Raise your hand if you’ve never met a renowned marine biologist who enjoys mixed martial arts, glass blowing, and juggling barefoot in a fish store. OK, hands down — you’re about to. We’ll tell you how he met Penn Jillette, how he got healthy, and why he has an octopus on his head.
When Richard Ross decides to learn a new subject or skill, he dives into the deep end. A passion for juggling became a 15-year career as a performer. When he fell for glassblowing, Ross trained up so he could create his own glassware and sculptures. As a child, he tended home aquarium tanks with his father. When he rediscovered the hobby years later, it evolved into his current role as a biologist at the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco where he tends to the Philippine coral reef display within a 212,000-gallon tank, the deepest in the world.
Until last year, Ross’s stick-to-itiveness fell short when it came to changing his diet and exercise so he could lose the weight he’d been putting on steadily for years. He chalked his weight gain up to a natural byproduct of aging. He tried a few diets, would lose the weight, and then swiftly gain it back. “I didn’t look well anymore. I looked generally unhealthy.” More »