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Local Animal Behavior and Cognition Expert Dies at Age 77

La Selva Beach resident Ronald Schusterman, best known for his research on the hearing, vision, and cognitive abilities of marine mammals, died on Feb. 11 at the age of 77. Throughout his life, Schusterman had many notable achievements, among them was helping debunk the idea that pinnipeds use echolocation and demonstrating that sea lions can understand syntax and a serious of commands. In 1985, Schusterman moved his research program to UC Santa Cruz's Long Marine Laboratory, where he conducted experiments to understand how California sea lions, harbor seals, and elephant seals think about the world around them. He helped establish the lab’s reputation as a leading center for marine mammal research. Schusterman was also a research marine biologist and adjunct professor of ocean sciences at UCSC from 1985 until his retirement in 2003. A memorial service is being planned for Sunday, Feb. 28. For more information, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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