Shark Doc, Shark Lab takes the reader on a rare double journey. In part it is the (authorized) unauthorized biography of Samuel Gruber (he insisted on ‘warts and all’): his intriguing upbringing replete with hints of what was to come, his eventual transformation from enfant terrible to grand old man of marine biology. But it is the enthralling subject matter of his success—sharks—that gives this book its general appeal.
For decades, sharks have been the sensationalized playthings of the media. Here, readers can learn about the hard work being done to understand this elusive and spectacular group of animals, and come to appreciate how sophisticated and vulnerable sharks actually are. But what makes this book more than just a popular text on shark biology is that it is first and foremost Doc Gruber’s extraordinary tale: the story of the rambunctious, humane, driven, self-deprecating, irascible and warm-hearted paradox who has inspired so many. At its conclusion, students and colleagues have added their own recollections of their encounters with the renowned Shark Doc and of the unique set-up that is his Bimini Shark Lab.
Anyone interested in how scientists go about unraveling the sea’s secrets (or rather, how one fearless biologist spent his career turning mountains into mole hills until he achieved his considerable goals) will learn much from these uplifting pages.