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Up All Night

November 13, 2014

Up All Night

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Madeleine Thompson Madeleine Thompson

Members of WCS’s Department of Tropical Research, led by William Beebe between the 1920s and 1960s, were expert party-thrower – and photos of their apparently rum-soaked, heavily costumed affairs may turn up on this blog from time to time! But they were also diligent scientists who devoted long hours during their ecological expeditions to the hard work of studying animals in the wild, as this lovely late night 1937 snapshot of Jocelyn Crane shows.

Crane, like her colleague Gloria Hollister, began her career with ocean exploration, but she quickly broadened her interests. Her research ranged from the mammals of Kurdistan to jumping spiders in Venezuela. By the early 1940s, she had begun to concentrate her investigations on the genus Uca, exploring the morphology, taxonomy, and behavior of a small but fascinating creature: the fiddler crab. It would define her career.

In 1954, as an early recipient of funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation, she traveled through Asia conducting fiddler-crab research that led two decades later to her monumental “Fiddler Crabs of the World” (Princeton University Press, 1975), the pre-eminent study of the genus Uca.

Original caption on photo: Jocelyn Crane works til dark, Manzanillo, Mexico, November 22, 1937.

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