Malcolm Clarke was a leading authority on cephalopods and their significance in the world oceans. Much of his knowledge of their abundance was gained through a study of their beaks from the stomachs of predators, particularly sperm whales. He had a lifelong enthusiasm for sperm whales (and for other cetaceans), leading him to reappraise their buoyancy control. Postgraduate experience as a whaling inspector in the Antarctic led to his joining the National Institute of oceanography in 1958 to work on oceanic squids. In 1972 he moved to the Marine Biological association’s Plymouth laboratory, where he was elected FRS in 1981 and was awarded a Special Merit promotion. He remained there until retirement in 1987, during which time he set up the Cephalopod International Advisory Council (CIAC). After retirement he travelled widely and continued his research on whales and squids, based first at home in Plymouth and later at his house in Pico, in the Azores.
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