R. Aidan MartinIt’s never easy to lose a friend or a loved one. But in this case, not only do we lose our friend, but we lose an incredibly talented and passionate marine biologist and conservationist who dedicated his life to teaching others about the magnificence of sharks and rays and the importance of protecting them.

Aidan (aka Rick) passed away suddenly in his home in Vancouver on February 13. We were shocked and saddened by the news and feel a deep loss as Aidan was a recent, but important part of the MarineBio family. He signed onto our Board of Advisors as Director of Elasmobranchs in late November 2006 and we were thrilled to have such a talented scientist with a passion for conservation on board. Aidan was an eloquent and entertaining writer, with a seemingly endless knowledge of elasmobranchs. In his short time with us he contributed generously to improving the shark content on MarineBio. We were very lucky to have someone who really believed in what we’re doing and who was willing to give of his time when he was so incredibly busy with his other projects. We looked forward to working with Aidan on developing the best shark biology content on the web, and were particularly looking forward to diving with him and his beloved sharks in the Bahamas in December ’07. Unfortunately, we never had the opportunity to meet Aidan in person, though we developed a quick and easy friendship with him. His sense of humor, integrity and humility, and passion for everything he did shone through every email we exchanged. He was an absolute joy to work with and we knew right away that we had met a kindred spirit.

Aidan was the Director of the Reefquest Center for Shark Research, a research associate in the zoology department of the University of British Columbia, an adjunct professor at the Oceanographic Center of Nova Southeastern University, and he hosted expeditions and field classes on shark biology. He is the author of the Field Guide to the Great White Shark and was working on a book about shark behavior for Cambridge University Press commissioned by MarineBio board member Martin Griffiths. I had the privilege of reviewing several chapters of the book and was blown away by Aidan’s ability to make the fascinating biology of sharks informative for biologists and accessible to the layperson.

We extend our deepest sympathies to Aidan’s family, especially to Anne, Aidan’s wife and Reefquest partner, and to Aidan’s friends and colleagues. He inspired us all and will continue inspiring us to teach people about sharks and rays and to continue his work advocating for shark conservation.

Aidan will be missed by the MarineBio family, but we will work very hard to remember him by ensuring that sharks and rays get the recognition they deserve and protection they need.