Sally Leonard Richardson
Sally Leonard Richardson passed away unexpectedly on May 15, 1986, while on her way to the Tenth Annual Larval Fish Conference in Miami. She was a dedicated and accomplished woman, and a resourceful student of the ontogeny of fishes, principally the study of larval fish form and its application to the understanding of fish phylogeny. Sally obtained her Ph.D. from the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences in 1971 for her work on the early life history of bothids. From 1971-1979 she was on the faculty of the School of Oceanography at Oregon State University, where she concentrated her efforts on ichthyoplankton ecology and the use of ontogenetic characters in elucidating systematic relationships of fishes. Her publications established her as a leader in these fields.
From 1979-1985, Sally was Associate Ichthyologist at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, Ocean Springs, MS, where she continued her innovative early life history studies in the Gulf of Mexico. In March 1985 she became a Visiting Scholar at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, where, in less than one year, she transformed a collection of over 90,000 unsorted larval fishes into a major archival collection. Although Sally’s early papers were extremely descriptive, her work grew to include an increasingly more prominent phylogenetic aspect. In fact, the paper she was due to present in Miami combined larval descriptions with classical systematics.
Sally was a dedicated scientist and will be remembered for the outstanding contributions she made to the early life history studies of fishes. In recognition of Sally’s efforts, the Planning Committee of the Tenth Larval Fish Conference in Miami dedicated the Tenth Annual Conference in memory of Sally, and established the Sally Leonard Richardson Award for the best paper presented at the Conference. To recognize Sally’s strong involvement in stimulating students, in 1988 the Early Life History Section further specified that the award would be given to recognize the best student paper presented at the annual Larval Fish Conference.