Gerald Boalch Head boy 1951-1952
I was brought up in Beer, a few hundred yards from my playground, the beach, where my father, a fish merchant, went every evening to buy from the boats, and I went too.
At school, when the tide was low, we collected special seaweed we were told was needed for the war effort - so I began to learn about seaweeds.
At Colyton Miss Perkins encouraged my interest in marine life.
Mr Nevard worked me hard at chemistry and I was due to go to Cambridge, but I suffered from asthma and was advised not to do chemistry, so I studied Botany at London followed by a PhD on the laboratory culture of a brown seaweed. I was awarded a fellowship at The Marine Biological Association laboratory at Plymouth to study how to stop seaweeds growing on ships. I was then appointed to the staff of the MBA as phycologist and continued until I retired. I travelled to meetings all over the world and taught at universities in South Africa, Chile, Spain, Portugal and the USA.
I still carry out research on phytoplankton and do some teaching on phytoplankton and seaweed identification courses run at the MBA - not bad for someone in their 80s!
Gerald's Marine Biological Association profile is here