Dates; 1881-1984; personal and professional papers of Sewell Hepburn Hopkins (1906-1984), a marine biologist and Professor of Biology at Texas A & M University (1935-1972), best known for his research into the effects of oil spills on marine life in the Gulf of Mexico. His papers document his professional career, but focus on Research Project 9 (1947-1950), headed by Hopkins and sponsored by the Texas A & M University Research Foundation, regarding abnormally high mortality rates in oyster beds harvested by Louisiana oystermen. One of at least four major research projects initiated as a result of lawsuits filed in 1946 by Louisiana oystermen against major oil companies active in offshore drilling in the Gulf Mexico, Project 9 resulted in the identification and published description (1950) of a newly discovered parasite called Dermocystidium marinum. The lawsuits against the oil companies were subsequently dropped or settled out of court.
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Sewell Hepburn Hopkins (1906-1984), a marine biologist best known for his research into the effects of oil spills on marine life in the Gulf of Mexico, was born 24 March 1906 in Nuttall, Va., the son of Nicholas Snowden Hopkins and Selina Lloyd Hepburn Hopkins. He received a B.S. in 1927 from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., followed by the M.A. in 1930 and the Ph.D. in Zoology in 1933 from the University of Illinois. In 1930 Hopkins married Pauline Cole and they had two sons, Thomas Johns Hopkins (b. 28 July 1930) and Nicholas Arthur Hopkins (b. 4 Sep. 1936).
Hopkins was appointed as a Biology Instructor at Danville Junior College in Virginia (1933-1935), but in 1935 he transferred to the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, now Texas A & M University. Hopkins remained on the faculty at Texas A & M University as an Instructor, then Associate Professor until 1947, when he was promoted to Professor of Biology, a position he held until his retirement in 1972.
Perhaps the highlight of Hopkins' career was when he was appointed Director of Research Project 9 with the Texas A & M Research Foundation (1947-1950). His research interests included parasitology; taxonomy, morphology and life history of trematodes; life history of crabs; oyster biology; and ecology of estuaries. Hopkins was made Professor Emeritus of Texas A & M University in 1972. He died 15 Nov. 1984. Further information about this individual or organization may be available in the Special Collections Research Center Wiki: .