Malcolm Alexander Ramsay (1949-2000)

François Messier

Abstract


Dr. Malcolm A. Ramsay, a dedicated evolutionary ecologist and naturalist, died at the age of 51 in a helicopter accident on the 21st May, 2000. He and a close colleague, Dr. Stuart Innes, were returning to the research station of Resolute ... after a successful day of tagging polar bears. ... They experienced a helicopter crash over the pack ice close to Lowther Island. Both researchers were killed instantly, leaving the pilot as the only survivor. Malcolm had a passion for the process of evolution, as championed by Charles Darwin and William D. Hamilton. He viewed natural selection as the ultimate force that shapes the structure and function of animals. His research on the eco-physiology of polar bears had an international reputation. His interests, however, covered an amazing array of questions about natural selection and adaptations of organisms. ... Malcolm is best known for his impressive research on polar bears. ... He and four of his students ... contributed significantly to our understanding of lactation, hibernation, fasting, body composition, eco-toxicology, and anaesthesiology of polar bears in their natural environment. ... Malcolm advocated a very liberal way of teaching, a professorial style that forced students to think about, rather than memorize, biological facts. ... His rather humble and easy going attitude was well reflected in his characteristic hair style! I consider it an honour to have been Malcolm's colleague and friend. ...

Keywords


Scientists; Ecology; Polar bears; Marine mammals; Research; Biographies; Innes, H. Stuart, 1953-2000; Canadian Arctic

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14430/arctic863