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Amy Ruth Samuels

Posted in: Obituaries
Dec 16, 2008 - 1:07:40 PM
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Amy Ruth Samuels, a noted researcher in the field of animal behavior and conservation biology, died December 9 at her home in West Falmouth after a long battle with cancer.  She was 57.
Dr. Samuels was one of four children born to Peggy L. (Bardsley) and Harold Samuels. Her father died in 2002, and her mother, in 2007.
In 1979, Dr. Samuels received her bachelor of science degree in biological anthropology and her master’s in 1982 in biological ecology from the University of California, Davis. In 1996, she received her doctorate in biological oceanography from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, based upon her groundbreaking research thesis entitled, “A systematic approach to measuring the social behavior in bottlenose dolphins.”
During the 1970s, Dr. Samuels served as the principal trainer and research facility manager for research on language and cognition in chimpanzees at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the University of Pennsylvania, Honey Brook. During this time, she also conducted research on the social relations and reproductive behavior of captive bonnet macaques at the California Primate Research Center at UC, Davis.
From 1982 to 1987, her field research took her to Kenya, where lifelong friendships were established with the Maasai. While in Kenya, her work focused on the behavioral ecology of wild immature savannah baboons in the Amboseli National Park,
From 1986 to 2004 Dr. Samuels was a behavioral biologist in the Department of Conservation Biology at Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois.
Most recently, Dr. Samuels was appointed visiting investigator in the department of biology at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where she was documenting the effects of tourism on free-ranging bottlenose dolphins in Key West, Florida.  
Dr. Samuels found her second home in Shark Bay, Western Australia, where she became closely associated with the Monkey Mia Dolphin Research Foundation.  
She was the author of numerous scientific publications and a children’s book, “Follow That Fin: Studying Dolphin Behavior.”
She was a competitive ocean swimmer and avid cyclist.
Dr. Samuels was a respected researcher who trained and influenced many scientists. Her research was notable for its careful, methodical rigor. She was deeply concerned about threats to animals and their habitats.
She is survived by her daughter, Lily Caiming Samuels of West Falmouth; her brothers, Peter Samuels of New York City and Matthew Samuels of Searsmont, Maine; her sister, Joan Samuels of Staefa, Switzerland; and eight nieces and nephews.
A celebration of her life will be held in the spring.
In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to The Dolphin Ecology Project Inc., 727 11th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701; or to the Lily Caiming Samuels Education Trust, PO Box 117, West Falmouth, MA 02574.