Once again, I have the sad duty to pass on news that another polychaete
biologist has passed away. Mr. R. Eugene Ruff died on 26 Nov 2017 at his
home in Puyallup, Washington, at the age of 70 after a lengthy battle with
Gene served as a polychaete taxonomic expert on numerous projects. From
1971 to 1984, he worked as a taxonomist, laboratory manager, and field
leader for Dr. Drew Carey, Oregon State University, as part of his offshore
deep-water and Arctic survey programs. In 1984, Gene was recruited to join
our benthic team at Battelle (Massachusetts) to help identify the
overwhelming number of polychaetes being collected as part of our offshore
surveys. Following the end of these projects, he left Battelle in 1990 and
established his own consulting business in Puyallup, Washington where he
worked as a taxonomic consultant until his recent death.
Over the past 25 years, Gene was routinely a member of numerous taxonomic
teams and helped our group in Woods Hole identify polychaetes from the NE
US, off northern California, the Gulf of Mexico, and SE Asia. He was a
long-time polychaete expert for the State of Washington’s Benthic
Monitoring Program in the Puget Sound.
Gene authored or co-authored several papers including the chapter on
Polynoidae in the California Taxonomic Atlas project; he was my co-author
for the polychaete chapter in the most recent edition of Light’s Manual
(2007). He attended at least three International Polychaete Conferences:
Copenhagen, Denmark (1986); Long Beach, CA (1989); and Angers, France
Gene was meticulous and careful with his observations and identifications
and typically prepared detailed notes to support his conclusions. He was
one of the kindest and most considerate friends one could have. His many
friends and colleagues will miss him.
Jim Blake, 04 Dec 2017
James A. Blake, Ph.D.
Aquatic Research & Consulting
24 Hitty Tom Road
Duxbury, MA 02332
E-Mail: jablake9 from gmail.com