Ira Rubinoff Edit Profile
Ira Rubinoff attended Queens College, graduating in 1959, and went onto. It was at Harvard where he studied under Ernst Mayr. He would graduate from Harvard with a Master of Arts in 1961, followed by a Ph.D. in biology in 1963.
The following year, he started working at the Smithsonian Tropical Institute (STRI), and was the first marine biologist at the facility.
He eventually became assistant director of marine biology and was assistant to STRI director Martin Moynihan. At this time, STRI was called the Canal Zone Biological Area. It wasn't until 1966 that it was renamed the STRI. In 1970 Rubinoff became the assistant director of the research facility.
Three years later he would become the director. As director of STRI, he focused heavily on fundraising, creating a $17 million endowment for the facility to fund scholarships and grants. He also modernized the facilities, and a smooth transition during the handing over of the Panama Canal to the Panama Canal Authority from the United States.
In 2002 and 2007, Rubinoff would also serve as Acting Assistant Secretary and Acting Undersecretary for Science while Smithsonian administration changed. Rubinoff served boards of the Instituto Conmemorativo Gorgas de Estudios de la Salud, the Charles Darwin Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution. In 2011, Rubinoff was the recipient of the Smithsonian's Joseph Henry Medal.
As a marine biologist, Rubinoff was influenced by Ernst Mayr's in the early 1960s regarding the evolution of fishes at the Isthmus of Panama. Mayr assigned Rubinoff to travel to Panama, to study the evolution of various genera of fish of the region. Rubinoff pioneered research regarding the effect of the Panama Canal on the ocean's ecology and the evolution of animals within it.
He also helped discover that yellow-bellied sea snakes can control their buoyancy, which allows them to dive as deep as 50 metres and float at certain depths.
Vice chairman board directors Panama Canal College, 1989-1993. Board directors International School Panama, 1983-1985, 90-93, Fundacion Natura, secretary, board directors, since 1991. Board directors Ancon Panama, 1985-1997, Earthwatch, 1995-1997, City of Knowledge, since 1996, Charles Darwin Foundation Inc., since 2003, Mpala Wildlife Foundation, since 2003.
Honorary director Instituto Latino Americano de Estudios Avanzados. Director Biomusceo Panama. Fellow Linnean Society (London), American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Academy Arts & Sciences.
Member American Society Naturalists, Society Study of Evolution, New York Academy of Sciences Clubs: Cosmos (Washington).
Married Roberta Wolff, March 19, 1961. 1 son, Jason; Married Anabella Guardia, February 10, 1978. Children: Andres, Ana.