Whose Wednesday: Patricia Louise Dudley

by Piter Kehoma Boll

Today we celebrate the birthday of an important figure in the study of the fascinating copepod crustaceans.

Patricia Louise Dudley, often called Pat Dudley, was born on 22 May 1929 in Denver, Colorado, USA, the daughter of David C. Dudley, a salesman for State and School supply, and Carolyn Dudley (née Latas). Her father died in 1932, when she was only 3 years old.

During her childhood, Dudley lived with her mother and maternal grandparents in Colorado Springs. She studied in Colorado Springs High School and graduated in 1947. Soon after, she started her undergraduate studies at the University of Colorado, where she studied with the limnologist Robert William Pennak. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in 1951 and stayed in the same university for her Master’s degree, having Pennak as her advisor. Her master’s thesis was a research on the aquatic fauna of four brooks in Boulder County, Colorado.

Finishing her Master’s in 1953, she pursued a PhD Degree at the University of Washington in Seattle. Her initial intention was to continue to do limnological studies, but ended up meeting the carcinologist Paul Louis Illg, who studied copepods. At the University of Washington and its marine biological station at Friday Harbor, Dudley turned her attention to marine copepods that are associated with ascidians. This copepod group has a huge variety of forms and Dudley dedicated her doctorate to study the developmental stages of this small comensal crustaceans. She defended her thesis in 1957.

In 1959, Dudley joined the Columbia University and started to teach zoology at Barnard College. She remained there until her retirement in 1994 and dedicated her research to the study of comensal copepods, mostly those associated with ascidians, but later also those comensal on other marine invertebrates, especially polychaetes. She was one of the first researchers to use electronic microscopy for the study of copepod structures.

Pat Dudley in her later years in Seattle. Extracted from https://fhl.uw.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/2015/10/Patricia-L.-Dudley-Endowment.pdf

After her retirement, Dudley moved back to Seattle and planned to continue her research on copepods there. Unfortunately, she started to have health problems soon after, which forced her to abandon her research. She became very ill during the following years and died on 30 September 2004, aged 75.

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Damkaer DM (2004) Patricia Louise Dudley (22 May 1929 – 30 September 2004). Monoculus: Copepod Newsletter 48: 10.

Wikipedia. Patricia Louise Dudley. Available at < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patricia_Louise_Dudley >. Access on 21 May, 2019.

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