Meredith L. Jones

Stephen L. Gardiner sgardine at brynmawr.edu
Fri Mar 22 08:34:58 EST 1996


        As I believe all of you know by now, Meredith Jones passed away
earlier this month. Over the years, I had the privelege of working closely
with him on a number of projects involving the vestimentiferans,
culminating in a chapter on that group in volume 12 of the series on the
Microscopic Anatomy of Invertebrates. With his passing, the "World of
Invertebrates" has truly lost a great contributor, and I have lost a dear
mentor and friend.
        Meredith's wife, Gerry, asked me to write a biographical sketch of
Meredith's professional activities. I was honored that she would trust me
with such an important project. I offer my effort below for all of you who
knew, or knew of, Meredith's studies and other professional activities. I
hope you will find it of interest.

        Steve Gardiner

***************************************

Meredith L. Jones
1926 - 1996

        Meredith L. Jones received his undergraduate and graduate training
at the University of California at Berkeley, culminating with the Ph.D.
degree in 1956. His doctoral work, under the direction of Professor Cadet
Hand and entitled, "A quantitative evaluation of the benthic fauna off
Point Richmond, San Francisco Bay, California", was a pioneering study that
examined the spatial and temporal distribution of benthic marine
invertebrates. This study was published in its near entirety in 1961 and
remains as a model for the examination of benthic diversity in the world's
oceans. Upon completing his Ph.D. degree, he was Acting Instructor,
Department of Zoology, University of California, Berkeley for one year and
was Research Associate, Oceanographic Institute, Florida State University
from 1957 to 1960. He was Assistant Curator, American Museum of Natural
History, New York from 1960 to 1964, after which he joined the staff of the
National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Smithsonian Institution,
Washington, D.C. At the NMNH he rose through the positions of Assistant and
Associate Curator to the position of Curator in 1968 and remained with the
NMNH until his retirement in 1989.
        His professional activities, among many, included the teaching of
summer courses at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole,
Massachusetts (1966-1968), acting as symposium convenor for "The Panamic
Biota: Some Observations Prior to a Sea Level Canal" (1971-1972), acting as
project supervisor for a contract with the Bureau of Land
Management/Mineral Management Service, Department of Interior, "Archival of
Voucher and Other Specimens from BLM/MMS Outer Continental Shelf Programs"
(1979-1989), and acting as symposium convenor for "The Hydrothermal Vents
of the Eastern Pacific: An Overview" (1983-1985).
        During the 1970s, he was an active participant in the debate on how
a sea-level canal would affect the shallow-water faunal assemblages of
Panama. He offered testimony to several Congressional committees,
especially noting the paucity of knowledge of the shallow-water faunal
assemblages on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Panama. To address
this concern, he obtained funding, organized and led several expeditions to
Panama. The material collected on these expeditions remains as the
definitive baseline data set of the shallow-water marine invertebrates of
Panama.
        As Curator at the NMNH, he actively pursued all opportunities to
add to the collections of the Museum. In addition to Panama, he traveled to
Cuba, Bermuda and a variety of other Caribbean localities to collect
benthic invertebrates, bringing back large numbers of specimens to add to
the collections of the NMNH. His direction of the project with the Bureau
of Land Management/Mineral Management Service resulted in the addition of
hundreds of thousands of lots of benthic marine invertebrates to the
Museum's collections, assuring that future generations of scientists will
have specimens to assist in the evaluation of marine biodiversity in
regions of the eastern Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Beginning in
1979, and lasting until his retirement, he turned his attentions to a small
group of benthic marine worms (vestimentiferans) that live in association
with deep-sea hydrothermal vents and deep-sea hydrocarbon seep ecosystems.
Through personal collecting and by encouraging the donation of specimens
from other scientists,  he assembled the largest and most diverse
collection of vestimentiferan worms and other vent and seep related species
in any museum in the world.
        His research interests varied throughout his distinguished career,
but regardless of the topic he remained committed to the ideal of the
"dissemination of knowledge." To that end, he published in excess of 85
papers and abstracts in books and professionally refereed journals. These
contributions were broad ranging in their coverage, including studies of
biodiversity, studies of various physical parameters of the oceans and
their effects on the organisms living there, experiments utilizing
electrophoresis as a methodology to help determine evolutionary
relationships of a variety of marine invertebrate groups, taxonomy of
several marine invertebrate groups (polychaetous annelids, crustaceans and
vestimentiferans), and finally, investigations using light and electron
microscopes to elucidate the morphology of marine invertebrates. The
significance of his published studies can be further appreciated by the
fact that authors of other professional papers cited results and/or
insights from his investigations in excess of 500 times by 1989.
        Immediately prior to his death, he was actively involved in the
description of a new species of vestimentiferan recently discovered in a
hydrocarbon seep community in the Gulf of Mexico. His unique insights on
this new vestimentiferan will be published in the near future. His legacy,
however, includes not only this work and his many published studies but
also the undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students he helped to
train and the worldwide community of colleagues whose work was enriched
through interactions with him throughout his career.

*****************************************


Stephen L. Gardiner
Dept. of Biology
Bryn Mawr College
101 N. Merion Ave.
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
phone: (610) 526-5094
FAX: (610) 526-5086





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