Ruth Turner

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ruth Dixon Turner
Ruth Turner and Colleen Cavanaugh dissecting clams from the deep sea
BornDecember 7, 1914
Melrose, Massachusetts
DiedApril 30, 2000
Waltham, Massachusetts
Alma materHarvard University
Scientific career
InstitutionsMuseum of Comparative Zoology

Ruth Dixon Turner (1914 – April 30, 2000) was a pioneering U.S. marine biologist and malacologist. She was the world's expert on Teredinidae or shipworms, a taxonomic family of wood-boring bivalve mollusks which severely damage wooden marine installations.

Turner held the Alexander Agassiz Professorship at Harvard University, and was a Curator of Malacology in the university's Museum of Comparative Zoology, where she also served as co-editor of the scientific journal Johnsonia. She graduated from Bridgewater State College, earned a master's degree at Cornell University and a Ph.D. at Harvard (Radcliffe College) where she specialized in shipworm research.[1][2]

Turner became one of Harvard's first tenured women professors in 1973, and was one of the most academically successful female marine researchers, publishing over 200 scientific articles and a book during her long career. She was also the first female scientist to use the deep ocean research submarine Alvin.[3] Much of Turner's work was done in co-operation with William J. Clench. Among other things they jointly described about 70 new mollusk species.[4]

Organisms named in honor of Turner include two symbiotic bacteria associated with bivalves: Teredinibacter turnerae (isolated from the shipworm Lyrodus pedicellatus),[5] and Candidatus Ruthia magnifica (from the deep-sea bivalve Calyptogena magnifica).[6]


  1. ^ "Ruth Dixon Turner, professor of biology, dies". Harvard Gazette. 2000-05-04. Retrieved 2017-10-13.
  2. ^ "Ruth D. Turner; Professor Was Expert on Shipworms". Los Angeles Times. 2000-05-10. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-10-13.
  3. ^ "Ruth Turner". Retrieved 2009-10-16.
  4. ^ Johnson, Richard I. (2003). "Bibliography of Turner's and Clench's contributions to lists of new mollusk species". Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology. 158: 1–46. doi:10.3099/0027-4100(2003)158[1:MTABOW]2.0.CO;2. S2CID 86033546.
  5. ^ Distel, Daniel L.; Morrill, Wendy; MacLaren-Toussaint, Noelle; Franks, Dianna; Waterbury, John (November 2002). "Teredinibacter turnerae gen. nov., sp. nov., a dinitrogen-fixing, cellulolytic, endosymbiotic gamma-proteobacterium isolated from the gills of wood-boring molluscs (Bivalvia: Teredinidae)". International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. 52 (Pt 6): 2261–2269. doi:10.1099/00207713-52-6-2261. ISSN 1466-5026. PMID 12508896.
  6. ^ Roeselers, Guus; Newton, Irene L. G.; Woyke, Tanja; Auchtung, Thomas A.; Dilly, Geoffrey F.; Dutton, Rachel J.; Fisher, Meredith C.; Fontanez, Kristina M.; Lau, Evan (2010-10-31). "Complete genome sequence of Candidatus Ruthia magnifica". Standards in Genomic Sciences. 3 (2): 163–73. doi:10.4056/sigs.1103048. ISSN 1944-3277. PMC 3035367. PMID 21304746.

External links[edit]