SARASOTA, FL — Eugenie Clark, a pioneering marine biologist who spent her career working tirelessly to change public perception about sharks and preserve marine environments around the world — was immortalized today on a Forever stamp.
The dedication occurred at the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, which Clark helped found as the Cape Haze Marine Laboratory in 1955.
“One of the goals of the Postal Service’s stamp program is to celebrate the people who represent the best of our nation, and Eugenie Clark — I should say Dr. Clark or the ‘Shark Lady’ — certainly deserves this recognition,” said Angela H. Curtis, the Postal Service’s vice president of delivery operations and dedicating official. “She was a brilliant scientist whose groundbreaking work added to our understanding of sharks and marine environments.”
A prolific scientist animated by an unyielding sense of curiosity, Clark (1922-2015) carried out groundbreaking experiments and more than 200 expeditions across the globe. She demonstrated that lemon sharks could be trained to do complex tasks, disproved the notion that some shark species must keep swimming to survive, and debunked myths about sharks as vicious, fearsome creatures.
Clark was a pioneer in the era when scuba emerged as a research tool and later took more than 70 trips in high-tech submersibles, sometimes as deep as 12,000 feet beneath the ocean surface — something that has still been done by only a small number of other marine biologists.
“Our family is thrilled to see Dr. Clark, or as we call her, Grandma Genie, recognized and honored on a stamp. Her work as an ichthyologist was groundbreaking for proving that sharks are intelligent, and she was a pioneer for female scientists, researchers and scuba divers. We are so proud of her legacy as an Asian-American woman, teacher, scientist — and most importantly — grandmother,” said Aya Konstantinou, Clark’s daughter.
For her contributions to marine science, she received the Franklin L. Burr Award from the National Geographic Society, the Explorers Club Medal, and the Medal of Excellence from the American Society of Oceanographers, among numerous other recognitions. In 2015, she was honored posthumously by the U.S. Congress. In 2018, a newly discovered species of dogfish shark found in the Gulf of Mexico was named Squalus clarkae in her honor.
The stamp art features a digital collage created by multidisciplinary artist Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya. Her design includes a photograph of Clark taken by David Doubilet, as well as a photograph of a lemon shark taken by Reinhard Dirscherl. Wavy blue elements in the stamp’s background evoke an undersea scene.
The Eugenie Clark Forever stamp is being sold in panes of 20 stamps. News of the Eugenie Clark stamps is being shared with the hashtag #EugenieClarkStamp.