We are delighted to announce that the Heads Lab has been awarded NSF support as part of a collaborative TCN project to digitize US fossil insect collections. The project, entitled “Fossil insect collaborative: A deep time approach to studying diversification and response to environmental change” involves seven institutions—American Museum of Natural History, Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, Illinois Natural History Survey, Museum of Natural History at the University of Colorado Boulder, University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute, Virginia Museum of Natural History and Yale Peabody Museum—and will be led by a team at the University of Colorado under the direction of Dr. Dena Smith. We are very excited about the project and look forward to working closely with Dena and our other colleagues to provide digital access to our fossil insect collections and build infrastructure to facilitate paleoentomological research.
Dr Sam Heads talks to 5th graders about fossil insects at this years Naturally Illinois Expo
[photo by Heather Coit of the News Gazette]
Members of the lab were busy last weekend at the Naturally Illinois Expo
, an open house event organized by the Prairie Research Institute
and featuring exhibits from all five of the state scientific surveys
. Our exhibit focused on fossil insects and specifically the use of 3D imaging techniques in their reconstruction. Continue reading
From left to right: Fernando Costa de Domenico, Ricardo Mariño-Pérez and Derek Woller during their visit to the lab, 27 February 2013.
Last week, the Species File Development Group at the INHS hosted a training workshop. Among the delegates were a number of young orthopterists who managed to take a little time out of the training schedule to visit with me in the lab. Continue reading
In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the entomologist takes field notes
[southern Belize, 2012, photo by Steve Taylor]
2012 was a busy and productive year in the lab. Here are some of the highlights. Continue reading
The Illinois Natural History Survey is seeking applications for the position of Postdoctoral Research Associate. The position is full-time and will be funded for two years. Full details are available here.
Applications should include a two year research plan (maximum 3 single spaced pages, not including references) for research at the Illinois Natural History Survey. Preference will be given to applicants who develop a strong research plan that merits additional and continued external funding. Applicants must have an earned Ph.D. by the start date (negotiable but expected before 31 December 2013) and have graduated within the last five years.
Applicants must contact a host research sponsor (listed here) at the Illinois Natural History Survey in advance of the application. Identification of a willing host research sponsor along with a letter of support from the sponsor must accompany the application. A full curriculum vitae must also be included and applicants should arrange for two letters of recommendation to be sent in addition to the sponsor letter. Applications should be submitted by 15 March 2013 to receive full consideration.
Candidates interested in working in my lab should contact me directly by e-mail or telephone to discuss possible projects. I will consider supporting applicants with interests in insect systematics and paleontology (with emphasis on Orthoptera and related groups preferred).
Posted in News
Wishing you all a wonderful festive season and a very happy New Year.
Eminent orthopterist, mentor and friend, Ted Cohn who passed away Nov. 25
It is with deep sadness that I report the death of my good friend and mentor Ted Cohn, who passed away on Sunday 25 November in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is difficult to find words to adequately convey the sorrow I feel. The loss is a great one and while the news of his death is a heavy personal blow, there are countless others who will feel the same. Everyone who new Ted – and there were many whose lives he touched – will undoubtedly feel the weight of this terrible loss.
Ted had a big heart and an even bigger personality. His larger-than-life character and infectious enthusiasm for so many things immediately endeared him to those he met. He has been something of a personal hero of mine since my undergraduate days and in the years since, became a close friend. Always genuinely interested in my professional development and personal well-being, he was an unending source of advice, support and encouragement. I am not alone in this sentiment, as Ted was a profoundly important person to many young orthopterists and could always be found nurturing those students and early career scientists lucky enough to have met him. Ted was also a long-time officer and benefactor of the Orthopterists’ Society, having served two terms as President and many years as Treasurer. His great dedication to the Society and its mission were evident in his unerring support and decades of service.
Ted was a professor in the Department of Biology at San Diego State University from 1964 to 1993 but has always been closely affiliated with the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology (UMMZ) in Ann Arbor, where he received his Ph.D. in 1961 having worked alongside famous orthopterists such as Theodore Hubbell and Irving Cantrall. Following his retirement from San Diego State, Ted and his wife Jean spent their time living between Ann Arbor and San Diego, returning to the latter from January to April each year for the opera season. I would always plan my visits to the UMMZ to coincide with Ted’s presence and shall forever treasure the fond memories I have of perusing the Orthoptera collection with him. During my visits we would engage in lengthy and deeply pleasurable conversations, often over dinner or across Hubbell’s old desk in the Orthoptera range. The subject of our conversations would vary widely, from scientific discourse on the intricacies of orthopteran morphology or evolutionary theory, to the philosophy of music and his favorite operas. Whatever the subject, Ted’s passion and enthusiasm was always evident and I knew that he enjoyed those times as much as I did. He was always a joy to be around.
Ted was not only an eminent orthopterist, but a truly wonderful person with great depth of character. Throughout his long career, his tireless efforts to promote our discipline through steadfast support of young scientists and his exemplary work with the Orthopterists’ Society, have solidified his position as one of the greatest champions of orthopterology. Above all, he was my friend and I shall miss him.