BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA—A research team headed by Dr. Haruto Shoyu at the University of California has uncovered a new species of ocean sunfish in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 90 miles off the coast of San Francisco Bay. It has been called the “Your Name Here Sunfish.”
That’s because you might soon be able to bid to name the species.
“This is a deep-sea species,” explains Dr. Shoyu. “That’s why we’ve never seen it before. You pretty much have to be diving in this exact region.”
“Currently, we’re not sure if it’s just a variant of the common mola or an entirely undiscovered species. It’s very similar, but we’ve never seen an ordinary ocean sunfish out here.”
New species are typically named after notable characteristics of the organism, a prominent scientist in the field or even the scientist who discovered it. But in this case, Dr. Shoyu sees an opportunity for his beleaguered marine biology department.
“Our funding has been cut each year for five years now. We can barely afford to charter excursions for field work anymore. When we can, there’s a four or five week wait after we submit a proposal.”
There is one factor that might work against Dr. Shoyu, which is the appearance of the new fish. It’s hardly what most people would call attractive.
“It’s pretty ugly,” said Abigail Preston, a Ph.D. student on Dr. Shoyu’s team. “It’s basically a turkey turned inside out. I don’t want to know who would want to put their name on the Chernobyl Road Runner, but hey, caveat emptor.”
Carl’s Jr., the fast-food restaurant chain, has already expressed interest and plans to submit a competitive bid.
“It’s not every day you get a chance to write your name into the history books,” said Marvin Weinstein, who works as a marketing consultant for the chain. “The Carl’s Jr. Sunfish (mola carlus juniorus) gives us just that.”
“We can’t think of a better ambassador for our new Beer Cheese Bacon Burger, which in a combo is only $6.99 for a limited time.”
While Dr. Shoyu believes that branding and advertising could be an important revenue generator for the scientific community, some resistance is expected. Last year, the Journal for Advanced Health rejected a paper entitled Long-Term Observation of Walgreens Molecules in Patients With Acute Heart Arrythmias. In another incident, the European Computer Science Symposium cancelled a presentation after conference organizers discovered Google AdSense links in the PowerPoint presentation.