d. 6 June 2020
Professor of Marine Biology at the Universities of Glasgow and Newcastle
Former Director of the University Marine Biological Station, Millport, Scotland
John Allen made huge contributions to deep-sea biology through a monumental series of taxonomic monographs on deep-sea bivalves co-authored with his many graduate students and with Howard Sanders. These contributions culminated in the largest dataset available on the distribution of bivalves in major basins of the North and South Atlantic Oceans (Allen. 2008. Bivalvia of the deep Atlantic. Malacologia 50: 57-173). Bivalves are among the most abundant deep-sea macrofaunal animals, so the data have provided the foundation of many important ecological, evolutionary and biogeographic studies of the deep-sea benthos. Allen (2008) serves as astonishing example of publicly available dataset that allowed, and continues to, a wealth of recent studies that have built upon this original study. His studies of anatomy and feeding greatly advanced our understanding of adaptation to life in the deep ocean. John was also primarily responsible for the preservation of the vast amount of deep-sea bivalve material collected by British and WHOI deep-sea expeditions, and its incorporation into museum collections for study by future generations.
As well as his invaluable intellectual work, John was a delightful person to work with. His constant cheerfulness, kindness, and completely unselfish generosity will continue to inspire generations of deep-sea biologists.
Executive Director for the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium