Malcolm Gordon

Malcolm S. Gordon 

Malcolm Gordon was born in Brooklyn, New York City, November 13, 1933. Growing up he and his family lived in several places in Brooklyn, northern New Jersey and Los Angeles, CA. He earned his undergraduate degree in zoology from Cornell University in 1954. He earned his PhD in zoology from Yale University in 1958. He did most of his doctoral research at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts. He spent a postdoctoral year (1957-8) in the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, U.K., then joined the faculty in the then Department of Zoology (now Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).  He has been at UCLA since, except for sabbatical years and leaves of absence at several other places.  He has been a visiting professor at various times at the University of Chile (Santiago and Montemar), Chinese University of Hong Kong, Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok, Thailand), and University of California, Santa Cruz.  He was for several years a Visiting Associate in Aeronautical Engineering and Bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California.  In 1968-9 he spent a year as Assistant Director for Research for the then proposed U.S. National Fisheries Center and Aquarium in the Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.

Prof. Gordon has been a National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellow, a Fulbright postdoctoral Fellow (U.K.), a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Senior Queen's Fellow in Marine Science (Australia).  On several occasions he was a U.S. National Academy of Sciences lecturer visiting the then Academy of Sciences of the USSR.  In 2000 he was the Irving-Scholander Memorial Lecturer, University of Alaska, Fairbanks.  He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Prof. Gordon’s primary basic research interests are in several different areas of comparative ecological animal physiology.  Much of his work has been at the organismic and organ system levels, on marine animals, especially fishes, and has had a strong evolutionary component.  Major research areas have included: osmotic and ionic regulation in fishes and amphibians; metabolic adaptations of fishes to life in the open sea and the deep ocean; adaptations of amphibious fishes to life out of water; ecophysiology of environmental factors having adverse effects on amphibian survival; and (since the later 1990s) biomechanics and hydrodynamics of fish locomotion.  He has also done applied research relating to recycling of dissolved nutrients in treated wastewaters, to aspects of fish aquaculture and to fish behavior in relation to fish nets.

Prof. Gordon has published more than 120 research papers in refereed scientific journals.  He has co-written and edited eight books, five of which were university-level textbooks.  Four of the textbooks were editions of one of the most widely used texts in comparative and evolutionary physiology.  He is presently (2012) senior author and editor of a ninth book, an advanced textbook in biomechanics and bioengineering.

Aspects of the basic research Prof. Gordon and colleagues did on fish locomotion have had two unexpected practical applications.  One has been the development and use by the US Navy of a new type of remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV).  The other has been the development and sale by several major automobile manufacturers of multiple lines of passenger vehicles the shapes of which were influenced by the shapes of the bodies of some of the fishes studied.

Prof. Gordon has been a member of the American Physiological Society since 1970.  He is a member of the Section on Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology.  He has been a member of the APS Committee on International Physiology.  For multiple years he represented the Section on organizing committees for several successive International Congresses of Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry.  A number of his former doctoral students are presently active members of APS.

Prof. Gordon is presently Treasurer of the International Union of Physiological Sciences (IUPS).  In that role he is an ex officio member of the Joint Managing Board of the review journal PHYSIOLOGY.  That journal is a joint publication of IUPS and APS.

Several now deceased former active members of APS played important roles in Prof. Gordon’s training and development as a research physiologist and teacher of physiology.  He was fortunate to have met, been influenced by and, with some, to have worked with: Per F. Scholander, Knut Schmidt-Nielsen, C. Ladd Prosser, George A. Bartholomew and Theodore H. Bullock.