A Profound Loss to SICB and to Integrative and Comparative Biology
Generally: The Passing of Professor George A. Bartholomew
We sadly announce the death of Professor George A.
Bartholomew ("Bart" to his graduate students, postdoctoral
scholars, and other friends) on October 2, 2006. Bart in 1980 served
as President of the American Society of Zoologists, the predecessor
of SICB, and, as a result of his contributions to integrative and
comparative biology, was awarded an Honorary Membership in the
Society in 1990. He greatly appreciated two further forms of
recognition by SICB. The first was the 1992 establishment of the
George A. Bartholomew Award by the Division of Comparative Physiology
and Biochemistry. This award made annually to an outstanding young
investigator commemorated Bart's research contributions and his
longstanding efforts in the development of promising scholars. The
second was the 2004 SICB symposium "Integrative Biology: a
Symposium Honoring George A. Bartholomew."
Bart's research career began in the early 1940's and resulted in
authorship or co-authorship of approximately 155 scientific articles
on comparative physiology and behavior of birds, mammals, reptiles,
and insects. He was coauthor of two textbooks, one on physiology and
the other on general zoology. Additionally, he produced 30
university level educational films on animal ecology and behavior and
on the flora and fauna of the Galápagos Islands. Bart earned
A.B. and M.A. degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, in
1940 and 1941, respectively. Following service as a physicist in the
U.S. Naval Bureau of Ordinance during World War II, he completed his
Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1947. He then joined the UCLA faculty
in which he completed a career spanning 1947 to 1989.
was an inspiring teacher at both the undergraduate and graduate
levels and a supportive mentor of 42 Ph.D. recipients and 14
postdoctoral scholars. More than 1170 individuals can trace their
academic lineages to him (see http://bartgen.bio.uci.edu/tree).
It was a privilege for me to have him as a major professor, because
of his patience, sage guidance, rigorous standards, and considerable
editorial skills. His accomplishments in teaching and research led
to his being included among the twenty top professors in the history
of the University of California at Los Angeles, according to "The
Bruin Century" (UCLA Today. 20 (9), 2000).
influence on comparative and integrative biology has been profound.
It arises from 63 years of published research and a consistent
approach that combined laboratory and field studies of ecologically
relevant aspects of the physiology and behavior of animals that are
exposed to unusually demanding aspects of the physical environment or
which represent an extreme of specialization for the particular
group. His scientific concern lay at the interface between
physiology, behavior, and ecology. It achieved fundamental
biological coherence at the organismic level because the problems it
encompassed were directly relevant to the ecology or reproduction of
the species under study. In principle, the research problems he
addressed were defined by the performance of animals under natural
conditions. He concentrated his investigations in three
environmental settings - deserts, oceanic islands, and tropical
forests and savannahs. The variety of taxa he studied and the
contrasting properties of these environmental settings led to his
adopting a broadly comparative view that allowed him to delineate
both convergences and differences in ways in which dissimilar
organisms meet similar problems. This in turn afforded him insights
concerning the functional, ecological, and evolutionary aspects of
Bart's research accomplishments have been summarized (Integr. Comp.
Biology 45:219-230, 2005) in the 2004 symposium in his honor. They
involve groups of publications in several areas: (1) photoperiodic
control of reproduction in birds, mammals, and reptiles; (2)
reproductive cycles in mammals; (3) cardiac, respiratory, and
metabolic studies of large reptiles; (4) water economy, electrolyte
excretion, and respiratory physiology of birds and mammals; (5)
energetics of locomotion in mammals, birds, reptiles, and insects;
(6) hibernation and estivation in birds and mammals; (7) reproductive
and social behavior in a variety of terrestrial and marine birds and
marine mammals; (8) distribution and population dynamics of seals and
sea lions; and (9) heat production, energetics, and locomotor
behavior of insects. For most of these topics, the publications
include not only original research articles, but also one or more
substantial and widely cited reviews.
received numerous forms of recognition for his professional
accomplishments. A partial list includes Fulbright and Guggenheim
Fellowships (1953-4 and 1961-2, respectively) for research in
Australia, a UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award (1966), the Brewster
Medal of the American Ornithologists' Union (1968), the Fellow's
Medal of the California Academy of Sciences (1978), the Grinnell
Medal of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (1983, initial recipient),
and the Miller Research Award of the Cooper Ornithological Society
(1993, initial recipient). He became a fellow of the American
Academy of Arts and Sciences (1981) and a member of the National
Academy of Sciences (1985). Additionally, he was awarded an honorary
D.Sc. by the University of Chicago (1987). Beyond his scholarly
accomplishments, Bart contributed important advisory services to the
U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, the Smithsonian Institution, and the
National Science Foundation. He also served as Chief Scientist on
cruises of the RV Alpha Helix to New Guinea (1969) and the
Galápagos Islands (1978).
A. Bartholomew's accomplishments in teaching, graduate advising,
research, and service provide a rich legacy for biology and for SICB.
His philosophical insights concerning the nature of integrative
biology represent an important part of this legacy. Many are
summarized in his last paper (Integr. Comp. Biol. 45: 330-332,
2005.), which was a part of the 2004 symposium in his honor. Those
of us who were privileged to know him will always remember his
unassuming manner, self deprecating humor, generosity, supportive
attitude toward young people, and adherence to high standards of
scholarship. We deeply lament his passing, but are consoled by the
impact he continues to have on integrative and comparative biology.
Persons wishing to honor his memory might consider a contribution to
the Bartholomew Award Fund at SICB.
In completing this brief memorial, I am pleased to acknowledge
helpful suggestions by Raymond B. Huey.
William R. Dawson