Reggae musician Bob Marley to have a parasite named after him

11 Jul 2012

Robert Nesta (Bob) Marley (1945-1981). Image by Wikimedia Commons

A marine biologist at Arkansas State University has given the late reggae musician and songwriter Bob Marley the ultimate accolade. Paul Sikkel is naming a new coral reef parasitic crustacean found in the Caribbean Gnathia marleyi to show his respect for the Jamaican musical legend.

Sikkel is an assistant professor of marine ecology and a field marine biologist at Arkansas State University.

“I named this species, which is truly a natural wonder, after Marley because of my respect and admiration for Marley’s music,” said Paul Sikkel. “Plus, this species is as uniquely Caribbean as was Marley,” he claimed, in an article published in Live Science.

Apparently this particular parasitic crustacean infests certain fish that live among the coral reefs of the shallow eastern Caribbean Sea.

Marley joins an elite league, including US President Barack Obama, who had a species of litchen named after him. Back in 2007, Kerry Knudsen, a researcher and lichen curator at University of California at Riverside, discovered a new species of lichen on Santa Rosa Island in California. He chose to name the Caloplaca obamae in reference to Obama’s dedication to science and science education.

But, as for coral reefs themselves, 2,600 scientists signed a Consensus Statement on Climate Change and Coral Reefs in Cairns, Australia, this week. The move came during a global summit on coral reefs. The scientists have called for an immediate worldwide effort to save what’s left of the planet’s coral reefs from decline as a result of issues such as rising sea temperatures, overfishing and land pollution.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic