Daniel Pauly is a French-born marine biologist known for his work in studying human impacts on global fisheries. Pauly grew up in Switzerland as a live-in servant until he ran away when he was 16 to put himself through school. His work at his high school and working with disabled people for a local institution led to receive a scholarship to the University of Kiel in Germany. While Pauly was at the University of Kiel he decided to study fisheries biology and stayed at Kiel University to complete his bachelor, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees. Pauly completed his degrees under the advisement of Gotthilf Hempel and studied the ecology of a small West African lagoon to establish relationships between the surface area of gills and the growth of fishes and aquatic (gill-breathing) invertebrates.
Pauly wanted to work in the tropics while devoting his life to applying his research so he could fishers, so he moved to the Philippines to work at the International Center for Living and Aquatic Resources Management. He stayed here for 15 years when he worked in the tropics and developed new techniques for estimating fish populations. Pauly helped create FishBase, which is an online encyclopedia comprised of information and data for over 30,000 different fish species.
Another prominent area of Pauly’s work has been his examination of the effects of overfishing. In 1995, he developed the concept of shifting baselines and authored the seminal paper, “Fishing Down Marine Food Webs” in 1998. In 2003 he was labeled as an “iconoclaust” by the New York Times and earned a place in the “Scientific American 50”. Throughout his career he’s won various other prizes, medals, and awards for his work. To date, Pauly has written multiple books and over 500 scientific papers. Image: public domain