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Jack Rudloe

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Jack Rudloe
Jack Rudloe, founder of Gulf Specimen Marine (Photo Dec 27, 2018)
Born (1943-02-17) February 17, 1943 (age 81)
Known forCo-founder of Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory
(m. 1971; died 2012)
Scientific career
FieldsNaturalist, Writer
Jack Rudloe (72) wearing his trademark blue suit for the release of a rehabilitated Kemp's ridley sea turtle

Jack Rudloe is a writer, naturalist, and environmental activist from Panacea, Florida, United States, who co-founded Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory.

Jack Rudloe collecting at low tide.
External videos
video icon Jack and Anne Rudloe coastal tour, St. Joseph Bay, AMM1539
video icon The Estuary of Panacea, Gulf Specimen Aquarium


Jack Rudloe was born in Brooklyn, New York on February 17, 1943. At age 14, he moved to Carrabelle, Florida. His first work, "Experiments With Sensitive Plants, Cassia Nictitans", was published in Scientific American while he was attending Tallahassee's Leon High School. He later enrolled in Florida State University, but left after only two months.[1][2] According to Rudloe's first book, The Sea Brings Forth, he was asked to leave FSU by the dean, who had decided Rudloe was not college material and advised that he should consider a trade instead.[3] In spite of his premature departure from FSU, Rudloe was hired by marine biologist Dexter M. Easton of Harvard University to collect striped burrfish and bat fish. This launched his independent career as a writer and specimen collector.[4] He was mentored in the early days by John Steinbeck.[5][6] He founded Gulf Specimen Marine Company in 1963. In 1971, Rudloe married marine biologist Anne Rudloe, and together they founded Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory in 1980. He has two sons, Sky and Cypress and a grandson Kai. He lives in Panacea, Florida and is semi-retired but still assists at GSML and he continues to write.[7] He is the author/coauthor of nine books, both fiction and nonfiction.

Scientific contributions[edit]

Rudloe has multiple acknowledgements from scientists about his personal contributions to and support of their research efforts in the marine science literature. Rudloe has also written numerous scientific articles, and technical publications himself.[8][9] Rudloe was involved in early efforts to establish the now successful jellyfish export industry on the East Coast of the US.[10][11][12][13][14][15] In 1968 he provided the first specimens of the bryozoan Bugula neritina used by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to develop the bryostatin family of drugs used for treatment of cancer, HIV, Alzheimer's disease and strokes.[16][17][18] He continues to work to find natural medicines from other sea organisms.[19] Rudloe provides marine specimens to scientists worldwide, including some that were the first specimen known to science, such as Chiropsella rudloei.[20][21][22][23] Rudloe has developed live culture techniques for food for captive animals otherwise considered difficult to raise in captivity including sea horses[24] and the lesser electric ray (Narcine brasiliensis)[25]

Environmental activism[edit]

Rudloe is noted for two particular areas of effort in environmentalism. He was a strong proponent and advocate of turtle exclusion devices and his work is widely cited in efforts to introduce and later to enforce their use[26] and his interest in general sea turtle welfare which were the subject of two of his books.[27] Whenever a sea turtle rehabilitated at GSML is released back to the wild he is well known for arriving in sea blue suit which he wears into the water for the release.[28] Working with his wife, he has also been credited with directly saving 35,000 acres of wetlands in the Florida Panhandle and the Florida Big Bend region through government lobbying[29] appearances at public meetings and on television and radio broadcasts, about marine wetlands.[30][31][32][33][34] He also wrote about shrimp and their contributions to the economy and to the environment.[35] During the Deepwater Horizon oil spill Rudloe began a project to try to protect ocean invertebrates from contamination.[36] He published numerous popular articles on environmental topics including several in Sports Illustrated, National Geographic and Audubon.[37] Rudloe opposed Florida's commercial net fishing ban because he was concerned about the impact on small town fisheries and fishermen placing him at odds with many large environmental groups.[1] He has been raising awareness of the issue of plastic and waste dumping into the ocean since at least 1992.[38]


Rudloe began his career as an environmental activist at age 8 by biting the leg of a camp counsellor who was about to kill a turtle with a sledge hammer.[39] His style of "high drama" and "lampooning"[40] to promote environmental causes has not always endeared him to either the environmental movement or politicians.[41] In 1972 Rudloe sued financier Edward Ball to try to force him to remove a fence across the Wakulla River, lost and was almost bankrupted by the resulting legal costs. A Wakulla News editorial called him "a nut" and "an extremist" in 1978.[39] An owner of a local business has also called him "a nut".[36] In 1988 he sued the Wakulla County Commissioner over alleged environmental damage caused by the building of a marina approved by the county and being built by the commissioner's brother. The county then resurrected a previously dropped legal battle from 1975 over his aquarium's water intake pipeline. While at a meeting over the marina, his boat was sunk and Rudloe was sued for slander when he claimed there was a connection. He was also arrested for cruelty to animals in the same period, a charge which was dismissed.[39] In 1988 Rudloe organized a campaign to have people return their Exxon credit cards in a sealed bag of used motor oil to protest the Exxon Valdez's Prince William Sound oil spill.[42]

There has been tension between members of the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory and Rudloe. Dr. Robert Livingstone of FSU publicly stated in 1988 that he takes care not to associate with Rudloe's fights.[39] This tension reached a crescendo in 2002 with the publication of Alumni Notes by David M. Karl which included an account of persistent rumours at FSU that Rudloe had stolen a "priceless Neopilina specimen" which later appeared for sale in a Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory catalogue and that this was the reason for Rudloe's departure from FSU in his first semester in 1962. Rudloe sued both Karl and FSU for slander. The case was initially dismissed by a local judge on the basis FSU had no liability but Rudloe appealed. After winning on appeal to The District Court of Appeal, State of Florida, the matter was later settled out of court.[37][43][44] In 2015 FSU Coastal and Marine Lab donated giant sea roaches and hagfish to a "very grateful" Gulf Specimen Marine Lab to use in their aquarium for educating the public indicating the tension is resolved.[45]

Rudloe submitted an article to Sports Illustrated describing how an alligator attacked and ate his dog in 1981. The editor sent a copy to Dr. F Wayne King, Professor and curator of the University of Florida's Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville who returned a marked up copy of the article[37] with numerous objections taking particular exception to three items. Rudloe described the alligator as rearing to an upright position with front arms apart and fingers spread, he described vapour from the alligator's nostrils and how the alligator puffed up when Rudloe leaped on it and wrestled it in a vain attempt to save the dog.[37] Based on the review, the editor excoriated Rudloe as a fraud and Rudloe did not write for Sports Illustrated again. Alligators have been observed to rise up and balance on their hind legs as part of a forward or upward lunge.[46][47][48] King himself later published that it is possible to observe vapour from an alligator's nostrils and for them to puff up (although in the context of bellowing).[49] There are also observations of alligators puffing up when aggressive.[50] Rudloe eventually published the account in Audubon (1982) and Reader's Digest (1983).[37][51][52]

In August 2016, Rudloe was removed by security for refusing to yield the microphone in a meeting of the Wakulla County, Florida Commissioners when they voted to adjourn instead of voting on a resolution opposing the permit for Foley Cellulose Mill's effluent pipeline extension project.[53]


  • 2015 Environmental Hero in Joel Sartore's National Geographic Photo Ark Exhibit Nov 4, 2015
  • 2014 Education and Outreach Environmental Law Institute National Wetlands Award (with Anne Rudloe and Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory)[54]
  • 2004 ChevronTexaco Conservation Award (with Anne Rudloe and Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory)[55]
  • 2003 Gulf Guardian Award Winners (3rd) (with Anne Rudloe and Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory)[56]
  • 2003 Governor's Community Investment Award, Partners in Prevention (with Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory)[57]

Selected works[edit]

  • Shrimp, The Endless Quest for Pink Gold (with Anne Rudloe, 2010)
  • Chicken Wars (with Anne Rudloe, 2005)
  • Potluck (fiction, 2003)
  • Search for the Great Turtle Mother (1995)
  • The Wilderness Coast (1988)
  • Time of the Turtle (1979)
  • The Living Dock at Panacea (1977)
  • The Erotic Ocean, A Handbook for Beachcombers and Marine Naturalists (1971)
  • The Sea brings Forth (1968)
  • Sea Turtles in a race for survival" National Geographic Vol 185,No2 February 1994 (with Anne Rudloe)
  • From the Jaws of Death, Canaveral Sea Turtles and the Corps of Engineers. Sports Illustrated, Vol. 54, No. 13:60-70. March 23, 1981


  1. ^ a b Boyle R Panacea For A Salty Yankee Sports Illustrated The Vault, April 20, 1970, Retrieved March 14, 2015
  2. ^ Bergstrom, B [https://articles.latimes.com/1994-08-07/news/mn-24367_1_jack-rudloe Environmental Gadfly a Solid Ally of Nature : Florida: Jack Rudloe has little patience with bureaucracy or with academia.
  3. ^ Rudloe, J, The Sea Brings Forth. Kindle Edition 2015, Location 515
  4. ^ Greenberg at.al. Gulf of Mexico Science, 2010(1–2), pp. 149–163 Evolution of the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory Archived 2015-04-02 at the Wayback Machine Gulf of Mexico Science, 2010(1–2), pp. 149–163
  5. ^ T. Manning, S. Matos, B. Addler, "Hidden Treasure: The Steinbeck-Rudloe Letters", Steinbeck Studies 16.1–2 (2005) 109–17
  6. ^ Bergstrom B Environmental Gadfly a Solid Ally of Nature : Florida: Jack Rudloe has little patience with bureaucracy or with academia. He enjoys his reputation as a political outsider and oddball outdoorsman Los Angeles Times, August 7, 1994, Retrieved March 5, 2015
  7. ^ Haloub, Bonnie. "Panacea marine lab celebrates 50 years", Tallahassee Democrat, May 12, 2014, retrieved January 30, 2015.
  8. ^ Articles by Jack and Anne Gulf SpecimenMarine Laboratory Webpage retrieved March 14, 2015
  9. ^ Jack Rudloe Bibliography Gulf SpecimenMarine Laboratory Webpage retrieved March 14, 2015
  10. ^ "Goodbye Oysters, Hello Jellyfish?". Miami Herald. 17 July 1988.
  11. ^ Morgenthaler, Eric (14 December 1992). "U.S. Has Jellyfish That Nobody Wants Except Maybe in Asia: Man With Plan in Panacea, Fla., Sees Export Opportunity In What is Usually a Bane". Wall Street Journal. pp. A1, A4.
  12. ^ "Jellyfish Alert: taking the sting out", New York Times Magazine, September, 1995.
  13. ^ Bland, Alister (31 January 2014). "Southern Fishermen Cash In On Asia's Taste For Jellyfish". NPR. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  14. ^ Hsieh, Leong, Rudloe Jellyfish as food Hydrobiologia, May 2001, Volume 451, Issue 1-3, pp 11-17
  15. ^ Hsieha & Rudloe Potential of utilizing jellyfish as food in Western countries Volume 5, Issue 7, July 1994, Pages 225–229
  16. ^ Thomas J. Manninga et al., "Identifying bryostatins and potential precursors from the bryozoan 'Bugula neritina'", Natural Product Research 19.5 (2005) 467–1
  17. ^ Halford, B. "The Bryostatins' Tale", Chemical and Engineering News 89.43, October 24, 2011, pp. 10–17
  18. ^ Manning, Thomas J.; Land, Michael; Rhodes, Emily; Chamberlin, Linda; Rudloe, Jack; Phillips, Dennis; Lam, Tukiet T.; Purcell, Jeremiah; Cooper, Helen J.; Emmett, Mark R.; Marshall, Alan G. (2005). "Identifying bryostatins and potential precursors from the bryozoanBugula neritina". Natural Product Research. 19 (5): 467–491. doi:10.1080/14786410412331280041. PMID 15938194. S2CID 44668102.
  19. ^ Manning, Thomas; Rhodes, Emily; Loftis, Richard; Phillips, Dennis; Demaria, Don; Newman, David; Rudloe, Jack (2006). "ET743: Chemical analysis of the sea squirt Ecteinascidia turbinate ecosystem". Natural Product Research. 20 (5): 461–473. doi:10.1080/14786410500462462. PMID 16644544. S2CID 37882008.
  20. ^ Chiropsella rudloei, at Wikispecies
  21. ^ Bentlage, Bastian (2013). "Description of the chirodropid box jellyfish Chiropsella rudloei sp. nov. (Cnidaria: Cubozoa) from Madagascar Marine Biodiversity Records". Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. 6: e118. doi:10.1017/S1755267213000924.
  22. ^ Bentalge, B. "A Jellyfish meets its namesake: Wetland Warrior Jack Rudloe"[permanent dead link], Department of Invertebrate Zoology News - No Bones, Washington DC, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, 20 May 2014, retrieved January 30, 2015
  23. ^ Kensley; Schotte (2002). "New species and records of Asellota from the Indian Ocean (Crustacea: Peracarida: Isopoda)". Journal of Natural History. 36 (12): 1421–1461. doi:10.1080/00222930110050401. S2CID 216092633.
  24. ^ Giwojna, P Seahorse.com Nutrition Part I: Live Foods for Adults October 1996 issue of Freshwater and Marine Aquarium magazine (FAMA)
  25. ^ Rudloe, A (1989). "Captive Maintenance of the Lesser Electric Ray, with Observations of Feeding Behavior". The Progressive Fish-Culturist. 51 (1): 1989. doi:10.1577/1548-8640(1989)051<0037:CMOTLE>2.3.CO;2.
  26. ^ Jack and Anne Rudloe, "Shrimpers and lawmakers collide over a move to save the sea turtles." Smithsonian Dec 1989
  27. ^ Anne and Jack Rudloe, "Sea Turtles. In a Race for Survival", National Geographic 185.2, February 1994, pp. 94–121
  28. ^ Portman J Spot the sea turtle slips back into the waves Tallahassee Democrat, June 2, 2015 (Retrieved June 4, 2015)
  29. ^ List of Lobbyists Journal of the Florida State Senate, Monday April 16, 1973 Retrieved March 22, 2015
  30. ^ Wyatt Blassingame, "Jack and the Dragline. One man's unwavering battle to save North Florida's Marshes", Audubon75.3, May 1973, pp. 53–59
  31. ^ Neil Maxwell, "Lonely Causes. Jack Rudloe's Crusade to Save Tidal Swamps Wins Him Few Friends. He Says Dredging Projects Will ruin Florida Coast: An Altruist or a 'Nut'?", Wall Street Journal, Vol. CLXXXIII No. 22, January 31, 1974.
  32. ^ "Jack and Anne Rudloe reach millions to save Florida wetlands", Wetlands Warriors 2005, p. 2
  33. ^ L. Willoughby, Flowing Through Time: A History of the Lower Chattahoochee River, University of Alabama Press, 1999, p. 183
  34. ^ E. Whitney, D. B. Means, A. Rudloe, Priceless Florida: Natural Ecosystems and Native Species, Pineapple Press, 2004
  35. ^ Rosenberry B, Shrimp News International December 18, 2009
  36. ^ a b Semuels, A Saving invertebrates takes some backbone Los Angeles Times Thurs, August 19, 2010 at 8:37 a.m. Republished in Ocala Star Banner, retrieved March 17, 2015
  37. ^ a b c d e A Guide to the Jack and Anne Rudloe Papers University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections September 2011, retrieved March 14, 2015
  38. ^ Associated Press Birds, Marine Life Suffer From Debris Strewn on Miles of Beach Los Angeles Times June 28, 1992, Retrieved March 22, 2015
  39. ^ a b c d Goodbye Oysters Hello Jellyfish Miami Herald Sunday Magazine July 17, 1988, retrieved March 14, 2015
  40. ^ Rudloe, J Paver's Bill of Rights
  41. ^ Lucas, R Rudloe's Gulf Coast Crusade Tallahassee, Nov/Dec 1989, Retrieved March 22, 2015
  42. ^ United Press International Protester Sends Oil--and Plastic--to Exxon Los Angeles Times April 07, 1989, Retrieved March 22, 2015
  43. ^ Rudloe versus Florida State University retrieved March 14, 2015
  44. ^ VR Johnson, Advanced Tort Law: A Problem Approach, Barnes&Noble, pg219-20, 2010
  45. ^ GSML Staff, The Sea Brings Forth, Vol 17, no 2, Sept 2015
  46. ^ zooguy2 Alligator Leap Retrieved March 19, 2015
  47. ^ Answers to Some Nagging Questions The Washington Post, Kids Post Thursday, January 17, 2008, Retrieved March 19, 2015
  48. ^ Alligator Attacks White Ibis Chick & Jumps Vertically at Pinckney Island Karen Marts Video, retrieved Nov 29, 2015
  49. ^ King, FW http://ufdcimages.uflib.ufl.edu/UF/00/08/89/69/00001/UF00088969.pdf Alligator Behavior: The Accuracy of William Bartram's Observations] F. Wayne King. 2008. Alligator Behavior: The Accuracy of William Bartram's Observations
  50. ^ Florida Alligator Hotline Swamped FoxNews.com, May 18, 2006, Retrieved Mar 20, 2015
  51. ^ J Rudloe, "Ordeal at Otter Lake," pp. 112-115. April, 1983
  52. ^ J Rudloe, "Master of My Lake", Vol. 84, No. 4:4-9. July, 1982
  53. ^ Zema, N Foley pipeline resolution tabled, outrage ensues Wakulla News Thursday, October 13, 2016
  54. ^ 2014 Education and Outreach National Wetlands Awards Winners, Environmental Law Institute, Washington DC, Retrieved January 30, 2015
  55. ^ Environmental Heroes Honored at 50th Annual ChevronTexaco Conservation Awards Investors, Press Release, Chevron Texaco, Sep 9, 2004, Retrieved January 30, 2015
  56. ^ Gulf Guardian Award Winners 2003, 3rd US Environmental Protection Agency, Gulf Guardian Award Winners 2003, Youth/Education Category - 3rd Place, Project #: GG-03-2, Gulf of Mexico Program Office, MS, Retrieved January 30, 2015
  57. ^ Chandler, D. "Domino's owner wins community award", The Gainesville Sun, October 21, 2003, retrieved Feb 4, 2015