Leatherwood, Stephen 1943-1997

views updated

Leatherwood, Stephen 1943-1997

(James Stephen Leatherwood, Steve Leatherwood)


Born October 12, 1943, in Ozark, AL; died January, 1997; son of Aubrey Leon (an insurance executive) and Lillian Kathleen (a real estate broker) Leatherwood; married Melinda Weishaar, March 20, 1965 (divorced, 1974); children: Stephen Keith, Shannon Kathleen. Education: California State University— Northridge, B.S., 1966; graduate study at San Diego State University, 1969-76; Texas A&M University, Ph.D., 1994. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Protestant.


Writer, scientist, marine biologist, researcher, and educator. Teacher of mathematics and English and coach of football, soccer, and track at a military academy in Miami, FL, 1967; U.S. Navy marine mammal research unit, San Diego, CA, began as administrative assistant, became administrative officer in San Diego and at Point Mugu, 1968-70; Naval Oceans Systems Center, San Diego, research biologist in biomedical division, 1970-78; National Marine Fisheries Service, National Marine Mammal Laboratory, Seattle, WA, coordinator of Arctic Whale Research Task, 1978; Hubbs Sea World Research Institute, San Diego, research scientist in San Diego and institute manager in Orlando, FL, 1979-81; Hubbs Marine Research Center, San Diego, senior staff scientist at Sea World Research Institute, 1982-88; United Nations Environment Program, Nairobi, Kenya, acting secretary of Marine Mammal Action Plan, 1989; International Union for the Conservation of Nature, cetacean specialist group, La Jolla, CA, deputy chairperson, 1990, chairperson in Hong Kong, 1991-97. Oceans Unlimited, director, 1989; Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, director, 1993-97; Ocean Park Corp., director of veterinary and education department, 1994-97; Center for Research on Indian Ocean Marine Mammals (Colombo, Sri Lanka), director of cetacean research group; Whale Center (Oakland, CA), member of board of advisers; Terra Marine Research and Education, Inc., member of scientific advisory council; Marine Mammal Center (Sausalito, CA), member of scientific advisory board; Kid Lab, honorary member of board of directors; Mirage Dolphin Program, member of scientific advisory board for marine operations. Lecturer in oceanography and marine biology for expeditions aboard the ships World Discoverer and Society Explorer, in South America, the South Pacific, the Indian Ocean, IndoAustralia, and Antarctica; Oceanic Society, field instructor in the Bahamas, Baja California, Sri Lanka, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, the Seychelles, and East Africa; instructor at Laverne College and University of California extension. Consultant for the production of films and television documentaries, including A Whale Called Sunshine, Disney, 1972; The Great Whales, National Geographic Society, 1978; A Whale for the Killing, American Broadcasting Company, 1982; Where Have All the Dolphins Gone?, Public Broadcasting Service, 1989; and Dolphins, Whales, and Us, Columbia Broadcasting System, 1990; consultant to U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, National Fish and Wildlife Service, and International Whaling Commission. San Diego Natural History Museum, research associate.


Cetacean Society International (member of scientific advisory board and chairman of Cetacean Specialist Group), Society for Marine Mammalogy (charter member), American Society of Mammalogists, Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (institutional member), American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums, American Cetacean Society, San Diego Society of Natural History (fellow), Southeast Association of Zoos and Aquariums (chair, membership and standards committee).


(With Randall R. Reeves) The Sierra Club Handbook of Whales and Dolphins, illustrated by Larry and Valerie Foster, Sierra Books (San Francisco, CA), 1983.

(Editor, with M.L. Jones and S.L. Swartz) The Gray Whale, Eschrichtius robustus, Academic Press (Orlando, FL), 1983.

(With Randall R. Reeves) The Sea World Book of Dolphins, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1987.

(Editor, with Randall R. Reeves) The Bottlenose Dolphin: Recent Progress in Research, Academic Press (San Diego, CA), 1990.

(With Randall R. Reeves and B.S. Stewart) The Sierra Club Handbook of Seals and Sirenians, Sierra Books (San Francisco, CA), 1992.

(With T.A. Jefferson and M. Webber) Marine Mammals of the World, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 1994.

Contributor to anthologies, including Marine Mammals of Eastern North Pacific and Arctic Waters, edited by D. Haley, Pacific Search Press (Seattle, WA), 1986; Research on Dolphins, edited by M.M. Bryden and R. Harrison, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1986; and Handbook of Marine Mammals, Volume V: The First Book of Dolphins, edited by S.H. Ridgway and R.J. Harrison, Academic Press (London, England), 1994. Contributor to scientific journals and popular magazines.


Stephen Leatherwood was a marine biologist, scientist, educator, and conservation advocate who focused his work and research on cetaceans, or marine mammals such as whales, porpoises, and dolphins. The Sierra Club Handbook of Whales and Dolphins, by Leatherwood and Randall R. Reeves, covers more than seventy-five species of dolphins, whales, and porpoises. The book provides detailed information on topics such as physical characteristics and distinctive features, history, population distribution, and current status. Profusely illustrated with photographs and paintings, "what sets this book apart is its clear design as an identification guide," commented Susan Klimley in Library Journal. Many of the photographs show the animals in natural situations, Klimley noted, and the text helps clarify characteristics of animals that could easily be confused with others or misidentified. School Library Journal reviewer John Offen called the book a "fine introduction to the subject" of large marine mammals.

The Gray Whale, Eschrichtius robustus, edited by Leatherwood, M.L. Jones, and S.L. Swartz, collects diverse research results from twenty-five scientific studies of gray whales conducted by nearly forty researchers from around the world. The gray whale is now seen only in the waters of the North Pacific, but its fossilized remains have been found in Europe and along the eastern coast of the United States. The first section of the book, "Evolution, Fossils, and Subfossil Remains," reports on findings of gray whale bones on western North Atlantic beaches between Long Island and Florida. In the second section, "Historical Relationships and Exploitation," the researchers present studies of aboriginal, old-style, and modern fisheries that rely on harvesting the gray whale. Two reports, covering aboriginal whaling in Siberia and early Japanese whaling, "summarize information from published and unpublished sources that are otherwise practically inaccessible to Western researchers," noted Dale W. Rice in Science. Section three, "Demography, Distribution, and Migration," addresses these topics in terms of the known gray whale population in the North Pacific. The last section of the book, "Biology and Behavior," includes "studies on age, growth, reproduction, stomach contents, and parasites of gray whales killed in the Siberian subsistence fishery," Rice reported, as well as material on new field study techniques and associated technologies. "The phenomenal upsurge in marine mammal research during the past decade is well exemplified by this volume that treats one of the most intensively studied species of great whale," observed Rice.



Library Journal, November 15, 1983, Susan Klimley, review of The Sierra Club Handbook of Whales and Dolphins, p. 2152.

School Library Journal, March, 1984, John Offen, review of The Sierra Club Handbook of Whales and Dolphins, p. 180.

Science, March 8, 1985, Dale W. Rice, review of The Gray Whale, Eschrichtius robustus, p. 1219.

Sunset, December, 1983, review of The Sierra Club Handbook of Whales and Dolphins, p. 20.


Whales Alive!,http://csiwhalesalive.org/ (April, 1997), Alison Smith, profile of Stephen Leatherwood.