Archived News | Return to News Center

April 20, 2009

Research fishery biologist April’s featured speaker at ULM Museum of Natural History

A research fishery biologist will deliver a public lecture about the elusive manta ray and sawfish as April’s guest speaker at the Natural History Museum, located in Sandel Hall, on the campus of the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

Dr. Jan Hoover will speak at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 21, on the topic “Postcards From the Edge: Historic Portraits of the Manta Ray and Sawfish.” He will explore the few known details about these mysterious marine “monsters” based on old photographs, postcards and first-hand written accounts.

Manta rays and sawfishes grow to extremely large sizes and are highly distinctive species. Their biology is relatively unknown and few specimens are preserved for in museums or available for research.

Existing documentation demonstrates that these species were common during the first half of the 20th century. Now rare and endangered, these unusual fishes are in critical need of conservation, according to Hoover.

Hoover is a biologist for the Waterways Experiment Station, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, in Vicksburg, Miss. He is an active member and former officer of the American Fisheries Society and in the North American Native Fishes Association. His special interests are in the biology and conservation of ancient fish species including gar, bowfin, paddlefish, and sturgeon.

The Friends of the Museum of Natural History hosts the monthly lectures at the museum to provide the public an array of scientifically based topics throughout the spring semester.

The lectures are also an opportunity for the community to enjoy the interesting and educational displays the museum offers, including significant research collections of fishes, reptiles and amphibians, plants, fossils and archeological artifacts.

For information about the upcoming lecture, or to become a member of Friends of the Natural History Museum, contact Professor John Carr at 318-342-1796 or

PLEASE NOTE: Some links and e-mail addresses in these archived news stories may no longer work, and some content may include events which are no longer relevent, or reference individuals and/or organizations no longer associated with ULM.