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Isabel Pérez Farfante (1916–2009)


Ray Bauer (email a professor of biology at the University of Louisiana, reports: I am very sorry to report that a valued colleague and good friend, Isabel Canet, who published under the name Isabel Pérez Farfante, passed away last night [August 20, 2009] at the age of 93, at her home in Key Biscayne, Florida, surrounded by family.


Born in Cuba, Isabel was a truly great scientist and carcinologist.  She received her doctorate from Radcliffe College in the USA and went on to a prominent career as professor and marine biologist in Cuba.  She fled to the USA after the Castro revolution and became established with the National Marine Fisheries Service branch at the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution) with a laboratory in the Division of Crustacea.


Isabel is best known for her many publications on the systematics and reproductive morphology of penaeid shrimp.  She, with Brian Kensley, published Penaeoid and Sergestoid Shrimps and Prawns of the World in 1997, a most important and useful monograph on the systematics of dendrobranchiate shrimp.


Isabel was a wonderful, charming and extremely interesting person whose knowledge and personality will be sorely missed.


Information: Raymond T. Bauer, Professor of Biology, Department of Biology, University of Louisiana, Lafayette, Louisiana 70504-2451, USA (email, phone 1-337-482-6435, fax 1-337-482-5834).


Kevin Zelnio at the Smithsonian Institution reports: As a taxonomist and marine biologist, it is very hard to lose “one of us”.  There are not many around and each loss is a shock to the system.  The loss of Isabel Farfante is a huge loss for crustacean taxonomy.  I’ve never met her, but I’ve read many of her papers and monographs.  Her work was thorough and very useful to more people than she probably knows.  She was professor and researcher at the University of Havana; director of the Cuban Centro de Investigaciones Pesqueras; and associate in Invertebrate Zoology, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University.  She has authored zoology textbooks, and numerous papers on the systematics of penaeoid shrimps, most notably landmark studies of the genus Penaeus.


Sources: 1. Crust-L, an email-based mailing list for crustacean scientists (To subscribe, send an email to LISTPROC@VIMS.EDU.  In the body of the email, put SUBSCRIBE CRUST-L).  Subject: [CRUST-L:4428] Isabel Canet (Pérez Farfante).  From: Dr. Raymond T. Bauer (email  August 21, 2009.  2.  Isabel Farfante 1916-2009.  Kevin Zelnio.  August 2009.

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