Tester Biography

Senior Professor of Zoology

This Symposium is dedicated to Dr. Albert Lewis Tester, scholar and teacher, who died in Honolulu, Hawaii, on November 27, 1974, his 66th birthday. He was a multi-talented man who developed an international reputation in not one, but several aspects of marine biology, as well as being an outstanding teacher of both university students and laymen. Dr. Tester was a delightful friend, a meticulous worker, and a valued colleague.

A native of Toronto, Canada, Dr. Tester received his doctorate from the University of Toronto in 1936. In 1931 he joined the Pacific Biological Station of the Biological (now Fisheries Research) Board of Canada where he conducted highly significant work on herring.

In 1948 Dr. Tester joined the Department of Zoology at the University of Hawaii where he remained, except for a short time away, until his death. From 1955 to 1958, he was director of the Pacific Oceanic Fisheries Investigations of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Honolulu. In 1957 he served as chief of the Service's Division of Biological Research in Washington, D.C., a job he found to be hectic and frustrating. Consequently, in 1958 Dr. Tester returned to the University of Hawaii as Senior Professor of Zoology.

At the University, Dr. Tester studied the life history of the baitfish used to catch tuna and the response of tuna to various stimuli as part of an overall program designed to improve tuna fishing in the Pacific. Long after Dr. Tester stopped active tuna research he continued his contributions in this area through his participation on the Governor's Task Force on Hawaii and the Sea, and on the Marine Resources Committee of the Pacific islands Development Commission.

Dr. Tester's most valuable and well known work were in the field of elasmobranch biology which he began in 1960 and continued until his death. He had, in fact, planned to do further work on sharks after his retirement. His interests in elasmobranch biology were broad and included studies on the ecology, behavior, and sensory biology of sharks as well as practical aspects of shark attack and control. From 1967 to 1969 Dr. Tester directed the Cooperative Shark Research and Control Program of the State of Hawaii, and in 1967 he was appointed to the Shark Research Panel of the American Institute of Biology Sciences.

Dr. Tester's major research interest was the shark sensory systems. He did significant morphological and behavioral studies of olfaction, vision, and the chemical senses. During the last 7 years of his life Dr. Tester intensively studied the acoustico-lateralis system, especially the innervation and morphology of neuromasts and the cupula structure in the lateral line, and broadened his interest to include the inner ear, especially that of the carcharinid sharks. Al Tester was the author of more than 100 publications. In 1974, in acknowledgement of the excellence of his work, the University of Hawaii awarded him the University's Research Medal.

While Dr. Tester's scientific contributions are highly significant, many of us will remember him best as a dedicated teacher, who greatly enjoyed his work with students, and as an active and respected participant in the University community. Dr. Tester served a term as chairman of the Department of Zoology and then continued to be a major influence in many areas of college life. Warm and congenial, he had a winning sense of humor that surfaced at informal gatherings. Whether demonstrating the hula (which he led the Zoology faculty in learning in the '50s), or singing, or playing the organ, he was an affable host, the complete man.

**This tribute to Al Tester was written by Arthur N. Popper, formerly of the Zoology Department, University of Hawaii, and now at the University of Maryland, Department of Zoology, and Claire and Perry W. Gilbert of the Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota Florida. It is modified from a tribute to Dr. Tester that appeared in American Zoologist, 1977, 17:289-291.**

Selected Bibliography

Tester, A. L. 1933. Populations of herring in the coastal waters of British Columbia. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 63:286-289.

Tester, A. L. 1935. The herring fishery of British Columbia--past and present. Bull. Biol. Bd. Can. 47:l-37.

Tester, A. L., P. B. van Weel and J. J. Naughton. 1955. Reaction of tuna to stimuli--1952-1953 Part I. Response of tuna to chemical stimuli. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Spec. Sci. Rept. Fisheries, No. 130:1-62.

Tester, A. L. and S. C. Hsiao. 1955. Reaction of tuna to stimuli--1952-1953 Part II. Response of tuna to visual and visual-chemical stimuli. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Spec. Sci. Rept. Fisheries, No. 130:63-76.

Tester, A. L. 1960. Fatal shark attack, Oahu, Hawaii, December 13, 1958. Pac. Sci. 14(2):181-184.

Tester, A. L. 1963. The role of olfaction in shark predation. Pac. Sci. 17(2):145-170.

Tester, A. L., G. J. Nelson, and C. I. Daniels. 1968. Test of NUWC shark attack deterrent device. University of Hawaii, for Research and Engineering Department. 43pp.

Tester, A. L. and S. Kato. 1966. Visual target discrimination in blacktip sharks (Carcharhinus melanopterus) and grey sharks (C. menisorrah). Pac. Sci. 20(4):461-471.

Tester, A. L. and J. I. Kendall. 1967. Innervation of free and canal neuromasts in the sharks Carcharhinus menisorrah and Sphyrna lewini. In: (P. Cahn, ed.), Lateral Line Detectors, p. 53-69, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana.

Last Modified: 
12/20/2013 at 9:32am