to our comprehensive search feature at the bottom of the E-Fauna BC home page and search for his name.

Here are a few of Tom's photos:

Zebra Sea Hare (Phyllaplysia taylori)

 California Beach Hopper (Megalorchestia californiana)

 Opalascent Nudibranch (Hermissenda crassicornis)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.