Easter Island (Rapanui) is the most remote inhabited island in the Pacific Ocean and the easternmost in Oceania. Much has been written on the origin of its first inhabitants and the enormous stone statues they carved and erected, but little exists on the island's biota. Knowing that very few species of fishes had been reported for Easter Island, John Randall went there in 1969, with the support of the National Geographic Society, to study the fish fauna. He was joined during revisits in 1988 and 1989 by the island's medical doctor, Alfredo Cea. They published the Rapanui names of fishes in 1984.
The total number of Easter Island shore fishes to a depth of 200 meters is only 139 species. However, an astounding 21.7 percent are known only from the island, second only to the Hawaiian Islands in the percentage of endemic fishes. Forty-four new species of fishes have been described, of which 25 are in scientific papers by Randall or by Randall and coauthors. Shore Fishes of Easter Island puts all of these fishes in one beautifully illustrated book with introductory chapters (Historical Review, Zoogeography, Marine Conservation, Materials and Methods).
John E. Randall has described 555 new fishes--more coral-reef species than anyone else in history. He has authored 635 publications in marine biology, 9 of which are regional guides on the fishes of the Caribbean Sea, Hawaiian Islands, Red Sea, Oman, and Great Barrier Reef of Australia. Since 1970 he has been senior ichthyologist at the Bishop Museum, Honolulu. After getting a B.S. degree in zoology from UCLA in 1950, John Randall sailed his 37-foot ketch to Hawai'i for doctoral study at the University of Hawai'i. His first academic position was assistant professor at the University of Miami, Florida. Four years later, he accepted the position of professor of zoology at the University of Puerto Rico as well as director of the Institute of Marine Biology. He returned to Hawai'i in 1965 as the director of the Oceanic Institute. From 1970 to 2009 he served as the senior ichthyologist with the Bishop Museum. Dr. Randall is the world's foremost authority on tropical marine fishes. He has authored 745 publications in marine biology, which have included the descriptions of 27 new genera and 686 new species of fishes, ten of which have been discovered in Hawai'i in the last decade. He has written regional guides to the fishes of the Caribbean Sea, Red Sea, Oman, Maldive Islands, and the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. --Dr. Bruce A. Carlson, science officer, Georgia Aquarium