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Graham, renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography research physiologist, dies at 70

Jeffrey B. Graham, a research physiologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, died of cancer at his home in San Diego on Dec. 8. He was 70 years old.

For nearly 50 years, Graham's research focused on the evolution, comparative physiology and biology of fish, with special interests in fish respiration and locomotion.

"He was always about new ideas and was a really great facilitator," said professor Lawrence Frank of the Department of Radiology at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. "He had a profound influence on me."

In addition, Graham specialized on species characterized as being "transitional" between the normal life history and physiology of the groups they represent.

He also was a key researcher in air-breathing fishes, a diverse assemblage of species occurring among 50 families of osteichthyans (bony fish), some of which have partially emerged onto land.

Born on Nov. 26, 1941, in Portsmouth, Va., Graham received a B.A. degree in zoology in 1964, and an M.S. degree in biology in 1967, both from San Diego State University. He received a Ph.D. from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1970, under Richard Rosenblatt, renowned ichthyologist and curator emeritus of the Marine Vertebrate Collection.

Graham served on the scientific staff of the Smithsonian Institution and was a professor of zoology at San Diego State University prior to joining Scripps.

Graham was still conducting research at the time of his death.

At Scripps, Graham served as director of the Marine Biology Research Division and as associate director of the Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine. He also served as executive director of Birch Aquarium at Scripps from 2000 to 2002.

"Jeff's efforts revitalized the aquarium during a very crucial time, and he was a tremendous colleague who I will miss greatly," said Nigella Hillgarth, Ph.D., executive director of Birch Aquarium at Scripps.

Graham is survived by his wife, Rosemarie; son Jeffrey Jr. (Nancy); and daughters Wendy (Brian) and Erin; five grandchildren, Tate, Hailey, Nolan, Dylan and Melanie; brothers Doug and Barry; and sister Diana.

Memorial services are pending. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Birch Aquarium at Scripps in memory of Jeff Graham.

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