Neville Coleman, a name synonymous with with marine naturalist, peacefully passed away today, according to a post from his Facebook account.
If you have ever tried to I.D. a marine animal, chances are you've come across one of Neville's books. His passion for underwater photography and the ocean fueled one of the most impressive careers of any underwater photographer, which included over 45 years of
underwater exploration, photographing over 450 new species of marine life, authoring over 65 books and winning the prestigious Medal of Order of Australia award.
Almost every underwater photographer recognizes his name from the numerous species that are named after him - including the beloved Hippocampus colemani (Coleman's Pygmy Seahorse) and Periclimenes colemani (Coleman shrimp). His article on discovering Coleman's Pygmy Searhorse remains among my favorites in DPG's archive.
Despite being in regular contact with the always upbeat and supportive Neville, I only had the opportunity to meet him in person once, at the Malaysian Dive Expo in 2008. During one of the after show parties, Neville noticed there was loud music and an empty dance floor. Despite almost definitely being the oldest guy in the building, he decided he needed to get the party started, and broke out all kinds of dance moves. Get the party started he did. Within minutes, the dance floor was packed. It was a great moment.
Whether it was on the dance floor or underwater, Neville was pioneer and a fearless leader. He has left behind a unique legacy, and a huge hole in the area of ocean exploration. He was a true legend. Rest in peace Neville and thanks for everything.
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