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A Profound Loss to SICB and to Integrative and Comparative Biology Generally: The Passing of Professor George A. Bartholomew (1919-2006)

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.

Bart 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).

Bart's 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 adaptations.

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.

Bart 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).

George 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