Meet Craig McClain: the snorkeling, Southern-boy sea scientist of Deep Sea News. If you’d like to hire him, especially, he’s available for interviews at 831-…
What’s your name?
Craig R. McClain. The R stands for rascal.
What do you do when you’re not blogging?
I spend a majority of my time conducting research on the biodiversity and body size of deep-sea organisms. This requires spending time at sea on research vessels, sorting samples, measuring specimens, and of course, writing papers. Lately, I also put forth a lot of effort trying to find funding and a tenure track faculty position. Feel free to contact me about money or job openings at 831-…
What is your blog called?
After many committee meetings of a crack team of experts and marketing consultants, Deep-Sea News.
What’s up with that name?
At the time it seemed to the point. Easy enough to remember and Google. Unfortunately, it also seems to lack creativity. If I had spent more time thinking about it I might have chosen something like Staring into the Abyss or Craig and Peter’s Deep-Sea Spectacular.
How long have you been blogging, anyway?
About two years. The original page was on a university server but generated too much traffic and I was asked to move it. I then moved it to Blogger and have been at Sb since the beginning of 2007.
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I was born in Illinois but spent most of my life in Arkansas. I call the latter home and consider myself to be a Southern boy. I generally feel more comfortable below the Mason-Dixon line. I spent some stints in Boston, New Orleans, Albuquerque, and now Monterey, California.
Would you describe yourself as a working scientist?
Right now, yes. But my future is uncertain unless I find some more funding or a tenure track job. Feel free to contact me about money or job openings at 831-…
What are your main academic interests, in or out of your field?
My research interests are varied and I tend to explore whatever interests me. Most of my interests seem to center on the deep sea or the evolution of body size. The later has been the focus of all of my most recent research and publications. My favorite theme has to be gigantism and miniaturization in animals, including those of the deep sea. What selection pressures occurred in the evolution of squid to lead to the giant or colossal squid? Better yet, why are these species not larger?
Last books you read?
The Rebels of Ireland by Rutherford, Tales of Genji, Why Size Matters by Bonner, and Under the Banner of Heaven by Krakauer.
Who are your favorite writers?
I am huge fan of the work of Christopher Moore. No other writer can make me laugh out loud. I love to read most Southern writers as they remind me of home but with less tragedy…William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Allen Tate, Maya Angelou, Zora Neale Hurston. My dog’s name is Stella.
What is your idea of a perfect day?
Snorkeling with my wife on the Big Island, sipping cocktails with my wife on the Big Island…anything including my wife on the Big Island. Fortunately, I am one of those people who most days actually enjoys my job. I mean someone actually pays me to examine unanswered questions on a topic that I am passionate about. I also get to play in the ocean.
What’s your greatest habitual annoyance?
This question; people on cell phones who have intimate conversations in public; ignorant masses; clutter and filth; rainbows and unicorns.
Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
Obviously Aquaman and Captain Nemo.
Your favorite heroes in real life?
Most readers of DSN will know I revere Sylvia Earle. Unfortunately, my ongoing requests for an autographed picture have gone unanswered. Sylvia can you hear me? Apparently she does not read the blog. Despite Bill Clinton’s indiscretions, his track record as governor of Arkansas, president, and ex-president are marked by considerable accomplishments. I had a couple of high school teachers, Mr. MacMillion and Mr. Gotlieb, who were not only fabulous teachers and mentors but provided the major stimulation for me going into science.
What’s your fatal flaw?
My bald head? If my life is a tragedy I probably will not realize it until the catharsis in the final act. Hopefully, my life is a comedy. Maybe my fatal flaw is thinking my life is a comedy.
What would you like to be?
Coffee Baron, Cigar Roller, Vintner, Master Bourbon Distiller…is there a theme here?