Marie Poland Fish

Marie "Bobbie" Dennis Poland Fish (May 22, 1900 – February 2, 1989)[1] was an American oceanographer and marine biologist best-known for her bioacoustics research. Her research on underwater sound detection allowed the United States Navy to distinguish enemy submarines from wildlife. The United States Navy awarded her its highest civilian award, the Distinguished Service Medal, in 1966 to recognize her contributions during her twenty-two years (1948-1970) leading the "Underwater Sound of Biological Origin" project for the Office of Naval Research.[2][3] She also founded the Narragansett Marine Laboratory with her husband. It is now the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography.[4][5][3][6]

Marie Poland Fish
"Mrs Charles J. Fish" in the New York Times in 1989
Born(1900-05-22)May 22, 1900[1]
DiedFebruary 2, 1989(1989-02-02) (aged 88)
Spouse(s)Charles John Fish
ChildrenMarilyn (Fish) Munro

Fish was born in Paterson, New Jersey and graduated from Smith College before earning a PhD from the University of Rhode Island.[2][3] She moved with her husband, to follow his career, while continuing to advance her own career. Before working for the Office of Naval Research, she worked for the United States Bureau of Fisheries, Buffalo Museum of Science, New York State Conservation Department, University of Rhode Island, United States National Museum (now the Smithsonian Institution), Pacific Oceanic Biology Project, and the State of Rhode Island in various roles as scientist, researcher, investigator, instructor, and curator. She was a prolific author, writing over 200 articles in academic journals and popular magazines, including a newspaper column on popular science that she wrote with her husband from 1936-1939, the only time they collaborated professionally.[3]

The Fish family endowed The Charles and Marie Fish Lecture in Oceanography, an annual public lecture on oceanography that began in 2002.[4]


  1. "Marie Poland Fish". Retrieved 8 Nov 2019. Text "Find a Grave" ignored (help)
  2. "Marie Fish, 88, Dies; Navy Oceanographer". New York Times. February 2, 1989. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  3. Brown, Patricia Stocking (1994). "Early women ichthyologists" (PDF). Environmental Biology of Fishes. 41: 9–30. doi:10.1007/bf02197830. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  4. "The Charles and Marie Fish Lecture in Oceanography". The Charles and Marie Fish Lecture in Oceanography. University of Rhode Island. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  5. Jeffries, Perry. "Rhode Island's Ever-Changing Narragansett Bay". University of Rhode Island. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  6. "25th Anniversay Celebration". The University Pacer. University of Rhode Island. January 16, 1986. Retrieved 22 April 2018.

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