Ángel Guerra

From the CIAC Newsletter, Dec 2012, by Marcelo Rodrigues:

Ángel Guerra

Ángel Guerra is a true pioneer and the father of cephalopod studies in the Iberian Peninsula. His influence is such that in Spain, if you are working on cephalopods you will undoubtedly be part of his scientific genealogy. If you are not supervised by him, you are sure to be supervised by someone who was. There is no doubt he is an international authority and has published extensively on cephalopods with leading involvement in several worldwide research projects on the marine biology and fishery biology of these charismatic animals.

Ángel Guerra Sierra was born in Madrid in 1947. He completed his bachelor studies in biological sciences at the University of Barcelona, where he was one of the first disciples of Professor Ramón Margalef. He graduated in 1977 at University of Barcelona, defending the Ph. D. thesis entitled: “On the biology and the population structure of the common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) in the Catalan Sea (Western Mediterranean and the northeastern Adriatican waters” supervised by Dr. Carlos Bas, from the Fisheries Research Institute (CSIC). It was during graduate school that his first contribution to cephalopod science was published. In this first work he addressed aspects of the sexual maturity of O. vulgaris (Investigación Pesquera, 1975. 39: 397 – 416). At this time he also started to collaborate internationally, completing an internship in France (Banyuls sur Mer) with Drs. Katharina Mangold and Sigurd von Boletzky.

The Spanish big bang came as the freshly promoted Dr. Ángel Guerra delivered a dissertation that we consider to be the starting point for modern Spanish teuthology. He began working at the Marine Sciences Institute (former Fisheries Research Institute) of the Spanish National Research Council where he developed the foundation of his outstanding research career. To date he has had more than 200 publications in national and international journals, 13 book chapters, and has authored or coauthored 8 complete books covering a multitude of disciplines, but mainly on cephalopod systematics, biology, ecology and fisheries. Among his works my favourite is the “Mollusca Cephalopoda, Fauna Ibérica, 1992”, which constitutes the first volume of a series of monographs designed to meet the criteria for a scientific publication and a general guide for the general public. He has been the leader of near 40 research projects, and 14 research expeditions in the Mediterranean, Atlantic and Northeastern Pacific Oceans. Moreover, he has taught in the three Galician universities, and dictated conferences all over the world. He has been director and/or president of several research institutions and international organizations; he has received some awards for its scientific contributions. Nevertheless, his talents do not stop there! I should also say he is a born writer and has written three books dealing with the relationships between creation, evolution, the environment and conservation. These literary works clarify and put in to place the problems between science and religion, and are well worth reading.

I am a lucky because I have had the honor to be supervised by this brilliant scientist (I am not flattering Ángel, I am actually telling the truth). As a supervisor, he always has time (or at least he finds the time) and advice to give, even if you sometimes hear the classic sentence — ¡tienes que estudiar! (you have to study!). As a person, he is sincere, lovely, and most importantly he likes to listen and understand how you are feeling. Last November he was awarded “CIAC Honorary Life Member”, an accolade he more than deserves. We all would like to say: CONGRATULATIONS ÁNGEL!!! Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom as well as producing several generations of teuthologists.