Contributed by Payikat Sahadevan Asha

Mrs. P.S. Asha T.R.C of CMFRI, Scientist, 115, N.K. Chetty Street, Tuticorin 628001 India

Dr. Daniel Bhaskar James was born in 1940 at Madras. After early education in Andhra Pradesh, he joined the Andhra University at Visakhapatnam for his B.Sc., B.Sc (Hons.) and M.Sc., degrees. During his M.Sc. course, he was awarded the University Grants Commission Merit Scholarship due to his outstanding academic record. After a brilliant academic career, he joined the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute at Mandapam Camp (South East Coast of India) towards the end of December 1962 as a Senior Research Scholar of the Government of India under the supervision of late Dr. S. Jones who was the Director of the Institute at that time. At his suggestion, he took up studies on Echinoderms, which remains as a passion for him till today. He collected Echinoderms all along the Indian coast, The Gulf of Mannar, The Palk Bay, The Andaman and Nicobar Islands and from The Lakshadweep (Laccadives). He worked on echinoderms collected from the Gulf of Suez and the Northern Red Sea and published a detailed paper with Dr. John S. Pearse. He also worked on the echinoderms collected by the TE VEGA of the International Indian Ocean Expedition from the Red sea, Borneo, New Britain and the Solomon Islands and listed them in the Catalogue of echinoderms in the Reference Collections of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute. He did works on taxonomy, zoogeography, ecology, conservation and management, parasites and animal associations, biotoxicity, Beche-de-mer industry, development, hatchery and culture of echinoderms.  He described one new family, two new genera, five new species, several new records from the seas around India and has examined all the type and other echinoderm of the Indian museum at Calcutta. The Andhra University awarded him the Ph.D. degree in 1979 based on his thesis on the Systematics of some shallow water asteroids, spheroids, and holothuroids of the Indian Seas.

He is the foremost Echinodermologist from India today. As an International Expert on echinoderms, he worked as FAO Consultant in the Maldives in seacucumber culture. He was involved in research, teaching, training and consultancy. Under his leadership, seed of sea cucumber Holothuria scabra was produced for the first time in 1988 at Tuticorin Research Centre of CMFRI. Now the techniques developed by him for seed production of sea cucumber have been adopted in Australia, Indonesia, Maldives and Solomon Islands. He served as a Convenor for the First National Workshop on Bechedemer in 1989 and conducted training programme for the fishermen on the improved methods of handling and processing of sea cucumbers for export in 1992. He trained a foreign scientist from Marine Science and Resources Research Centre, Aden on resources, processing, hatchery and culture of sea cucumbers in 1992. He conducted Group Discussion on Research and Development of Indian Bechedemer industry in 1994. He received the Aquaculture Award instituted by the Marine Products Export Development Authority of India for his pioneering efforts on sea cucumber culture in 1995. He also received a special Award from the Fisheries Technocrats Forum, Madras for his outstanding contribution to fishery science in 1999. He was nominated as Member Secretary for the Bechedemer Committee by the Ministry of Agriculture, New Delhi to examine whether the ban imposed by the Government of India in 1982 to export processed sea cucumber below 75 mm in length can be lifted. He also conducted a training Programme on Farming of sea cucumbers at Kavaratti Island (Lakshadweep) under the TTC programme in 1999. He was a member of teaching Faculty for the Post Graduate programme in Mariculture and took classes regularly for the M.Sc., M.F.Sc. and Ph.D. students.. He served as examiner for the M.Sc., M.F.Sc., M.Phil. and Ph.D degree by the Andhra, Madras, Madurai Kamaraj and M.S. Universities. He is a life Member of the Marine Biological Association of India and the Andaman Science Association of India.

He had the pleasure and privilege of corresponding with the giants in the field like late Prof. H. Matsumoto, Drs. Albert Panning and Elisabeth Diechman. Prof. Matsumoto sent many of his publications and wrote in 1963 that some of his papers were published half a century ago: He was kind to make a copy of his monograph of Japanese Ophiuroidea (1917) and sent it to him. Dr. Panning sent many of his valuable papers and his revision of the genus Holothuria on loan and corrected his first paper, which was later published. Dr. Elisabeth Diechman not only sent a complete set of her papers but gone through some of his papers and offered valuable comments. Among living eminent personalities, Dr. David L.Pawson of the U.S. National Museum has gone through some of his papers and offered constructive criticism. He has sent many of his publications on echinoderms for which he is grateful. Maximum help was received from Miss A.M.Clark formerly of the British Museum. She sent a complete set of her reprints including her valuable Monograph on Shallow water Indo West Pacific Echinoderms published along with Dr. Frank F. Rowe. She also sent her other big books on Echinoderms of Southern Africa and Echinoderms of Southern China. She also made available some of the rare most British Museum Publications. She has critically gone through many of his papers and offered valuable comments. She also wrote large number of letters from time to time clarifying many of the taxonomic points raised by him. These letters are carefully preserved for posterity, since there is nothing personal except for one or two personal remarks at times, often humorous: He is most grateful to her for her kindness, courtesy and help. His special thanks are also due to Dr. Frank F. Rowe formerly of the British Museum and the Australian Museum for not only sending many of his valuable publications on holothurians and asteroids but also identifying some of the holothurians, which enabled him to publish later. Finally he is thankful to Mrs. L.M. Marsh formerly of the Western Australian Museum for clarifying many of the points on asteroids and also for sending many of her valuable papers. Apart from the persons mentioned above he is grateful to Echinodermologists all over the world for not only sending their publications but encouraging him in his formative years. The list is too long to be mentioned here but he salutes all of them for their kindness and cooperation. But without the sustained and generous help received from Miss. Clark and others it would not have been possible for him to make progress in the study of echinoderms.

He loves to present papers in seminars, symposia and workshops and take active part in group discussions and to deliver special lectures. After retirement he is devoting his time to write Monographs on the five classes of echinoderms from the seas around India. He has completed the typescript on the monographs on asteroids and at present he is working on the second monograph on holothurians. He is also looking for suitable publishers for his monographs: In his spare time he is helping Ph.D. students and research institutions in the identification of echinoderms, correcting drafts for thesis, acting as referee for scientific papers, attending scientific meetings and delivering special lectures on request.

On his personal characters, I am sincere to mention that he is simple, unassuming, ever ready to help any one who approaches him. A deeply religious and devout person who wants to help the poor. His hobbies include coin and stamp collections, reading English classics and archaeology. He is also a keen photographer. He is married and has two sons and two daughters.

Complete list of his publications on echinoderms is given below. Those who are interested in getting a set , may please contact him at : No. 13 , Bharathiyar Street, Mehta Nagar, Madras29 or Email: