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The Wall of the Dead: A Memorial to Fallen Naturalists

Posted by Richard Conniff on January 14, 2011

We go to great lengths commemorating soldiers who have died fighting wars for their countries.  Why not do the same for the naturalists who still sometimes give up everything in the effort to understand life?  Neither would diminish the sacrifice of the other.  In fact, many early naturalists were also soldiers, or, like Charles Darwin aboard HMS Beagle, were embedded with military expeditions.

With that in mind, I started to construct a very preliminary Naturalists’ Wall of the Dead, to at least assemble the names in one place, as I was researching my book The Species Seekers.  If I have missed someone, or made other mistakes, please suggest changes in the comments.  I am trying to focus on naturalists who died in the course of their work.  Though he may have acquired Chagas disease in his travels, for instance, Darwin died at home, age 73, of unknown causes, and so does not really fit this list.  (It will help me get names up faster if you could please include dates and links to additional sources in roughly the format below.  Photos also welcome.)

If you want to link to this list on Twitter or elsewhere, the Tiny URL is http://tiny.cc/jxsyi   I’ll also post a notice on Twitter if I have to add new names.  You can follow me @RichardConniff.  And please be careful out there, so you do not become one of the names I have to add.  Thank you.

Aaronsohn, Aaron (1876 -1919), botanist who discovered wild emmer,  “the mother of wheat.”  He was also the founder and head of Nili, the Jewish spy network that provided critical aid to British troops in Palestine during World War I.  The brilliant military campaign led by Field Marshall Edmund Allenby might have seemed to outsiders to take unwarranted risks, the chief of British military intelligence later said, but “That is not true. For Allenby knew with certainty from his intelligence [in Palestine] of all the preparations and all the movements of his enemy … Under these conditions, victory was certain before he began.”  Aaronsohn died, age 43, in a plane crash on route to Britain after the war.

Abe, Katsumi (c.1953-1998),  Japanese researcher of the evolution and behavior of planktonic bioluminescent ostracodes (minute crustaceans known in Japan as “marine fireflies”), died, in his mid-4os, driving home late from a conference.

Abe, Takuya (1945-2000)  termite ecologist at Kyoto University, drowned, age 55, when their small boat was caught in a storm during an expedition on the Sea of Cortez.

Abramchuk, Siarhei (1984-2010),  promising young Belarusian ornithologist, of encephalitis, age 26, after a tick bite in the national park Belavezhskaya pushcha, Belarus.

Adamson, Joy (1910–1980), a naturalist, artist, and author best known for the book and movie Born Free, found murdered, age 69, in her camp on Kenya’s Lake Naivasha, by a former employee.

Adamson, George (1906 –1989), British wildlife conservationist and author best known through the book and movie Born Free, shot dead, age 83, in Kenya’s Kora National Park by Somali bandits.

Akeley, Carl (1864–1926), naturalist-taxidermist for the American Museum of Natural History, age 62, while collecting mammals in the eastern Congo, of dysentery.

Alberico, Michael S. (1947-2005), American mammalogist, namesake of Alberico’s broad-nosed bat, died, age 58, in a robbery as he was getting into taxicab in Cali, Colombia, immediately after taking money out of an ATM.

Alexander, Capt. Boyd (1873–1910), explorer and ornithologist, age 37, murdered in what is now Chad.

Anchieta, José Alberto de Oliveira  (1832-1897) was a Portugese naturalist and collector who traveled widely in Angola and Mozambique. He died, age 66, probably from chronic malaria, when returning from an expedition to the Caconda region of Angola.   He was responsible for identifying 25 new species of mammals, 46 of birds and 46 of amphibians and reptiles.  Three birds, seven reptiles and four mammals are named after him.

Anderson, James D. (1930-1976), herpetologist and taxonomist at Rutgers University who described several snake and salamander species, died, age 46, in a car accident on a field trip to study bog turtles.  The species Ambystoma andersoni, which he discovered in Mexico, was named in his honor.

Anderson, William (1750–1778), surgeon-naturalist on Cook’s second and third voyages, at sea, age 28, possibly from scurvy.

Archambault, Noel (19??-1998), IMAX cameraman, died, age unknown, in an ultralight accident while filming in the Galapagos.

Arenas, Miguel Ángel Soto (1963–2009), a Mexican orchid specialist who described many new species and was an outspoken conservationist, assassinated while working at home late one night, age 46.

Artedi, Peter (1705-1735), Swedish “father of icthyology,” drowned, age 30, in Amsterdam, where he was cataloging the vast natural history specimen collection of Albertus Seba.  Artedi is the subject of a recent biography,  The Curious Death of Peter Artedi, by Theodore W. Pietsch

Banister, John(1650–1692), British naturalist and clergyman, shot  “per misadventure ,” age 42, when he bent over to pick a plant while exploring in Virginia.

Barbadillo, Pablo (1984-2008), a young Spanish biologist doing his doctoral dissertation field work on large reptiles and how humans interacted with them in Amazonian Peru. He was based at the Los Amigos Biological Station (CICRA)in the Madre de Dios department, when he traveled to a small town upriver on the Madre de Dios and did not return, age 23. Police found his body in an advanced state of decay, cause of death unknown.

Barthelt, Annette (1963-1987), marine biologist from the University of Kiel in Germany, killed, age 24, with a large group of others in a terrorist attack in Djibouti while waiting to board a three-month expedition of the German research vessel Meteor in the Indian Ocean.

Bassignani

Bassignani, Filippo (1967?-2006), Italian zoologist and lover of travel, large mammals, and the conservation of nature, died age 39, on a trip to Mozambique, after being charged by an elephant that had been wounded by poachers.

Batty, Joseph H. (18??–1906), taxidermist and specimen hunter recently accused of fraudulent practices, “killed instantly by the accidental discharge of his gun,” age unknown, in Mexico.

Beaulieu, Ryan (1987-2005) pioneered the banding and research program for rosy finches in New Mexico’s Sandia Mountains, killed, age 18, in an automobile accident while on a birding trip.

Bečvář, Stanislav (1938-1997), Czech entomologist, shot dead, age 59, by soldiers in Laos while collecting beetles.  Here’s a detailed account of the incident.  His son of the same name, also an entomologist, was seriously wounded in the attack but survived and continues to do field work.

Berlandier, Jean Louis  (1805–1851) was a French botanist, who worked as a collector in Mexico. He drowned, age 46, while trying to cross the San Fernando River. A reptile, an amphibian, two mammals and a bird are named after him.

Bernstein, Heinrich Agathon (1828–1865), German physician and collector of birds and mammals, age 36, on the island of Batanta off New Guinea, cause unknown.

Biermann, Adolph(?–1880), curator of the Calcutta Botanical Garden, sur­vived attack by tiger while walking in garden but succumbed a year later, age unknown, to cholera.

Black, George (1916-1957), a U.S.-born botanist and explorer of the Amazon,  drowned during an expedition.

Boerlage, Jacob Gijsbert (1849–1900), Dutch botanist on his 51st birthday, on a botanical expedition to the Moluccas to identify plants described by Rumphius, cause unknown.

Böhm, Richard (1854-1884), a German zoologist and former student of Ernst Haeckel, traveled extensively in East Africa, where he died, age 30, of a fever. Three mammals and five birds are named after him.

Boie, Heinrich (1794–1827), German ornithologist, age 33, of “gall fever,” in Java, one of a long succession of naturalists to die in the service of the Dutch Natural History Commission to the East Indies.

Bossuyt, Francis J. (1970-2000), University of California at Davis animal behaviorist, disappeared while bathing in the lake at Cocha Cashua Biological Station in Peru, age 30.  Colleagues found only his shoes and towel on the dock; he was possibly taken by a caiman.  Bossuyt’s father, an engineer, had died four years earlier in the TWA flight 800 crash.

Bowman, David (1838–1868), Scottish plant collector, robbed of his speci­mens in Colombia and said to have died of “mortification,” but more likely from dysentery, age 30, in Bogota.

Brodsky, Otakar (19??- 1986), Czech coleopterist, died of a heart attack, age unknown, while collecting Cleridae beetles in a rainforest in Vietnam.  He was reportedly seated under a tree with his collecting equipment in his hands, and his colleagues didn’t immediately realize he was dead.

Brown, Kirsty M. (1974-2003), marine biologist with the British Antarctic Survey, drowned, age 29, when attacked while snorkeling and dragged 200 feet underwater by a leopard seal.

Brunete, José (17??-1787), one of the two botanical artists on the Spanish Expedición Botánica of 1777-1788 to South America. He died from a fall from his burro, age unknown, in Pasco, Peru.

Bupathy, Subramanian (1961-2014), herpetologist and head of conservation biology at India’s Sálim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, died, age 53, after a fall and a 13-hour ordeal being carried down to help, with a bamboo spike in his left eye.  Madhusudan Katti, a colleague, commented, “He went out in action, in the field surveying for reptiles, just across the Agasthyamalai mountain in whose rain shadow I spent my formative years chasing leaf warblers. Never thought about the risks of simple slip down a slope. Just unbelievable that Bhupathy lost his life in such a horribly random fashion. He’s survived by his wife and two teenaged children.”

Buchalla, Marco (1959-1987), marine biologist from the University of Kiel in Germany, killed, age 28, with a large group of others in a terrorist attack in Djibouti while waiting to board a three-month expedition of the German research vessel Meteor in the Indian Ocean.

Budden, Keith Clifford  (1930-1950) was an Australian herpetologist who set out to collect a live specimen of the highly venomous and aggressive Taipan snake, Oxyuranus scutellatus. He caught it in his bare hands. As he was trying to put it in a bag, it slipped from his grasp and bit him. He died the next day, but that snake was the first member of the species caught alive and it was used in the search for an antivenin.

Buddingh, Johan Adriaan (1840–1870), Dutch civil servant and amateur collector for the Leiden Museum, age 30, in Batavia (Jakarta), Java, cause unknown.

Burchell, Jonathan Edward (1973-2003), American bush pilot for the Laikipia Predator Project , died  age 30, in a light aircraft accident, while radio tracking lions for  near Nanyuki, Kenya.

Cahoon, John Cyrus (1863–1891), American ornithologist and field natural­ist, fell off a sea cliff, age 28, in Newfoundland.

Caraza, Filberto Muñoz (19??-2002), assistant research scientist in Cuzco, Peru, for the Missouri Botanical Garden, died, age unknown, in a fall from a cliff when he was attempting to collect an orchid specimen.  The species Bomarea filibertii is named in his honor.

Cardoso, Adão J. (1951-1997), herpetologist at Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP) in São Paulo, died, age 46, in a car accident on a field trip.

Carr, Cedric E. (1892-1936), New Zealand-born specialist in orchids, he collected in the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo,  and New Guinea, where he came down with blackwater fever and died, age 44.  Among the species named for him:  Acriopis carrii, Calanthe carrii, Kuhlhasseltia carrii, and Malaxis carrii.

Cassin, John(1813–1869), American ornithologist who described 198 new species, age 55, apparently of accidental arsenic poisoning, from his work preserving specimens.

Chabot, Valerie A. (1962 – 1994), a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ornithologist, was attempting to band a peregrine falcon in Alaska when she fell 75 feet and died, age 31.

Chang, Fonchii (1963-1999), ichthyologist, drowned, age 36, along with her motorista in a boat accident near Lake Rimachi, Peru.  She was wearing rubber boots, which filled with water and anchored her to the bottom.  He was shocked by an electric eel, knocked unconscious, and drowned.

Charcot, Jean Baptiste Auguste Étienne (1867–1936), French neurologist, malacologist, polar explorer, and oceanographer. Abandoned study of medicine after his physician father died. Drowned, age 69, when his vessel (the Pourqoui Pas?) capsized while on a polar survey off Greenland.

Cheng, Yu-Pin (1966-2009), a botanist and ecologist at Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, died, age 43, in a car accident on his field trip to collect a rare Fagaceae (or beech family) species in Pingtung County, Taiwan.

Chillcott, James G.T. (1929-1967), a Canadian entomologist specializing in flies, died of a heart attack, age 37, near Kathmandu, Nepal.

Cirillo, Domenico Maria Leone (1739-1799). Italian naturalist, court physician, professor of botany, publicly executed, age 60, during a political revolution in Naples.

Co, Leonardo (1953-2010).  Filipino botanist, age 56, shot down with two assistants in what the military claimed was a gun battle with rebel forces, while collecting seedlings of endangered trees for replanting.

Coelho, Elias Pacheco (1950-1987), a marine biologist at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, he later switched to the study of sea birds.  He was climbing a sea cliff on the island of Cabo Frio to investigate some bird nests when he fell to his death, age 37.  Oddly, his colleagues named the Rio de Janeiro spiny rat in his honor, Trinomys eliasi.

Collins, Joseph (1938-2012), herpetologist at the University of Kansas, founder of the Center for North American Herpetology, co-author of  a Peterson Field Guide: Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, he died, age 72, of a heart attack while on a collecting trip in Florida.

Cook, Capt. James (1728-1779), British naval commander of three expeditions around the world, sometimes a reluctant naturalist (as when he spent a day plying back and forth in heavy weather in the Strait of Le Maire while Banks and Solander botanized onshore), but he made possible some of the pioneering species collections in the great age of discovery.  Killed, age 50, in a confrontation on the beach in Hawaii.

Cousteau, Philippe (1940–1979), French oceanographer, diver, and filmmaker, second son of Jacques-Yves and Simone Cousteau, author of  Shark: Splendid Savage of the Sea, died, age 38, when his PBY Catalina flying boat crashed in the Tagus River near Lisbon.

Jack Cox

Cox, Jack H. (1952-2010), crocodile specialist, died, age 58, from cerebral malaria, in Laos.

Cralitz, H.(?–1637), German physician and naturalist on a Dutch West Indies Company expedition, soon after arrival in Brazil, cause unknown.

Craven, Ian(1962–1993), ornithologist, age 31, plane crash in Irian Jaya.

Darling, Samuel Taylor (1872-1925), “Darling of Panama,” U.S. medical entomologist and member of the League of Nations Malaria commission killed, age 53, in the same car accident with Norman Lothian in Beirut, while researching malaria mosquito epidemiology in the Middle East.   The Lothian Scholarship and Darling Prize for malaria research were created in their honor.

Dawson, Elmer Yale(1918–1966), Smithsonian Institution phycologist, age 48, drowned while diving for seaweeds in the Red Sea.

Défago,Gérard (?-1942), Swiss entomologist working with Karl Roos on DDT.  Both died, ages unknown, in an unexplained car crash near Heidelberg, Germany. The Swiss chemical company Geigy, which would eventually sell DDT to both sides in the war, had apparently sent them on a clandestine mission to inform the Nazi government of their research.  The Germans hoped to use DDT against the potato beetle, which they apparently feared the Allies would employ as a weapon of biological warfare.  One theory is that the visiting Swiss scientists learned something that day about Germany’s own plans for biological warfare.

de Filippi, Filippo (1814 – 1867), an Italian doctor, traveler, and zoologist, set out in 1866 on a government-sponsored scientific voyage to circumnavigate the globe, died, age 53, in Hong Kong from dysentery, cholera, or liver problems, according to various accounts.  But his assistant said simply that  he“ fell, as a soldier on the field of battle, a victim to his love of Natural Science.”  De Filippi’s Petrel (Pterodroma defilippiana) is named in his honor.

Denno, Bob (1945–2008)  influential entomologist, died of a heart attack, age 62, while collecting butterflies in Georgia.   Asked the point was of all his hard work on ecology, Denno once said it was “because of the jazz.  The ‘jazz’ is “when you figure something out, when you discover one small part of how life works on this planet.”

Devaney, Dennis M. (1938-1983) an invertebrate zoologist at Bishop Museum specializing in ophiuroids, disappeared, age 45, on a dive collecting trip at north end of the island of Hawaii.  Several species and the genus Devania are named for him.

Dodson, Stanley (1944-2009) , a University of Wisconsin freshwater ecologist who focused on zooplankton, community ecology, and population ecology of Daphnia, died, age 65,  following a bicycle accident in Colorado.

Doherty, William(1857–1901), American lepidopterist and specimen hunter for Walter Rothschild, of dysentery, age 44, in Kenya’s Aberdare Mountains.

Dalton (or Dorlton), George (17??-1769), a black servant and specimen collector for botanist Joseph Banks aboard Capt. Cook’s HMS Endeavour, he was frozen to death, age unknown, on Banks’s ill-considered collecting expedition in Tierra del Fuego.

Douglas, David(1799–1834), Scottish botanist and explorer, said to be the greatest plant collector ever, died age 35, on falling into a pit trap already occupied by a bull, in Hawaii.

DeGruy

DeGruy, Mike (1951-2012), a National Geographic cinematographer who introduced viewers to remarkable species and behaviors hidden beneath the sea, he died, age 60, in a helicopter crash while filming in Australia.

Dutreuil de Rhins, Jules Léon (1846–1894), French explorer, age 48, mur­dered in Eastern Tibet.

Drummond,Thomas (ca. 1790-1835), Scottish naturalist who collected 750 New World species of plants and 150 specimens of birds,  had hoped to make a complete botanical survey of Texas, but died, about age 45, in Havana, Cuba, in March 1835, while making a collecting tour of that island, of unknown cause.

Eberhardt, Les (19??-1992), wildlife ecologist with the Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, killed, age unknown, in a plane crash in Yakima, Washington.

Eickwort, George Campbell (1949–1994), hymenopterist, age 45, car acci­dent in Jamaica.

Epova, Nina (1920-1960), Russian botanist, drowned, age 40, during a river crossing in Khamar Daban Mountains. Her research led to the creation of Baikal Nature Reserve.

Evert, Erwin F. (1940 -2010), botanist in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, where he found five new species of plants, published Vascular Plants of the Greater Yellowstone Area: An Annotated Catalog and Atlas, died, age 70, in  a “fatal encounter with a grizzly bear” while on his daily botanical walk in the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming.

Farrer, Reginald John(1880 – 1920), a traveler and plant collector in Asia, particularly in the high mountains, published a number of books, although is best known for My Rock Garden, died, age 40, either of diptheria or alcohol poisoning, according to various reports, in the Minshan Mountains of Burma.

Field,  Andrew M. (1955-1984), an ecologist, fell from a tree, age 29, while conducting canopy research in Venezuela.

Feilner, Sgt. John (?–1864), ornithologist, age unknown, surprised and killed by Sioux while collecting ahead of his U.S. Army expedition in the Dakotas.

Fitzner, Dick (1946-1992), wildlife ecologist with the Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, killed, age 47, in a plane crash while studying sage grouse for the Army in Yakima, Washington.

Fonseca, Rene Marcelo (1976–2004), Ecuadorian mammalogist, age 28, car accident.

Fornes, Abel (dates?), a self-taught Argentine mammalogist, died, age unknown, reportedly when his gas mask leaked as he was using hydrocyanic gas in a well to kill and collect bat specimens.

Forsskål, Pehr (1732–1763), Helsinki-born “apostle” of Linnaeus’s, age 31, of malaria in what is now Yemen.  See also Christian Carl Kramer.

Fossey, Dian (1932-1985), leading primatologist and conservationist studying mountain gorillas, found murdered in her cabin, age 53, in the Virunga Mountains, Rwanda (case unsolved).

Franco, Robert (19??-2014), a political scientist who worked with the Amazon Conservation Team-Colombia to identify isolated tribes and protect their habitat, died when the Piper PA-31 Navajo crashed after takeoff from Araracuara in the department of Caquetá.

Franco-Rosselli, Maria del Pilar (1950-2000), Colombian botanist of the Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, specializing in the genus Cecropia, who was electrocuted, age 50, when the pole she used for collecting plants hit an electric wire hidden in the vegetation.

Frost,  Thomas M. (1950-2000), Univeristy of Wisconsin limnologist interested in ecosystems, plankton communities, rotifers, and freshwater sponges, died, age 50, in Lake Superior while saving his 9-year old son Eliot.

Gallman, Emanuelle (1966-1983), Italo-Kenyan self-taught herpetologist, died,a ge 17, from a puff adder bite at Ol Ari Nyiro.

Gaines, David (1947-1988) , birder in the Sierra Nevada,  author of  The Birds of the Yosemite and the East Slope, and the main impetus behind saving Mono Lake from SoCal’s unquenchable thirst. He died, age 41, in a car accident near Mono Lake. Here’s a good biography (but disregard the dates).

Gambel, William (1823–1849), American naturalist, namesake of Gambel’s quail, age 26, of typhoid fever in the Sierra Nevada.

Gentry, Al (1945–1993), botanist, age 48, killed in  a plane crash in the mountains of Ecuador.

Gerhart

Gerhart, Nathaniel G. (1975-2007), conservationist and ornithologist who rediscovered the selva cacique (previously thought to be extinct), age 32, of a car accident while working on an NSF study in Indonesia.  Here’s a link to some memories from family and friends.

Gibbins, Ernest Gerald (1900-1942), researcher on mosquitoes and black flies, speared to death, age 42. while he was investigating a yellow fever outbreak in Uganda. His attackers reportedly believed that the blood samples he was taking were intended for witchcraft purposes. An investigating policeman said that Gibbins’  body was “as full of spears as a bloody porcupine.”  The mosquito Anopheles gibbinsi is named for him.

Gibbons, John R.H. (1946-1986), herpetologist, described several species of lizards in Fiji, including the spectacular Fiji Island iguana.  Died, age 40, along with his entire family in a boating accident off the island of Lekeba.

Gilbert, John (1810?–1845), British naturalist and explorer, collected Austra­lian mammals and birds for John Gould until killed by a spear, age 35, during a nighttime raid on his camp by Aborigines.

Goenaga, Carlos (19??-????), a coral researcher in Puerto Rico, died at 42 when a huge wave washed him off a rock, while he was searching for an elusive mollusk with his students.

Gomez, Margarita (1987-2011), Universidad de los Andes biology student murdered, age 23, by the ring leader of a drug gang while filming and photographing the biodiversity of area known as “La Camaronera,” in San Bernardo de Viento, in Cordoba, Columbia.

Grant, Harold J.(1921–1966), American entomologist, age 45, drowned on an expedition collecting grasshoppers in Trinidad.

Gregg, Josiah (1806-1850), author of Commerce of the Prairies (1844), merchant, plant collector, explorer, physician.  An article about him reports:  “Exhausted from vigorous travel, near-starvation, and continuous exposure to severe weather, Gregg died on February 25, 1850, as a result of a fall from his horse, and was buried” near Clear Lake in California.

Gressitt, J. Linsley (1914-1982), entomologist, died, age 68, in a plane crash in China

Griffith, William(1810–1845), British botanist in India and Afghanistan, age 34, of malaria.

Grzimek, Michael (1934-1959), German zoologist and environmentalist, lost control of his plane on hitting a vulture in the Serengeti and died, age 24, in the crash.

Gurung, Chandra (19??-2006), WWF official, pioneer in sustainable development involving local people, killed, age unknown, in a helicopter crash that took the lives of 24 people, many of them World Wildlife Fund conservationists, in eastern Nepal.

Halberg, Hans-Wilhelm (1963-1987), marine biologist from the University of Kiel in Germany, killed, age 24, with a large group of others in a terrorist attack in Djibouti while waiting to board a three-month expedition of the German research vessel Meteor in the Indian Ocean.

Daniel Hamilton

Hamilton, Daniel (1990-2011), reptile biologist from Purdue University, died, age 21, of heat stroke while volunteering in the Cayman Islands.

Hamilton, W.D. (1936-2000), brilliant evolutionary theorist, after an expedition to war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, to study the origins of HIV, age 63, of multiple organ failure brought on by malaria.

Harrisson, Tom (1912–1976), British anthropologist and ornithologist, age 64, bus accident in Thailand.

Hasselquist, Fredric(1722–1752), Swedish “apostle” of Linnaeus’s, made extensive collections in the Middle East, died, age 30, near Smyrna, of tuberculosis.

Van hasselt

Hasselt, Johann Coenraad van(1797–1823), Dutch ornithologist, age 26, of an unknown tropical illness in Java.

Hearn, Mike (1972-2005) conservationist, died, age 32, in a surfing accident off Swakopmond, between stints in the field with the Save The Rhino Trust, Northern Namibia.

Helfer, Johann Wilhelm (1810–1840), Czech-born naturalist,  murdered, age 29, by poison dart in the Andaman Islands.

Hemphill, Henry(1830–1914), American naturalist studying shells, age 84, of arsenic poisoning.

Hemprich, Wilhelm(1796–1825), surgeon in the Prussian army, naturalist, leader of a five-year expedition to Egypt and nearby countries, collecting 3000 plant and 4000 animal species, on which nine team members died, including Hemprich, age 28, probably of malaria, in Eritrea.

Hendee, Russell W.(1899–1929), mammalogist collecting for the Field Museum’s Kelley-Roosevelts Expedition, age 30, of malaria in Vientiane.

Hernandez-Camacho, Jorge Ignacio (1935-2002) authority on all things neotropical, died, age 67, from a heart attack while visiting a mangrove swamp near Cartagena, Colombia.  The 3,850 hectare area was later protected and named in his honor Santuario de Fauna y Flora El Corochal “El Mono Hernandez”  Several plant and animal species have also been named in honor of “Mono” or “El Sabio” Hernandez .

Higashi, Masahiko (1954-2000), termite ecologist at Kyoto University, drowned, age  45, when their small boat was caught in a storm during an expedition on the Sea of Cortez.

Hodgdon, Albion (1909-1976), a botanist who specialized in finding new locations of species in the state of New Hampshire.  His death, age 65, resulted from injuries sustained in a head-on collision with a drunk driver, cutting short his life’s ambition to complete the flora of New Hampshire

Hoffmann, Ralph (1870-1932), botanist and ornithologist, director of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, fell from a cliff on San Miguel Island, California while collecting plants, age 62.

Holden, Edith (1871-1920), British naturalist and  illustrator, most famous for Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady, fell into the River Thames at Kew and drowned, age 49, while collecting blossom from a horse chestnut tree for an illustration.

Hoshino

Hoshino, Michio (1952-1996), celebrated Japanese wildlife photographer, killed, age 44, when a brown bear attacked him in his tent, while he was on assignment in Kurilskoye Lake, Kamchatka, Russia.  A faked photo of the attack circulated on the internet.  A memorial totem pole to Hoshino was recently erected in Sitka, Alaska.

Hovore, Frank T.  (1945-2006), coleopterist, age 61, on a collecting expedition in Ecuador, of a heart attack.

Hreblay, Márton (1963-2000), entomologist,  killed in a car accident, age 37, while collecting Lepidoptera (Noctuidae) in northern Thailand.

Igag, Paul (1984-2010),  New Guinea’s premiere ornithologist, known to his many students as “Uncle Paul,” made important discoveries about Palm Cockatoos and Vulturine Parrots that continue to guide conservation of these threatened species. He was recently featured in the Nature show “Birds of the Gods.” Igag died, age 46, of a heart attack.

Innes, H. Stuart (1953-2000), an arctic mammalogist,  died in a helicopter crash, age 47, in the Canadian High Arctic while returning from a day spent tracking and tagging polar bears.

Irwin, Stephen Robert (1962–2006)  Australian television personality, wildlife expert, and conservationist, co-discovered a turtle now named in his honor Elseya irwini, died, age 44, after being pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while filming in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Jacquemont, Victor(1801–1832), French botanist in India, age 31, of dysen­tery or malaria.

Jussieu, Joseph de (1704–1779), doctor and botanist on the Geodesic Mission to the Equator (1735-1744), made the first scientific study of the cinchona (quinine) tree; at age 75, of mercury poisoning and infection.

Kakule, Safari (19??-2011), ranger working on gorilla protection on the Congo side of Virunga National Park, killed, age unknown, along with two other rangers and five soldiers, all so far unnamed, when rebels fired a rocket-propelled grenade into their vehicle.  More than 120 rangers have been killed over the past ten years because of the continuing war in the Congo.  Further information welcome.

Kalko, 2010

Kalko, 2010

Kalko, Elisabeth (1962-2011), German tropical ecologist and bat specialist, died suddenly in her sleep, age 49, cause unknown, soon after arriving at a research station at the foot of Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania.  She was featured in the BBC series “Bat Women of Panama.”

Kaplanov, Lev (1910-1943), the first researcher of Siberian tiger biology in the wild, killed by poachers in Ussuriland.

Kaufmann, Rudolf (1909-1941), German paleontologist, made early contributions to the study of allopatric speciation, and was a pioneering thinker on punctuated equilibrium, persecuted by Nazi Germany for his Jewish heritage, shot, age 32?, by guards in Lithuania while trying to flee.

Kempff, Noel Mercado (1924-1986), Bolivian biologist, was scouting out a new national park in Santa Cruz department when his group landed at what they thought was an abandoned airstrip.  It turned out to be a cocaine factory.  He was murdered, age 62, and the national park was subsequently named for him.

Kennicott, Robert (1835–1866) American naturalist, member of the Megatherium Club at the Smithsonian Institution, died in the field, age 30, leading the Scientific Corps of the Russia-American (Western Union) Telegraphic Survey in Alaska.

Kielland, Jan (1923 – 1995), author of Butterflies of Tanzania, spent 50 years studying butterflies across Tanzania, described and published 144 taxa of Afrotropical butterflies.  He was killed, age 72, when his car hit a stranded lorry in the dark on his way to get permits for a survey in southern Tanzania.

Kilbourn, Annelisa (1967-2002), Wildlife Conservation Society researcher studying the link between ebola virus and western lowland gorillas, died, age 35, when her small plane crashed in the Lope Nature Preserve in Gabon.

Kilham, Peter (1943-1989),  University of Michigan professor and an expert in phytoplankton ecology and in the ecology of African lakes, who suddenly died, age 46, of a perforated ulcer during a research trip in Kenya.

Kingsley, Mary H. (1862–1900), British explorer, ichthyologist, age 37, of typhoid fever in South Africa.

Kirkaldy, George Willis (1873–1910), entomologist working on Hemipterans in Hawaii, known for coining generic names after supposed romantic interests (Elachisme–pronounced “kiss me”–Peggichisme, Polychisme, etc),  hit by an automobile in Honolulu while riding a horse on the wrong side of the road and broke his leg. He was sent to California to have his leg reset and died, age 38, in the operating room.

Kirouac, Joseph Louis Conrad (1885-1944), known as Brother Marie-Victorin, founder of the Botanical Garden in Montréal, educator and author of a major Flora for the southern region of the Province of Québec, died in a car accident, age 58, on a plant collecting trip.  Possibly related to author Jack Kerouac.

Kishinouye, Kamakichi (1867-1929), Japanese fisheries and corals biologist, died, age 61, of “some alimentary disorder” during an expedition collecting freshwater fishes in Sichuan Province, China.   The death notice in Science described him, curiously, as “a good example of the courteous Japanese gentleman of the old school.”

Knakis, Uldis (1939-1970), Latvian wildlife biologist, killed, age 31, by poachers taking saigas in Russia’s Kalmyk steppes.

Köenig, Johann Gerhard (1728–1785), Polish-born physician and student of Linnaeus who introduced the Linnaean system to India, age 57, cause unknown.

Koepcke, Maria (1924-1971), German-born neotropical ornithologist, curator at the Natural History Museum in Lima, wrote and illustrated Las Aves del Departamento de Lima ( The Birds of the Department of Lima), killed, age 47, in an airplane crash over Amazonia. She had been flying with her 17-year-old daughter, Juliane,  to join husband and father Hans-Wilhelm Koepcke at a field station in Amazonia for the Christmas holiday.  Juliane, the sole survivor of the crash,  fell thousands of feet while still strapped to her chair, then  managed to walk for 10 days, always following waterways downhill, as her parents had taught her to do if lost. Juliane, now a mammalogist, is the subject of a Werner Herzog film; her own memoir When I Fell From the Sky is being published in German, in March, 2011.  Maria Koepcke has been honored by having three birds named in her honor: Koepcke’s Screech Owl, Koepcke’s Hermit, and the Selva Cacique (Cacicus koepckeae, see Gerhart, Nathaniel G.).

Kotaseao, Vickson (????-????),a research associate at the Wei Institute in Papua New Guinea and the first person to discover the larva  of the jewel beetle genus Calodema, he was brutally murdered, age unknown, in an ambush while on duty at the Institute.  The species Calodema vicksoni was named in his honor, and according to a note in the description, it also brought misfortune to the original collector:  ” The holotype was captured by a native lady who found this specimen feeding on flowers near her house in the jungle in a very remote location in the Owen Stanley Range.  She caught the beetle and gave it to her husband.  Sadly enough, shortly afterwards she was bitten by a Papuan Blacksnake and died.”

Kramer, Christian Carl (1732-1764). Danish physician and zoologist on a quarrelsome and ill-fated multinational expedition to Arabia with Forsskål and others.  He discovered and disclosed that one of the other scientists aboard, the ethnologist Christian von Haven, intended to murder them by arsenic poisoning and steal their funds.  Of the five scientists, four died of other causes, among them Kramer, age 32, of fever (probably malaria), in Bombay. Only the young mapmaker Carl Niebhur survived, ostensibly thanks to his adoption of local habits and dress.

Kramer, Gustav(1910–1959), German ornithologist, was attempting to cap­ture young rock doves from a nest when he lost his footing and fell to his death, age 49, in southern Italy.

Kuhl

Kuhl, Heinrich(1797–1821), German ornithologist, age 23, in Java, of an unknown tropical disease.

Lawson, John (1674-1711), British-born early naturalist in North America, burned at the stake, about age 37,  by angry Indians near what is now Snow Hill, North Carolina.  He wrote A New Voyage to Carolina.

Leitão Filho, Hermógenes de Freitas (1946-1996), Brazilian botanist of a heart attack during field research.

Leitner, Edward F. (1812–1838), German-born physician and botanist, col­lector for Audubon and Bachman, shot by Indians, age 26, near Jupiter Inlet, Florida.

Leopold, Aldo (1887-1948), father of wildlife ecology who helped found The Wildlife Society and the Wilderness Society, died of a heart attack, age 61, while battling a wildfire on his neighbor’s property.

Lockwood, Tom E. (1941-1975),  botanist at the University of Illinois-Urbana, monographer of the genus Brugmansia, died, age 34, in an auto accident in Mexico during a field trip with students.

Löfling, Pehr (1729 – 1756),  an “apostle” of Linnaeus, he was the first naturalist to make careful observations about the flora and fauna in Venezuela, and probably the first person to bring a microscope there. Linnaeus later published the Iter Hispanicum based on Löfling’s notes.  He died on expedition there, probably of malaria or yellow fever.

Loftus-Hills, Jasper (1946?-1974) , a post-doc at the University of Michigan, from New Victoria, Australia, who died in a car accident, age 28, on a trip collecting frogs in Texas.  Eleutherodactylus jasperi is named in his honor.  A friend reports: “A pickup with two drunks decided to return and scare Jasper by driving very close at high rate of speed.  He didn’t hear them because he was recording frogs at the time.  They then drove off but were later arrested and sentenced to life in prison.

Lothian, Norman Veitch (1889- 1925), Scottish medical entomologist with the League of Nations Malaria Commission‚ killed, age 35, in the same car accident with Samuel Darling in Beirut, while researching malaria mosquito epidemiology in the Middle East.   The Lothian Scholarship and Darling Prize for malaria research were created in their honor.

Macklot, Heinrich(1799–1832), naturalist, was so enraged when insurgents burned down his house, with all of his collections, that he organized a revenge attack and was speared to death, age 33, in Java.

Maehr, David (1956-2008) ) conservation biologist at the University of Kentucky died, age 52, in a plane crash whole tracking radio collared black bears in Lake Placid, Florida.

Magraner, Jordi (1959-2002), Spanish zoologist, quit his position at the  National Museum of Natural History in Paris to undertake independent research into the Barmanu, a hominid-like creature thought by local people to inhabit the remote Chitral Mountains of northwestern Pakistan.  He was living among the  marginalized Kalash people, who considered him their protector, and he ignored warnings by Pakistani officials to leave the area when the instability following the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan spilled over to this area.  He was murdered, age 43, along with his 12-year old assistant, by two of his former Afghan assistants, who slit his throat for reasons that remain unclear.  He was buried by the Kalash in the local town of Bumburet.

Maness, Scott Jay (1948-1981), reptile biologist with the Peace Corps and then with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, for whom he was working at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida when a lightning strike caused a wildfire there.   He was working with crew member Beau Sauselein using a tractor and a fireplow to cut a fireline when the wind shifted, driving the fire toward them.  As they attempted to move away, the tractor got caught on a stump.  They tried to flee on foot but the thick palmetto grass blocked them and they were burned to death in the blaze.  Maness was 32, Sauselein was 33.

Markgraf, Georg(1610–1644), German physician and naturalist celebrated for his work on a Dutch West Indies expedition to Brazil, but died, age 34, probably of malaria, in Angola(?).  There is a detailed account of his life, though with an emphasis on astronomy here.

Marsh, Clive (1951-2000), field biologist instrumental in establishing the Tana River Primate Reserve in Kenya and the Danum Valley Conservation Area in Sabah, age 49, from an encephalitis-related illness acquired during field work in Laos.

Martin, Shannon (1978-2001), a University of Kansas graduate student collecting fern specimens, stabbed to death in Costa Rica, age 23.

Maskey, Tirtha (1948-2006), one of the world’s leading experts on crocodiles and rhinoceroses, who had also discovered a new frog species, killed, age 58, in a helicopter crash that  took the lives of 24 people, many of them World Wildlife Fund conservationists, in eastern Nepal.

Matapi, Daniel (19??-2014), an indigenous leader who worked with the Amazon Conservation Team-Colombia to identify isolated tribes and protect their habitat, died when the Piper PA-31 Navajo crashed after takeoff from Araracuara in the department of Caquetá.

Maxwell-Lefroy, Harold (1877–1925). British entomologist in India and a professor of entomology at the Imperial College in South Kensington, London, died, age 48, from the effects of a lethal gas with which he was experimenting for use as an insecticide.

McKay, Charles Leslie (1855-1883), Wisconsin-born naturalist who collected in Alaska for the Smithsonian’s Spencer Fullerton Baird.  McKay discovered McKay’s Bunting in 1882.  He died the following year, age 28, in suspicious circumstances on a solo canoe  trip.  His body was never recovered.

Meneses, Elias (19??-1979), botanist, about age 50, of malaria contracted in Pando Department (Bolivia) while collecting tree specimens.

an

Mertens, Robert (1894-1975), herpetologist, specialized in lizards, particularly island and tropical species, namesake of Mertensian mimicry, a rare form in which a deadly species mimics a less dangerous one, died, age 81, of a twig snake bite.

Messier,  Jeanne (1966-1993),  a UC-San Diego graduate biology student, she lived in a cabin infested with rodents while studying birds at California’s Valentine Ecological Reserve, died, age 27, of hantavirus.

Meyer

Meyer, Frank N. (1875–1918), American plant explorer, made four expedi­tions to China. Heading homeward down the Yangtze River at a time of political turmoil, he disappeared, age 43, from his ship and his body was recovered a week later.

Michaud, Luigi (1973?-2014), a University of Messina research fellow seeking new antibiotics for cystic fibrosis, he died, age 40, in a diving accident in Antarctica while collecting marine bacteria.

Michaux, Andre (1746-1802) French botanist, wrote the first book on  trees of North America, also explored in England, France, and Persia, lost notes and specimens in an 1801 shipwreck off Holland, and died the following year in Madagascar, age 56, of tropical fever.

Miller, Waldron DeWitt (1879-1929), ornithologist at the American Museum of Natural History,  killed in a motorcycle accident just before completing a full account of the birds of Nicaragua.  See this note for the series of tragedies that afflicted the course of ornithology in Nicaragua

Monteiro, Luis R. (19??-1999), a leading seabird expert from the University of the Azores, died in a helicopter crash while pursuing his research, age unknown.  Monteiro’s storm-petrel (Oceanodroma monteiroi) is named in his memory.

Moorcroft, William(1765–1825), British veterinary surgeon and plant-collector in Tibet and Kashmir, also reputed to be a secret agent, age 60, murdered in Afghanistan.

Mora, Jairo (1987-2013), a marine turtle conservationist, age 26, he was kidnapped while patrolling leatherback turtle nesting sites on a beach in Limon, Costa Rica.  His kidnappers, who were apparently raiding nests to sell the eggs, tied up the four volunteers working with Mora.  Then they took him away, tied his hands behind his back, beat him,  dragged him behind his vehicle, and finally shot him in the head.

Miyata, Ken (1951-1983) an expert on diversity in lizards who traveled frequently in South America, but fell victim to his passion for fly-fishing.  He drowned, age 32, while angling alone on the Big Horn River in Wyoming.

Muncus-Nagy

Muncus-Nagy, Mihai (1978-2012), a Romanian conservationist, he volunteered to work protecting native species on New Zealand’s remote Raoul Island, where he vanished, age 33, in an apparent drowning.

Mys, Benoit (1960-1989), a Belgian Phd student, was doing fieldwork for his PhD thesis on the zoogeography of the skink fauna of northern Papua New Guinea, when he was killed, age 28, in a vehicle accident on the north coast highway.  An expedition in his footsteps is planned for spring of 2014, to find some of the new snake species he discovered.

Nakano, Shigeru (1962-2000), aquatic ecologist studying food webs, died age 38, in Baja California on the same boat accident that killed the scorpion ecologist Gary Polis.

Anjeli Nathan

Nathan, Anjeli (1975-1999) killed, age 24, in a car accident in South Africa, where she was studying meerkats.

Natterer, Johann (1787–1843), Vienna-born zoologist, survived 18 years col­lecting in Brazil, but died at home, age 56, of pulmonary hemorrhage, while working up his extensive collection.

Nevermann

Neme, Matthew Matamala (1984-2011), Universidad de los Andes biology student murdered, age 26, by the ring leader of a drug gang while filming and photographing the biodiversity of area known as “La Camaronera,” in San Bernardo de Viento, in Cordoba, Columbia.

Nevermann. William Heinrich (1881-1938), entomologist, killed, age 57, while hunting ants by lantern with a colleague at night in Costa Rica. He was shot by a neighbor who thought the lights of the two lanterns were the eyes of a puma.  (Obituary by Anon. 1938, Entomological News 49: 239-240.

Nikolaenko. Vitaly (1938-2003), zoologist at Kronotsky Nature Reserve, Kamchatka, and a world-famous nature photographer, killed, age 66, by a brown bear. He had conducted the investigation of the death by a brown bear of Michio Honshino.

Northrop, Alice Rich (1864‒1922) and Northrop, John Isaiah  (1861‒1891) were a married couple.  She taught botany at Hunter College, he taught botany and zoology at Columbia University. Soon after their marriage in 1889, they spent seven months in the Bahamas collecting animal, plant and mineral specimens, then the most extensive natural history survey undertaken there. John died in a laboratory explosion in 1891, age 30, just two weeks before the birth of their only child.  When Alice later finished her analysis of the botanical material from the Bahamas expedition, she found she had discovered 18 new species. A Naturalist in the Bahamas (1910) was a collection of John’s and Alice’s papers, edited by Henry Fairfield Osborn, and published under the names of  Osborn  and John (but, oddly, not Alice) Northrop.    She continued to travel widely in the Americas with their son, John Howard Northrop (1891‒1987), who would later win a Nobel Prize for Chemistry (1946).  Alice Northrop was working to establish a nature camp in Massachusetts when she died, age 56, after her car stalled on a level crossing and was hit by a train

Nove, Josh (1974?-1997), a birder from Ipswich, MA, was volunteering on a migratory bird study on Goose Lake in the Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge when he stepped into deep water and drowned, age 23 (?), while banding birds.

Ooi, Inn-Siang (1962-1986) a PhD student in botany at University of Miami from Malaysia, died, age 24, of stings from Africanized honey bees during an Organization for Tropical Studies field course in Costa Rica.  He became stuck in a crevice and when his body was retrieved, he had sustained 8000 stings.

Van Oort

Oort, Pieter van(1804–1834), artist who made numerous illustrations of landscapes, people, animals, and plants for the Dutch Natural History Commission in the East Indies, age 30, in Sumatra, of malaria.

Ortiz-Crespo, Fernando (1942-2001), Ecuadorian ornithologist who died in a boating accident, age 59, while studying birds on an Andean lake.

Ortiz, Patricia (1973-2013), ant biologist from Ecuador, killed by falling rocks, age 40, while working with students at a waterfall in Costa Rica. University of Utah myrmecologist John Longino recently named a new species from Monteverde Cloud Forest, where she had worked, after Ortiz, calling her “a brilliant naturalist whose untimely death saddened the Monteverde community.”

Pambu (dates unknown), a Lepcha collector working with William Doherty, “murdered by the savages” in Papua New Guinea.

Parker, Ted (1953–1993), American ornithologist, age 40, killed in a plane crash in the mountains of Ecuador.  Here’s a brief biography.

Parkinson, Sydney (1745–1771), artist on Cook’s Endeavour, at sea, age 26, of dysentery.

Peale, Raphaelle (1774–1825), American artist and naturalist, age 51, of arsenic and mercury poisoning from his taxidermy work in the family museum.

Plee, August (1787-1825), an explorer naturalist for the French National Museum of Natural History in Paris, he died, age 38, from an unknown sickness in Martinique, after sending botanical specimens back to France.

Pliny The Elder, Gaius (23-79 A.D.), Roman naturalist, author of the encyclopedic (though sometimes highly imaginary) Historia Naturalis, died, age 56, supposedly of toxic fumes, when scientific curiosity caused him to get too close during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

Plowman, Timothy (1944-1989), eminent Amazonian ethnobotanist for the Field Museum in Chicago, died of AIDS, age 45, reportedly as a result  a dirty needle  used in mandatory “pre-trip inoculations” for yellow fever, at the border of Venezuela or Peru.

Polis, Gary (1946-2000), University of California at Davis scorpion researcher, drowned, age 53, with three others, when their small boat was caught in a storm during an expedition on the Sea of Cortez.

Posa Bohome, Claudio (1965-2010), a botanist at the Universidad Nacional de Guinea Ecuatorial, he became acutely ill while on a biodiversity expedition to the Gran Caldera de Luba, in the remote southern part of Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea, and died, age 44, soon after being evacuated to hospital.

Poudel, Narayan (1953-2006), former national park manager, recently amed head of Nepal’s wildlife and national parks department, killed, age 53, in a helicopter crash that took the lives of 24 people, many of them World Wildlife Fund conservationists, in eastern Nepal.

Prahl, Henry von (1948-1989), an expert on marine crustaceans, mangroves and coral reefs, was killed, age 41,when the plane in which he was traveling from Bogota to Cali was destroyed by a bomb.  Pablo Escobar of the Medellín drug cartel had been attempting  to kill presidential candidate César Gaviria Trujillo.  Gaviria missed the flight and served as president from 1990-1993.

Przhevalsky, Nikolai Mikhaylovich (1839–1888), Polish-Russian explorer, discoverer of only wild horse species, of typhus, age 49, in Kyrgyzstan.

Raalten, Gerrit van (1797–1829), Dutch artist with naturalists in Java, sur­vived a rhino attack but succumbed, age 32, to fever.

Raddi, Giuseppe(1770–1829), Italian botanist, herpetologist in Brazil, age 59, of dysentery at Rhodes, during an expedition to the Nile.

Raim, Arlo (1943-2010), a legendary birder for the Illinois Natural History Survey, hit by train and killed, age 67, while monitoring the effect of increased train traffic on cardinals in a DuPage County forest preserve.  “He was a bit eccentric,” said a co-worker, “but a very kind and committed person to nature and to understanding nature.”

Ramsay, Malcolm (1949-2000), an evolutionary ecologist and naturalist,  died in a helicopter crash, age 51, in the Canadian High Arctic while returning from a day spent tracking and tagging polar bears.

Rawlinson, Peter (1943-1991), an Australian herpetologist who described several new species of reptiles, he was also a vigorous environmental campaigner. He died, age 48, from heat exhaustion while engaged in fieldwork on the island of Anak Krakatau, Indonesia. The Peter Rawlinson Conservation Award, named in his honor, now acknowledges outstanding contributions to conservation in Australia. Two skinks are also named for him: Ctenotus rawlinsoni (Ingram 1979) and Pseudemoia rawlinsoni (Hutchinson and Donnellan 1988).

Reimer, Daryl (19??-1992), prominent Queensland seabird scientist who disappeared at sea, age unknown, in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia, while surveying remote seabird islands.

Richmond, Thomas (17??-1769), a black servant and specimen collector for botanist Joseph Banks aboard Capt. Cook’s HMS Endeavour, he was frozen to death, age unknown, on Banks’s ill-considered collecting expedition in Tierra del Fuego.

Ricketts, Edward F. (1897-1948), marine biologist, author of  Between Pacific Tides, killed, age 50, by a train at an intersection in Monterey, California.

Riley, Charles Valentine (1843-1895), one of the greatest North American entomologists, “the father of biological control,” died in a bicycle accident, age 52.

Roberts, J. Austin (1883‒1948) was the most prominent ornithologist in southern Africa during the first half of the twentieth century. In four decades working at the Transvaal Museum, he amassed 30,000 bird skins and 9,000 mammal specimens there.  He died, age 65, in a traffic accident in the Transkei region. Roberts is best remembered for his Birds of South Africa (1940), a landmark publication in African ornithology which has developed in size and authority with repeated posthumous editions.  His Mammals or South Africa (1951) was published posthumously.  The Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary was established in his hometown, Pretoria (1958).

Robinson, Charles Budd (1871-1913), a botanist, murdered, age 42, “in self-defense” by people who mistook him for a ghoul intent on decapitating people, while collecting plants on Ambon in what is now eastern Indonesia.  (The ghoul defense may sound unlikely.  But other European explorers–Wallace, Du Chaillu, Cuming–also reported that terrified locals sometimes mistook them for ghosts on account of their unnaturally pale skin.  The tendency of naturalists to work late into the night preserving specimens–cadavers–by candlelight may have compounded this impression of ghoulishness.  The one jarring detail is that Ambon had been comfortably tolerating the habits of naturalists since Rumphius arrived there in the 1650s.)  A biographical note is at p. 191 here.

Rodríguez De la Fuente, Félix (1928-1980), celebrated Spanish broadcaster and naturalist, died, age 52,  in a plane crash on assignment in Alaska.

Roepstorff, Frederik Adolph de (1842 – 1883), entomologist, ornithologist and anthropologist, shot dead, age 41, in the Andaman Islands

Rogers, Erick Joseph (1982-2005), a Texas A&M field technician, was working on a study of the crabs eaten by whooping cranes at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, when his boat drifted away from the research site. Rogers attempted to swim for it, but in the 48 degree Fahrenheit water, he soon lost control and drowned, age 23.

Roos, Karl (?-1942), Swiss entomologist working with Gérard Défago on DDT.  Both died, ages unknown, in an unexplained car crash near Heidelberg, Germany. The Swiss chemical company Geigy, which would eventually sell DDT to both sides in the war, had apparently sent them on a clandestine mission to inform the Nazi government of their research.  The Germans hoped to use DDT against the potato beetle, which they apparently feared the Allies would employ as a weapon of biological warfare.  One theory is that the visiting Swiss scientists learned something that day about Germany’s own plans for biological warfare.

Root, Joan (1936-2006), conservationist and activist on Kenya’s Lake Naivasha, murdered at her home there, age 69, by four men armed with AK-47s; the crime remains unsolved.

Rose, Michael (1972-2000) , post-doctoral researcher and ecologist at the University of California at Davis, drowned, age 27, with three others, when their small boat was caught in a storm during an expedition on the Sea of Cortez.

Ross, Ian (1958-2003), wildlife biologist, died  age 44, in a light aircraft accident, with his pilot, Jonathan Edgar Burchell, while radio tracking lions for the Laikipia Predator Project near Nanyuki, Kenya.

Rowley, J. Stuart (1907-1968), ornithologist and vertebrate specimen collector for various museums wrote an account of breeding birds of the Sierra Madre del Sur, Oaxaca, Mexico, and died there, age 61, either in an accidental fall from a cliff or by murder.

Ruschi, Augusto (1915-86), renowned naturalist at Brazil’s National Museum, died from the cumulated effects of malaria, hepatitis, schistosomiasis and, after years of harrowing agony, fatal poisoning, at age 71, from contact with a Dendrobates toad. Throughout his active years, Ruschi fiercely denounced corrupt officials who allowed eco-vandalism in the Amazon.

Ruspoli, Prince  Eugenio (1866-1893), Italian explorer, gave his name to one of world’s most beautiful and rare birds, the Ethiopian endemic Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco, whose first specimen was found in the prince’s hunting bag after he was trampled to death, age 27, by an angry elephant.

San Miguel, Michael (1939-2010), birder and conservationist, died, age 70, when he fell down a cliff, while conducting an owl survey in the San Gabriel Mountains. Remembered here, by another great California ornithologist, Kimball Garrett.

Sankaran, Ravi (1963- 2009) ornithologist, field biologist and director of the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology & Natural History, died, age 45, of a heart attack.  His work on the Indian edible-nest Swiftlet provided crucial insights for conservation of this species and he was deeply involved in developing community-based conservation efforts, including sustainable harvesting of these birds’ nests.

Schibli, Leo (1958-2004) of SERBO in Oaxaca involved with scores of botanical field trips to survey the flora of Oaxaca and consequently discovered several new species of plants including cycads and orchids, died of a heart attack, age of 46.

Shannon, Frederick A. (1921–1965), American physician and herpetologist, died, age 44, from the bite of a Mojave rattlesnake that he was attempting to catch. A brush lizard is named in his honor Urosaurus graciosus shannoni.

Schlagintweit, Adolf (1829–1857), one of five German brothers who became naturalists and explorers, beheaded as a spy, age 28, in Kashgar.

Schmidt, Daniel Rein (1959-1987), marine biologist from the University of Kiel in Germany, killed, age 28, with a large group of others in a terrorist attack in Djibouti while waiting to board a three-month expedition of the German research vessel Meteor in the Indian Ocean.

Schmidt, Karl Patterson (1890-1957), herpetologist in Chicago, died, age 67 of a boomslang bite, after making detailed notes on his developing symptoms.   Gregory C. Meyer writes that a death scene in the B-movie classic “The Killer Shrews” was based on the incident.

Schopf, Tom (1940-1984), a specialist in marine fossils and founder of the journal Paleobiology, died of a heart attack, age 44, on a field trip in Texas.

Schweigger, August Friedrich(1783–1821), German naturalist, age 38, mur­dered by his guide on a research trip in Sicily.

Seegmiller, Richard (Rick) F.  (1952?-1983), Ph.D. candidate at the University of Arizona’s School of Renewable Natural Resources, studying desert bighorn sheep, died  in a small plane crash in the Harquahala Mountains when he was radiotracking  collared sheep.

Sellow, Friedrich (1789-1831), who gathered important materials in Brazil, most especially as a botanist and zoologist.  He drowned, age 42, crossing a river in Brazil during the conduct of his work, leaving rich collections at Berlin and Vienna

Seetzen, Ulrich. J.(1767–1811), German explorer and naturalist specializing in snakes and frogs, traveled in the Middle East disguised as a beggar. Accused of stealing cultural treasures, he was poisoned to death, age 44, apparently on the order of an Imam in what is now Yemen.

Serna, Marco Antonio (1936 – 1991),  Colombian naturalist and ornithologist, was looking to collect specimens of the hard-to-catch Little Tinamou in the Magdalena and Cauca valleys of Colombia, when he died, age 55, of a heart attack.  Here’s a Spanish-language narration of the incident.

Sherpa, Mingma (1955-2006), a member of the Janajati ethnic group, warden of the national park which contains Mount Everest, closely involved with conservation around Annapurna, killed, age 51, in a helicopter crash that took the lives of 24 people, many of them World Wildlife Fund conservationists, in eastern Nepal.

Shoshani, Jeheskel ‘Hezy’ (19??-2008), an expert in proboscidean (elephant) biology and conservation, killed, age unknown,  by a bomb explosion on a minibus in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Silberglied, Robert (1946-1982),  entomologist, field biologist at Harvard and at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in residence at Barro Colorado Island, Panama, specialized in matching larvae to adult tropical butterflies by raising them up; died, age 36, in the Air Florida accident in Washington DC.

Silliman, James R. (195?-1983), ornithologist and ecologist, graduate of the University of Arizona,  best known for his ornithological work in Nicaragua, killed, age unknown, in a car accident in Leon, Nicaragua.

Simons, Perry Oveitt (1869‒1901), an American who collected reptiles and amphibians in Peru (c.1900), and birds in Bolivia (1901), was murdered, age 32, by his guide when crossing the Andes. Seven birds, four reptiles, two amphibians, and a mammal are named after him.

Skiles, Wes (1958-2010) pioneering underwater cinematographer, still photographer and conservationist, worked with National Geographic and scientific research teams to explore caves and their hidden marine life, drowned, age 52, on assignment off the coast of Florida.

Slowinski, Joseph (1962–2001), herpetologist, age 38, in northern Burma, snakebite.

Smith, David (19tk-1991) botanist for the Missouri Botanical Gardens, had nearly completed an amazing flora of the eastern Andes when he died, age 40, from a leg infection picked up on a field expedition

Smith, Herbert H. (1851-1919) was an American naturalist and writer who, together with his wife Daisy, collected widely in South America and the Caribbean.   He was deaf and while collecting snails along the railway in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in March 1919, he was struck and killed, age 68, by a train.  The spot on the University of Alabama was later known as Smith’s Crossing.

L.S. Smith

Smith, Lindsay S. (1917-1970), Australian botanist, best known for his work on rainforest trees, particularly in New Guinea during World War II, collapsed and died, age 52,on the slopes of Mount Barney in Queensland, while preparing  a list of its plant life.

Smithwick, Richard P. (1887–1909), American ornithologist, smothered to death while digging his way into a soft bank to raid a Belted Kingfisher nest, found “with his feet only projecting through the sand,” age 22, in Virginia.

Snelling, Roy R. (1934-2008), hymenopterist, died, age 74, in Kenya on an ant collecting trip.

Snetsinger, Phoebe (1931-1999), birder famous for having seen 8400 species, most after she was diagnosed with melanoma in 1981.  She was an heiress of the Leo Burnett advertising fortune and used her wealth traveling and making field notes that have proved important in mapping species and subspecies distributions.  She died in a car accident in Madagascar, age 68, leaving four children who are now bird researchers.

Soto Arenas, Miguel Ángel (1963-2009), murdered by an unknown assailant at his home in Torreón, Coahuila, Mexico, specialized in ecology and taxonomy of orchids.

Stalker, Wilfred (1879–1910), British collector of natural history specimens in Southeast Asia, drowned, age 31, on the British Ornithological Union’s 1909 expedition to New Guinea.

Steller, Georg Wilhelm (1709-1746), pioneering botanist and zoologist in Russia and Alaska,  namesake to the Steller’s Jay, and many other species in the Northern Pacific region, died, age 37, from scurvy or fever in Siberia.

Stokes, William(?–1873), “sailor boy” on HMS Challenger, killed, age unknown, when block from oceanographers’ dredge tore loose and hit him.

Stoliczka, Ferdinand (1838–1874), Czech paleontologist and naturalist, age 36, of altitude sickness while crossing the Himalayas in Ladakh, in India.

Suhm, Rudolf von Willemoes(1847–1875), German, the youngest of the “Scientifics,” dubbed “the baron” by crew of HMS Challenger, age 28, of erysipelas, an acute streptococcus infection.

Swain, Ralph B. (1912–1953), entomologist, ornithologist, botanist, age 41, murdered by bandits in Mexico.

Swammerdam, Johann (1637–1680), Dutch naturalist, studied medicine and anatomy in Leiden, known for his work on the anatomy of insects, first to describe the phases of insect life, first to describe red blood cells, but later renounced science for religion, died, age 43, of malaria.

Swynnerton, Charles Francis Massey (1877-1938), was an English-born naturalist noted for his contributions to tsetse fly research, who died, age, 60, in Mjari, Tanzania, when his Dehavilland Leopard Moth airplane crashed as he was on route to England to receive an award for his work.

Tegner, Mia (1948?-2001), ecologist of the kelp forests for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, died, age 53, while scuba diving off California

Thaler, Konrad (1940- 2005),  Austrian arachnologist who described 77 species of Alpine and Mediterranean spiders, died, age 64, of a sudden heart attack while on a student field trip in the Alps.

Thanikaimoni, Ganapathi (1938–1986), a leading palynologist, who studied contemporary and fossil pollens, was killed, age 48, during the military assault after terrorists hijacked Pan Am Flight 73 from Karachi.  He was reportedly helping a child when hit by fragments from a grenade set off by the terrorists.

Thorbjarnarson

Thorbjarnarson, John (1957–2010), American herpetologist specializing in crocodiles, age 52, of malaria, in India.  In 2012, a biologist named a new fossil species of crocodile, the largest known, in his honor Crocodylus thorbjarnarsoni.  “He was a giant in the field, so it only made sense to name a giant after him,” said University of Iowa geoscientist Christopher Brochu.

Tillyard, Robin John (1881–1937),   British entomologist and paleontologist, also a spiritualist who was said to have searched for the archetype dipteran via séances, died, age 56, from a broken neck suffered in an automobile accident in Australia.

Thirgood,  Simon (1962-2009), vertebrate ecologist and conservation biologist, killed, age 46, by the collapse of a building during a storm in Ethiopia.

Townsend

Townsend, John Kirk (1809 –1851), American physician and naturalist, age 42, of arsenic poisoning.

Tripathy, Ambika (19??-2004), was a conservation biologist studying sea turtles on Great Nicobar Island in eastern India. He was killed, age 30 to 35, when the tsunami of December 2004 struck.  (See: Chandi, M. 2012. “A story of field assistants and sea turtle research in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.” Indian Ocean Turtle Newsletter 16:19-21.)

Tungkyitbo(?–1891), Lepcha collector working with William Doherty, hos­pitalized in Java for unknown condition, then died at sea.

Veasna, Sam (1966?-1999) Cambodian ornithologist died of malaria, age 33,  during field work in the Cardomom Mountains.

Vallée

Vallée, Anne (1958 -1982), one of the first biologists to observe the impact of climate change on animal populations, died, age 24, in an accident in the Triangle Island reserve, on the northwestern tip of Vancouver Island.

Vavilov, Nikolai (1887 – 1943),  the first modern scientist to make the connection between genetic variation and plant breeding for the purpose of improving crop plants, and feeding the hungry.  His many seedvcollecting expeditions throughout much of the world in the early 1900s are reminicent of the adventures of Indiana Jones.  He ran afoul of Joseph Stalin, and was arrested and later starved to death, age 55, in the Gulag.  Additional reading:  Where Our Food Comes From: Retracing Nikolay Vavilov’s Quest to End Hunger, by Gary Paul Nabhan (Island Press), and The Murder of Nikolai Vavilov: The Story of Stalin’s Persecution of One of the Great Scientists of the Twentieth Century, by Peter Pringle.

Vijaya, J. “Viji” (1959-1987), India’s first female herpetologist and turtle field biologist,  found dead in the forest, age 28, of unknown cause. An affectionate profile of her was published here. The turtle Vijayachelys silvatica is named in her honor.

Vishniac, Wolf V.  (1922-1973), a microbiologist at the University of Rochester in New York, devised a miniature laboratory intended to be delivered to Mars aboard one of the Viking landers to detect signs of life there.  It included a microbiological sensor, dubbed the “Wolf Trap” after its maker.  Budget cuts to the project kept the Wolf Trap on Earth, and Vishniac himself died, age 51, on Antarctica while attempting to retrieve an experiment. The crater Vishniac on Mars was named after him.  (His father was the celebrated photographer Roman Vishniac.)

Vijaya

Vijaya

Volz, Walter (1875-1907), Swiss botanist, zoologist, and ethnologist, killed, age 32, when the French attacked and destroyed the village of Bussamai (present-day Boussedou) in what is now Guinea,where he had been stranded after being abandoned by his native carriers.

Wahlberg, Johan August (1810‒1856),  Swedish naturalist, collected widely in southern Africa (1838‒1856), sending thousands of specimens home to Sweden. He was exploring the headwaters of the Limpopo River when a wounded elephant killed him. An amphibian, mammal, four birds and four reptiles are named after him.

Wallace, Herbert(1828–1850), entomologist, age 22, of yellow fever in the Amazon.

Walker, Terriss (1950-1992) prominent Queensland seabird scientist who disappeared at sea, age 42, in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia, while surveying remote seabird islands.

Walsh, Benjamin(1808–1869), the first state entomologist in Illinois, age 61, after losing his foot in a train accident. Here’s a biographic article published in 2003.

Wang, Lue Jiang (1963-2000), a promising young paleoceanographer, raised in China, did his post-doctoral research in Germany and had become a professor at Japan’s Hokkaido University. He was studying the geological history of monsoons in China using fossil planktonic foraminifera and other tools, when he died, age 37, in a diving accident.

Warncke, Klaus (1937-1993), a prolific German hymenopterist, who named over 885 new species of Palearctic bees, and died, age 56, along with his wife, Christa, when their car was struck head-on by an oncoming truck while on a field expedition in Egypt.

Webster III, T. Preston (1947-1975), herpetologist,  best known as a pioneer of gel electrophoresis techniques for elucidating species relationships, and among the first to describe “cryptic species” using molecular data. Webster conducted extensive fieldwork on the Anolis lizards of the Caribbean, as well as salamanders in the southeastern USA. He was killed, age 28, in a car crash in Montana and has since been immortalized with the names of Anolis websteri and a salamander Plethodon websteri.

Weller, Worth Hamilton (1913-1931),  fell off a cliff on Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina, age 18, while collecting specimens of a newly discovered salamander (Weller’s Salamander, Plethodon welleri).

White, Samuel(1835–1880), Australian ornithologist, age 45, of pneumonia or fever during an expedition to the Aru Islands.

Whitehead, John(1860–1899), British collector of natural history specimens in Southeast Asia, age 39, of fever in Hainan, China.

Wood, Geoffrey Howorth Spencer (1927-1957), forest botanist in Sandakan (N. Borneo or Sabah). died, age 30, of burns suffered while preparing his collections and pouring alcohol over them too near the campfire. One of his helpers carried him to the hospital, but too late.

York


Wysiekierski, Chris (1971-2001), graduate student at the University of Windsor (Canada) working on protection of coastal ecosystems, who drowned in a snorkeling accident, age 30, while conducting field research on coral reefs near Turneffe Atoll, Belize.

York, Eric (1970-2007) biologist killed, age 37, by pneumonic plague after autopsying a mountain lion in the Grand Canyon.

Yudakov, Anatoly (1938-1974), Russian zoologist who mostly studied Siberian tigers, died, age 36, after being crushed by a falling tree in Ussuriland

Zann, Richard (1943?-2007), who studied the zebra finch in field and aviary, as well as lyrebird mimicry and the fauna of Krakatau, died, age 64, with his wife and daughter in the Black Saturday bushfires of February 2007.

Read my article about Dying for Discovery here.

To learn more about how their discoveries have changed our lives, read my book The Species Seekers.  (“A swashbuckling romp…brilliantly evokes that just-before Darwin era.” BBC Focus; “An enduring story bursting at the seams with intriguing, fantastical and disturbing anecdotes.” New Scientist; “This beautifully written book has the verve of an adventure story.” Wall Street Journal )

//

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315 Responses to “The Wall of the Dead: A Memorial to Fallen Naturalists”

  1. There must be fascinating stories behind each of the naturalists in this list! I’m looking forward to reading your book.

  2. [...] This brings me to a small proposal: We go to great lengths commemorating soldiers who have died fighting wars for their countries. Why not do the same for the naturalists who still sometimes give up everything in the effort to understand life? (Neither would diminish the sacrifice of the other. In fact, many early naturalists were also soldiers, or, like Darwin aboard H.M.S. Beagle, were embedded with military expeditions.) With that in mind, I constructed a very preliminary Naturalists’ Wall of the Dead for my book, “The Species Seekers,” to at least assemble the names in one place. (A version of it can be viewed here.) [...]

  3. Chris said

    Michael Rockefeller 1938 -1961 – New Guinea, crocodiles or headhunters.

  4. Frenzel

  5. Andrew Stoehr said

    I think W.D. Hamilton deserves to be on the list. He died of malaria contracted in Africa while trying to investigate the origins of HIV.

  6. Jean-Michel Maes said

    Can add Frank Hovore, an entomologist of California, who died in expedition few years ago.
    Bye,
    JM

  7. Ryan said

    Yup, definitely WD Hamilton needs to be on the list, even if his death was the somewhat forseeable result of an old-ish man going into malarial jungles without taking anti-malarials. For what it’s worth, I got malaria (and dysentery, filariasis and giardia) while studying bonobos in the Congo in 2005, but fortunately I recovered from all!

    • Lisa Vawter said

      IMO not a fair characterization of Bill. Bill was way under-appreciated as a naturalist. Even though he was primarily a theorist, he hiked farther and climbed more trees in many more deserts, jungles and boreal forests than most any “real” naturalist I know. He had an incredible detailed knowledge of (mostly) insect behavior and ecology and was often able to point out new facts to the “experts” once they took him to their field sites.

    • David Duffy said

      he was only 63, what exactly is predictable about that? Not taking anti-malarials is another story.

  8. I understand that Linneus died from Chagas Disease, result of getting it in expeditions.

  9. Sorry my mistake, I was thinking in Darwin, not Linneus.

  10. Juan Aguirre said

    May I suggest Fernando Ortiz Crespo, Ecuadorian ornithologist who died studying birds in an Andean lake:
    I quote from the Hummer Notes webpage:

    “on 12 September 2001, our beloved Fernando drowned in a boating accident which claimed two other lives on Lake Micacocha high on Mount Antisana outside Quito, Ecuador. They were studying the birds of the lake.”
    fulll note at: http://www.hummingbirds.net/humnotes.html
    More about him in:

  11. Jane Coffey said

    Joseph Brunete – one of the two botanical artists on the Spanish Expedición Botánica of 1777-1788 to South America. He died from a fall from his burro while out in the field. He was buried in Pasco, Peru.

  12. Christopher said

    When I was a student at University of Kansas, I remember a young woman, Shannon Martin, was murdered while studying ferns in Costa Rica. She was too young to have been famous, which makes it all the more tragic. Here’s a link to a related news article: http://www.kansan.com/news/2006/may/02/martin/

  13. Gary Polis (arachnologist) – http://www.nytimes.com/2000/04/01/us/gary-allan-polis-53-an-expert-on-scorpions-and-desert-ecology.html

    Worth Hamilton Weller (herpetologist) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worth_Hamilton_Weller

  14. Karl P. Schmidt (herpetologist) – Boomslang bite – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Patterson_Schmidt

  15. pomposa said

    I think ornithologist Phoebe Snetsinger qualifies for your list (she died in a car crash on a birding trip to Madagascar in 1999). She was far more than a just a twitcher; her field notes have proved to be an invaluable aid in studying species/sub-species distribution. Many of the birds she identified have been reclassified as full species.

  16. Ariadne Angulo said

    Two great colleagues come to mind:

    Brazilian herpetologist Adão J. Cardoso died in a car accident on a herping trip (and see http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S0101-81751997000200020&script=sci_arttext for details on Adão)

    and

    Peruvian ichthyologist Fonchii Chang, who drowned in an expedition to the Pastaza River Basin when her boat capsized.

  17. Paul Sweet said

    Sam Veasna, Cambodian Ornithologist died in 1999 at the age of 33 of malaria during field work.

  18. Eugenia said

    I would certainly add the famous limnologist Peter Kilham (1943-1989), who suddenly died of perforated ulcera during a research trip in Kenya. He was a Professor at the University of Michigan, and an expert in phytoplankton ecology and in the ecology of African lakes.
    I have never had the chance to know him, but my PhD advisor, his wife Susan Kilham, always delighted me with the wonderful stories of their adventures during the field work in Africa.
    He certainly deserves to be included in your list.

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/p8317q6617q5q2w4/

    http://www.limnology.org/committees/kilham.shtml

    http://www.aslo.org/lo/toc/vol_34/issue_5/0967.pdf

  19. Eugenia said

    Shigeru Nakano (1962-2000) who died in Baja California on the same boat accident who killed the scorpion ecologist Gary Polis. Dr. Nakano was an excellent aquatic ecologist studying food webs.
    I would also include the other scientists that died in the same boat accident: Takuya Abe and Masahiko Higashi professors from the University of Kyoto, and the post-doc researcher Michael Rose.

    http://warnercnr.colostate.edu/~kurtf/nakanotribute.html

  20. Nicholas Cohen said

    What about Dian Fossey?

  21. Erik said

    Dian Fossey (1932-1985).

    Prominent zoologist and conservationist. Considered one of the world’s foremost primatologists (Mountain Gorillas) while she was alive. Found murdered in her cabin in Virunga Mountains, Rwanda (case unsolved).

    • Ryan said

      This really brings up some interesting ideas about who deserves to be memorialized. She was certainly brave and important for our understanding of mountain gorilla behavior (though not really for running expeditions to discover new species or do general ecology). But the bigger point is that *everyone* in the primatology community knew she wasn’t mentally stable enough to work in Central Africa and they tried very, very hard to keep her in America, finding her good positions, etc. She eventually went back, kidnapped villagers’ children and was, unsurprisingly, found murdered. Sad, but completely a result of her own actions (actions that many people around her knew were leading inevitably to her death). I still think she deserves on the list, but it is such an interesting story and not nearly so one-sided as people assume. In my career, I’ve worked closely with some of Fossey’s closest associates in primatology from when she was alive, so I’ve gotten some interesting information.

      • Not all saints on this list, that’s for sure.

      • Mike Quinn said

        Diane’s dedication was a *great* inspiration to me. I full think she should be included on a “Naturalists’ Wall of the Dead”…

      • Ryan said

        Certainly she deserves to be on this list — it’s more of a statement of the interesting, dynamic and morally nuanced lives many naturalists live. It’s sad that hers involved so much direct confrontation with the local people so necessary for successful conservation, but her life paved the way for training of primatologists with much better tools to successfully negotiate the difficult tightrope walk between working to change local peoples’ attitudes and actions towards nature while respecting those peoples’ traditions and values as well. And she did pave the way with the mountain gorillas.

  22. Dian Fossey?

  23. Richard –

    Outstanding project and much needed. I was on a biodiversity expedition in Papua New Guinea when I learned of the deaths of good friends Al Gentry and Ted Parker; needless to say, I was absolutely stunned.

    I would nominate Bolivian botanist Elias Meneses, who died of falsiparum malaria contracted in Pando Department (Bolivia) while collecting tree specimens. He collected several new species of trees before dying in 1979 at approximately 50 years of age.

    Saludos, Gary

  24. Lynne said

    Suggest Dr Clive Marsh, field biologist who was instrumental in establishing the Tana River Primate Reserve in Kenya and the Danum Valley Conservation Area in Sabah, 49, 1951-2000, from an encephalitis-related illness obtained during field work in Laos. Dr Marsh fell into a coma in February and died in October. Here is a link to read more:

    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Clive+Marsh.+(Memorials).-a093533234

  25. I’m surprised no one has mentioned Steve Irwin yet. I’m leaning toward saying he doesn’t belong on the list, classifying him as entertainer rather researcher. On the other hand, he was an ardent conservationist and dedicated his life to education and conservation…and died doing it. He was an amateur, certainly, but there’s a long tradition of legitimate scientific contribution and excellence by amateur naturalists far from the ivory towers. Again, I probably wouldn’t add him, but it’s food for thought.

  26. Cal Qualset said

    Frank Meyer—lost in China during plant collection expedition. Circumstances of death not known. See Isabel Cunningham’s biography of Meyer.
    Cal Qualset

  27. Maureen A. Donnelly said

    What about Ken Miyata — he died while fly-fishing. Big frog biologist in Ecuador?

  28. Maureen A. Donnelly said

    he died in the US but worked in South America — mostly in Ecuador. Wrote Tropical Nature with Adrian Forsyth.

  29. Joseph Louis Conrad Kirouac, known as Brother Marie-Victorin. Founder of the Botanical Garden in Montréal. Educator and author of a major Flora for the southern region of the Province of Québec, Canada. Died in a car accident on a plant collecting trip. Please see this Wiki:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie-Victorin

  30. Marc said

    Simon Thirgood (http://www.gla.ac.uk/departments/boydorr/people/byname/simonthirgood/), vertebrate ecologist and conservation biologist. He died in a storm in Ethiopia.

  31. Gail M. Gerhart said

    Thank you for listing my son, Nathaniel Gerhart (please note correct spelling. 1975–2007 is correct). He rediscovered the selva cacique (thought to be extinct) in 1998 in Peru. He died in a road accident while studying rain forest conservation in Indonesia.

  32. Walter Egler, Brazilian, Amazon zoologist, drowned during an expedition
    George Black (1916-1957), U.S.-born, Amazon botanist, drowned during an expedition
    Hermógenes de Freitas Leitão Filho, Brazilian botanist, died of a heart attack in the field.
    You might check your info on Georg (not George) Markgraf, who although he was a pioneering naturalist in Brazil actually died in Angola, from what I have read.
    Noel Kempff Mercado (1924-1986), Bolivian biologist, was scouting out a new national park in Santa Cruz department when his group landed at what they thought was an abandoned airstrip but turned out to be a cocaine factory. He was murdered, and the national park was subsequently named for him.
    Are you familiar with Ralph Stewart’s article, “How did they die?” see link http://www.jstor.org/stable/1222028?seq=1

  33. Maureen A. Donnelly said

    I am not sure that Bob Denno named species but he was an amazing entomologist. He died collecting butterflies in Georgia a couple of years ago.

  34. John Lawson (1674-1711), British-born early naturalist in North America, burned at the stake by angry locals. see J. Kastner, “A Species of Eternity”

  35. Mike Quinn said

    Thomas Drummond, naturalist (ca. 1790-1835)

    http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fdr08

    He collected 750 species of plants and 150 specimens of birds, a feat that stimulated the later studies of such botanical collectors as Ferdinand Jacob Lindheimer and Charles Wright. Drummond had hoped to make a complete botanical survey of Texas, but he died in Havana, Cuba, in March 1835, while making a collecting tour of that island.

  36. Stan said

    Dr. Dennis M. Devaney of the Bernice P. Bishop Museum died in a scuba-diving accident on August 13, 1983, as he was investigating shrimp offshore from the Big Island of Hawaii.

    From: http://www.tmbl.gu.se/libdb/taxon/personetymol/petymol.d.html
    Dennis M. Devaney, 1938-1983, was invertebrate zoologist at Bishop Museum. He was a specialist on ophiuroids, and disappeared on a dive collecting trip at north end of the island of Hawaii. Several species and the genus Devania are named for him [...]. (Dr. Lucius Eldredge, Bishop Museum, kindly provided this information).

  37. Fabian Michelangeli said

    Pehr Löfling (31 January 1729 – 22 February 1756) was a student of Linnaeus, and died during an expedition to what is now Venezuela. The cause of death is debated, but seems to have been either malaria or yellow fever. Löefling is believed to be the first person to bring a microscope to Venezuela, and the first naturalist to make careful observations about the flora and fauna of the country. Linnaeus later published the Iter Hispanicum based on Löfling’s notes.

  38. Kelsey Reider said

    Pablo Barbadillo was a young and very enthusiastic Spanish biologist who died in 2008 while doing his doctoral dissertation field work in Amazonian Peru. He was based at the Los Amigos Biological Station (CICRA)in the Madre de Dios department, and he was studying the populations of large reptiles and how humans interacted with them. He left CICRA for a few days in mid April to survey the reptiles and people near a small town upriver on the Madre de Dios and did not return. CICRA staff and regional police found his body many days later and the cause of death was never, to my knowledge, determined. Here are news articles about it: http://www.telecinco.es/informativos/internacional/noticia/35273/El+cuerpo+de+Pablo+Barbadillo+presentaba+muchas+mordeduras+y+picaduras

    http://www.elconfidencial.com/cache/2008/04/30/4_encuentran_muerto_joven_espanol_desaparecio_selva.html

    http://www.enlatino.com/muere-joven-espanol-en-peru?quicktabs_28=0

  39. Henk van der Werff said

    Charles Budd Robinson,1871-1913, a botanist, killed by natives while collecting plants on Ambon.
    Andrew M. Field (1955-1984), an ecologist; fell from a tree while conducting canopy research.

  40. Gregg Gorton said

    A couple of other worthy additions to the list for your consideration:

    James R. Silliman, Ph.D., ornithologist and ecologist (195?-1983), graduate of the University of Arizona – best known for his ornithological work in Nicaragua, killed in a car accident in Leon, Nicaragua in early 1983.

    Waldron DeWitt Miller (1879-1929), ornithologist, Associate Curator of Birds at the American Museum of Natural History, who was killed in a motorcycle accident just before completing a full account of the birds of Nicaragua that was to be coauthored with Ludlow Griscom of the American Museum of Natural History.

    See:

    http://www.deepdyve.com/lp/university-of-california-press/editors-note-BqJ8iMddLF

    Also: A Memorial by James Chapin in AUK, vol. XLIX, Jan., 1931

  41. james said

    Mia Tegner was an excellent marine ecologist who studied kelp forests in California. She died while scuba diving:

    http://www.ucsdguardian.org/news/scrippsscientistmiategnerdiesindivingaccident/

  42. Alan Parnass said

    Wildlife Conservation Loses Ardent Defender
    Ian Ross
    Son, brother, uncle, friend.
    Wildlife biologist.
    Born December 16, 1958 in Goderich, Ontario.
    Died June 29, 2003, age 44, near Nanyuki, Kenya in a light aircraft accident while radio tracking lions for
    the Laikipia Predator Project.

    Also the pilot who died along with Ian was an American who volunteered his time and the airplane to support research projects like Ian’s. Can’t remember his name.

  43. James Solomon said

    Josiah Gregg (1806-1850), author of “Commerce of the Prairies” (1844), merchant, plant collector, explorer, physician.

    “After the end of the expedition in the summer of 1849 Gregg sailed for San Francisco, left his field notes with Jesse Sutton, who had settled there, and joined in the gold rush to the mother-lode country. In October he led an exploring party through the uncharted redwood forests and discovered Humboldt Bay. The party named the Van Duzen and Eel rivers and other familiar landmarks in that area. On the return trip to San Francisco the group split into two, Gregg’s division turning inland to Clear Lake. Exhausted from vigorous travel, near-starvation, and continuous exposure to severe weather, Gregg died on February 25, 1850, as a result of a fall from his horse, and was buried near the lake.” Quote from Gregg article by H. Allen Anderson at the Texas State Historical Association web site, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fgr51.

  44. Richard,

    You should also add David Smith, one of the finest botanists I ever met. David worked for the Missouri Botanical Gardens and had nearly completed an amazing flora of the eastern Andes when he died Feb 7, 1991 from a leg infection picked up on a field expedition (http://www.jstor.org/pss/3391506). David and I worked together in the Chapare region of Bolivia, and barely survived a very mis-timed encounter with coca producers there (during which David barely flinched). A classic field biologist whose encyclopedic knowledge of Andean flora is now sadly lost to the world.

  45. Dietmar Schwarz said

    Another good entry would be Georg Wilhelm Steller, namesake to many species in the Northern Pacific region. Died from a fever in Siberia.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georg_Wilhelm_Steller

  46. Great post!
    You should include Marco Antonio Serna. Naturalist and Ornithologist. Colombian. 1936 – 1991. Died in the field in the Colombian Magdalena & Cauca valleys lowlands while doing fieldwork (looking for to collecting specifically specimens of the hard-to-catch Little Tinamou for the museum [that he created] of Natural History at San Jose de la Salle school where we was professor also). Marco Antonio Serna was funder of the local Antioquia Ornithological Society (SAO) where a grant fund was just established in his honor (http://www.sao.org.co/clasificados/BecasMarcoAntonioSernaSAO.pdf). A neat video of Ramon Cadavid (field partner of collecting expeditions of Marco Antonio) narrating the trip when Marco Antonio died is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UihgbaE0M_I (only Spanish)

  47. Luisa said

    I would like to nominate the legendary California field ornithologist and conservationist Michael San Miguel (1939-2010), who died last July while conducting an owl survey in the San Gabiels: an environmental survey in Angeles National Forest for a SoCal Edison transmission project. Heartbreaking obit here, written by another great California ornithologist, Kimball Garrett:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/inlandcountybirds/message/7831

    An appreciation from eBird:

    http://ebird.org/content/ebird/about/past-ebirders-of-the-month#section-3

    And more from the Los Angeles Times:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/science/environment/la-me-michael-san-miguel-20100717,0,1643002.story

  48. Chris said

    Try Margaret Mee, 1909 – 1988

  49. machel malay said

    Leonardo Co was born in 1953.

  50. Benito C. Tan said

    Dear Richard,

    Thanks for including the report of the tragic and untimely death of Mr. Leonardo Co in the Philippines in 2010. Mr. Co is probably the only unfortunate one in the botanical history of the Philippines who died by being gunned down by reckless soldiers in the field who took the group of plant collectors as members of the underground rebels of the Philippine Communist Party without asking first for the identity.

    Here is his birth and dead dates of Mr. Co for your record documentation.

    Mr. Leonardo Co (Dec 29, 1953 – Nov. 15, 2010).

  51. Jim Wetterer said

    Roy R. Snelling (1934-2008) Hymenopterist. He died in Kenya on an ant collecting trip.

  52. John Payne said

    Louis Aggasiz Fuertes (1874 – 1927), one of the most influential naturalists and painters of his day. There is a Wikipedia page with links to his art at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Agassiz_Fuertes. He participated in many expeditions to remote places, including the Harriman expedition to Alaska, several trips in Central and South America, and a major expedition to Abyssinia (Ethiopia). He was killed at the age of 53 by a train that struck his car at a crossing near his home town of Ithaca, NY.

  53. Hans Nooteboom said

    Geoffrey Howorth Spencer Wood (1927, Vowchurch, Hereforshire, England; Forest botanist in Sandakan (N. Borneo or Sabah)died May 6,Kuala Belait, N. Borneo while preparing his collections and pouring alcohol over them too near to the campfire. He burned to dead. One of his helpers caried him to civilation, but too late.

  54. Humayun Taher said

    Jean Pierre Armand David (1826 – 1900) also known as Père David deserves a mention here. He was a French Missionary worker who did extensive work in China. In fact, the famous Père David’s Deer in England are a direct result of his works.

  55. Thank you all for these suggestions, most of which I have now added to the list. I have omitted Charles Darwin, Armand David, Margaret Mee, and Louis Aggasiz Fuertes because, while undoubtedly admirable and important, all died at home at a natural age, if not of natural causes.

    I have omitted Steve Irwin because so much of his work was about getting in the faces of animals, rather than watching and learning from them.

    • Melanie Bond said

      I thought Margaret Mee was killed in a traffic accident in England. I remember thinking that she survived all those trips up the Amazon, only to be killed in the UK. Wikipedia says “Margaret Mee died following a car crash in Seagrave, Leicestershire on 30 November 1988. She was 79 years old. In January 1989 a memorial to her life, botanical work and environmental campaigning took place in Kew Gardens.” I heard her speak at the Smithsonian, and I think she fits your criteria.

  56. Andy Kratter said

    David Gaines (1947-1988) , who studied birds in the Sierra Nevada, should be added. He was the main impetus behind saving Mono Lake from SoCal’s unquenchable desire for water. He is author of The Birds of the Yosemite and the East Slope. He died in a car accident near Mono Lake. A good biography is at http://creagrus.home.montereybay.com/CAwhoDAG.html.

    Also, Joe Slowinski was the Curator of Herpetology at the California Academy of Sciences when he died.

  57. Ian Swift said

    J. Linsley Gressitt, 1914-1982, entomologist, died in a plane crash in China

    http://resources.metapress.com/pdf-preview.axd?code=l760786817632463&size=largest

  58. Andrea Worthington said

    I am touched by this list of naturalists.
    Please add
    Robert Silberglied (1946-1982) http://siarchives.si.edu/findingaids/FARU7316.htm#FARU7316h
    He was an entomologist, field biologist, Associate professor and Curator of Lepidoptera at Harvard, Researcher at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in residence at Barro Colorado Island, Panama, and did field work in the US, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Colombia. One of his specialities was matching larvae to adult tropical butterflies by raising them up. He died in the Air Florida accident in Washington DC in January 1982.

  59. Kevin Baldwin said

    I seem to recall a female grad student who was working at a field station in eastern California during the mid-1990’s, who contracted Hanta virus and died. Can’t remember her name. Maybe this note will jog some memories,…

    Minor corrections: Shannon Martin was at the University of Kansas, not Kansas University. Michael San Miguel likely died in the San Gabriel Mtns. (not Gabiel).

    Thanks for initiating this project!

  60. Jim Wetterer said

    Inn-Siang Ooi was a PhD student in botany at University of Miami from Malaysia who died at age 24 of stings from Africanized honey bees during an OTS field course in Costa Rica in 1986.

  61. Haroldo C. de Lima said

    Can add Walter Egler, a brazilian botanist, who died tragically during an expedition to Jauarí River, Pará, in 1961.

  62. Annie Ray said

    C. V. Riley was among the most famous entomologists in US History. He was responsible for implementing biological control for citrus scale in California, rescuing the fledgling citrus industry there. He was also awarded the French Legion of Honor for “saving” the European wine industry from phylloxera.

    “On September 14, 1895 Riley died in a fatal bicycle accident. As he was riding rapidly down a hill, the bicycle wheel struck a granite paving block dropped by a wagon. He catapulted to the pavement and fractured his skull. He was carried home on a wagon and never regained consciousness. He died at his home the same day at the age of 52, leaving his wife with six children.”–direct quote from Wikipedia, and the information is, as far as I know, true.

  63. jonas said

    Rocky Spencer, killed by a helicopter rotor while radio collaring big horned sheep in Washington State

  64. John Karges said

    J. Stuart Rowley, an ornithologist and vertebrate specimen collector in the 1960s perhaps associated with the Univ. California at Berkeley, http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Stuart_Rowley
    Wrote an account of breeding birds of the Sierra Madre del Sur, Oaxaca, Mexico, in 1966 and was well known for his mammal and other vertebrate specimen collections for US museums. I had heard through the museum community that he was found murdered, the attached obituary lists the 1968 date of death but I could find no other details on his life or passing.

    • John Karges said

      Charles Bogert (1968, AMNH Novitates #2341) described the snake Bothrops rowleyi (now Bothriechis rowleyi) in 1968, the year of Rowley’s death with the annotation that “Mr. Rowley was killed when he fell from a cliff in the Sierra de Cuatro Venados in May, 1968, while this account was in press” and Bogert acknowledged much of Rowley’s endeavors with vertebrate research in southern Oaxaca and the Isthmus of Tehauntepec, Mexico.

  65. Herpetologist Joe Slowinski must be on this list. Killed on 9/11/2001. By a misidentified krait in an expedition to Burma:

    http://www.myspace.com/samurainofukuoka/blog/161600710

    And Prince Ruspoli, who gave his name to one of world’s most beautiful, threatened and rare birds, the Ethiopian endemic Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco, whose first specimen was found in the prince’s hunting bag after he was trampled to death by an elephant

    http://www.birdlife.org/community/2010/11/ethiopian-surveys-find-high-densities-of-prince-ruspolis-turaco-but-highlight-threats/

    Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco (Vulnerable), is a macaw-sized bird with scarlet and navy-blue wings, long tail and green-and-white head. It was first discovered among the personal effects of Prince Ruspoli after he was crushed to death by an elephant in 1893. As the unfortunate nobleman had not had time to label the specimen, its origins remained a mystery for half a century before the species was seen in the wild by an English naturalist in southern Ethiopia.

  66. Mike Quinn said

    Charles Valentine Riley (1843-1895), one of the greatest North American entomologists who ever lived, dieds of a fatal bicycle accident at 52. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Valentine_Riley

  67. [...] of naturalists who lost their lives in the cause of discovery and I have been adding them to the Wall of the Dead.  This one, suggested by reader Cagan Sekercioglu in Utah, caught my [...]

  68. Jeff Humphries said

    Worth Hamilton Weller (1913-1931), at the age of 18 fell off a cliff on Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina while collecting specimens of a newly discovered salamander (Weller’s Salamander, Plethodon welleri). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worth_Hamilton_Weller

  69. Max Barclay said

    Hi- my comments don’t seem to have come up, they were

    Frederik Adolph de Roepstorff 1842 – 1883; entomologist, ornithologist and anthropologist; shot dead in the Andaman Islands

    Stanislav Becvar senior, shot by soldiers in Laos while collecting beetles http://www.dailyinfo.co.uk/polcaus/becvars.html

    ?Joy and George Adamson (lions: Africa; Murdered)

    There were two others- a Czech beetle person who died quietly under a tree in Indochina in the last couple of years, and a German moth expert who died in a car smash in Thailand about 10 years ago while collecting.

    Also, is Captain Cook eligible??

    Fantastic idea, Good luck
    Max

    • Neal Evenhuis said

      I see Captain Cook listed but he was not really the naturalist on board during his three voyages into the Pacific – an explorer yes, naturalist, not really. Banks, Solander, Forster were the naturalists who disembarked to collect. Cpt. Jim did the bargaining at the shoreline.

  70. Paul White said

    Robert Mertens, 1894-1975. Herpetologist. Did a lot of work with lizards. Died at old age of a twig snake bite.

  71. Gail M. Gerhart said

    Nathaniel Gerhart: please don’t describe him as a “birdwatcher”–he was a serious ornithologist. Thanks.

    Phoebe Snetsinger: there is a book about her, “Life List” by Olivia Gentile, in addition to her own autobiography, “Birding on Borrowed Time”.

  72. Guy Webster said

    A tribute to these dedicated researchers is a great idea. I thought immediately of Rick Seegmiller, a graduate student who perished in 1983 while studying bighorn sheep in the Harquahala Mountains of Arizona, shortly after I met him. Looking up reference information to provide more details, I learned that the University of Arizona already has a memorial garden “dedicated to those who have lost their lives working for Arizona’s wildlife resources.” A Web page about the garden, at http://www.aztws.org/Memorial_Garden.htm, offers information about Seegmiller and six other men. Most of them died during wildlife management activities (game surveys, emergency feeding sorties, etc.), but Rick was conducting more basic ecological research. Here’s the statement about him from the memorial garden’s site:
    Richard (Rick) F. Seegmiller. Ph.D. candidate. Rick was a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Arizona’s School of Renewable Natural Resources, studying desert bighorn sheep in the Harquahala Mountains near Salome. The 31-yr old had previously completed his Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife management and a Masters of Science in Zoology at Arizona State University. He was already well published and respected on the ecology of desert ungulates, particularly bighorn sheep. Rick died on February 6, 1983 in a small plane crash in the Harquahala Mountains when he was radiotracking the collared sheep. The pilot and another observer on the flight escaped fatal injury in the crash.

  73. Rich Reaves said

    Erwin Evert definitely needs to be on your list.

    “Erwin F. Evert (2/13/1940 – 6/17/2010), had a “fatal encounter with a grizzly bear” June 17, 2010, while on his daily botanical walk in the Shoshone National Forest oy Wyoming. He spent nearly 40 years botanizing in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem and found five new species of plants. SHortly before his death, Mr. Erwin published Vascular Plants of the Greater Yellowstone Area: An Annotated Catalog and Atlas.

    You can get more details on this man at: http://uwlib5.uwyo.edu/blogs/rm_herbarium/2010/07/28/erwin-everts-death-publication-of-flora-greater-yellowstone-area/
    or from the fall 2010 CAstilleja, the newsletter of the Wyoming Native Plant Society

  74. Ronald Pine said

    Richard G. Van Gelder. Mammalogist at American Museum of Natural History. Died fairly young and in the US I believe. He got falciparum malaria from being in the field in Kenya. He told me that he reckoned he got it at “Treetops.” I’ve heard that his eventual death was brought on by the ongoing effects of the malaria. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of that statement but if you can’t find anything easily online about this, I can ask some people who should know. Also a guy named A. (Abel?) Fornes, an Argentine mammalogist who died young from hydrocyanic gas in a well in which he was trying to kill, by use of the gas, a colony of vampire bats. His gas mask leaked. Again, if you can’t easily find anything on this, let me know and I’ll try to ask around.

  75. Arthur O. Tucker said

    Timothy Plowman (1944-1989), monographer of the genus Erythroxylum and eminent Amazonian ethnobotanist stationed at the Field Museum in Chicago, died of AIDS received as a result of “pre-trip inoculations.” Wade Davis has written much about him. Stories circulate among botanists that a dirty needle was used at the border of Venezuela, others insist it was Peru, in a forced yellow fever inoculation, but beyond “pre-trip inoculations,” nothing else can be certified from published sources.

    Tom E. Lockwood (1941-1975), monographer of the genus Brugmansia and Professor of Botany at the University of Illinois-Urbana, died during of an auto accident in Mexico during a field trip with students.

    Both were students of Schultes at Harvard.

  76. John Rotenberry said

    I’d like to nominate two colleagues, Dick Fitzner and Les Eberhardt, wildlife ecologists who died in a plane crash in the Columbian Basin while doing aerial radio-telemetry surveys. Link to a memorium published by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, for whom they both worked as environmental scientists: http://science-ed.pnl.gov/awards/memory.stm

    The Fitzner-Eberhardt Arid Lands Ecology Reserve, part of the Hanford Reach National Monument, is named in their honor: http://www.physics.uci.edu/gravity/ALE/alefactsheet.pdf

  77. Jim Hayward said

    Thank you for this list, a very nice tribute to those who have died in the line of service.

    Please make one correction. On June 3, 1992, Dick Fitzner, died in a plane crash while studying Sage Grouse. He was an employee of Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratories and was under contract with the U.S. Army. The accident occurred atop Yakima Ridge, Northeast of Yakima, Washington, in the Army’s Yakima Firing Center, not in the Amazon as noted in the “Wall of the Dead”. Dick was 45 years old. He preceded me as a Ph.D. student under Don E. Miller at Washington State University. See the following reports:

    http://www.pnl.gov/ecomon/Docs/bemp.pdf

    http://www.seattlepi.com/archives/1992/9206040074.asp

    http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19920604&slug=1495397

  78. [...] column, of naturalists who died in the course of discovery. The several dozen additions to The Wall of the Dead include an Italian prince who was trampled to death by an enraged elephant (but discovered one of [...]

  79. John M said

    Johann Baptist Ritter von Spix died of schistosomiasis contracted in S. America. The Spix macaw is named for him.

  80. Jeff Chemnick said

    Leo Schibli (1958-2004) of SERBO in Oaxaca involved with scores of botanical field trips to survey the flora of Oaxaca and consequently discovered several new species of plants including cycads and orchids died of a heart attack at the age of 46.

  81. tinyfrogs said

    I don’t know the name, but sometime in the mid or late 1990’s (1997?) a graduate student studying at Palo Verde Biological Station in Costa Rica was killed by a swarm of Africanized bees. They told us all about it when we visited as undergraduates in 1998.

    Quick google search did not produce a name.

    • Mike Quinn said

      This was Inn Siang Ooi, a botany student from the University of Miami. In 1986, he was on a steep Costa Rican hillside when he encountered a large, exposed nest of Africanized bees. He fell or climbed into a crevice and became stuck. Three rescuers trying to reach him were stung so badly they collapsed. Ooi’s body was retrieved after dark, when the bees returned to their nest. He had been stung 8,000 times, an average of seven stings per square centimeter.

      Winston, M.L. 1992. Killer Bees: The Africanized Honey Bee in the Americas. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.
      Pg 51.

      Excerpts from the local Miami paper:

      UM Student Dead
      Attacked By Bees While In Costa Rica
      August 09, 1986|By JEAN THOMPSON, Sun Sentinel, Miami Bureau

      The student, Inn-Siang Ooi, 24, who was on a study excursion was stung to death July 31 by a swarm of the fierce bees while he explored a rocky, cave- filled hillside at a wildlife refuge 150 miles northwest of San Jose.

      An autopsy performed in San Jose determined that Ooi suffered about 46 bee stings per square inch of his body. Doctors there called it the first death in Costa Rica caused by a bee attack.

      Ooi [was] a graduate of Knox College in Illinois…

      “His plan was to be involved in environmental research and improved agricultural development in Malaysia after getting his degree,” Savage said.

      http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1986-08-09/news/8602170108_1_inn-siang-ooi-bee-attack-killer-bees

      or: http://bit.ly/fViIT6

  82. Wes said

    Although his body was never found, Percy Harrison Fawcett, the famous British explorer who disappeared in the Amazon in the early 20th century could be a good addition to this list.

  83. Neal Evenhuis said

    This is an excellent website and way overdue. I had been independently collecting names of entomologists who died unnatural deaths and had recently expanded that to include all naturalists. A small portion of these have been published (just those entomologists who died researching flies) as I herewith supply a link to the pages of that pdf file. I have another 100 names — many of which are in addition to those persons listed here, but as such, the list is too lengthy to post all with all their stories. Let me know how to get these files to you. <a href="http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/dipterists/dead-fly-workers.pdf&quot; http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/dipterists/dead-fly-workers.pdf

  84. Another figure to add to your impressive list is Friedrich Sellow (1789-1831), who gathered important materials in Brazil, most especially as a botanist and zoologist. He drowned crossing a river in Brazil during the conduct of his work, leaving rich collections at Berlin and Vienna.

  85. Gabriel Aguirre said

    How about Reginald Farrer?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reginald_

    Farrer

  86. Nike Doggart said

    I propose Jan Kielland.
    Jan Kielland 1923 – 1995, author of Butterflies of Tanzania, spent 50 years studying butterflies across Tanzania. He described and published 144 taxa of Afrotropical butterflies. He was killed when his car hit a stranded lorry in the dark on his way to get permits for a survey in southern Tanzania.

  87. Erin Kane said

    Eight rangers in Parc National Des Virungas in DRC (mostly organized around mountain gorilla conservation) were killed yesterday in an attack, probably perpetrated by the FDLR.

    http://gorillacd.org/blog/

  88. Ed Saugstad said

    One of those on the Dead Fly Workers list (posting no. 79) is Ernest Gerald Gibbins (1900-1942), who did research on mosquitoes and black flies, speared to death by locals in Uganda while he was investigating a yellow fever outbreak. Apparently, his attackers believed that the blood samples he was taking were intended for witchcraft purposes. An investigating policeman was quoted as saying that Gibbins’ body was “…as full of spears as a bloody porcupine.”
    The mosquito Anopheles gibbinsi is named for him.

  89. For Karl Patterson Schmidt (who famously published a posthumous paper describing the early symptoms of his fatal snakebite), the story of his death is briefly retold, with links (including to Chicago newspaper articles) and literature citations, in my recent post at Why Evolution Is True: http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2010/11/15/science-goes-to-hollywood-favorite-movie-scenes-3/

  90. Anne Vallée (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Vall%C3%A9e)
    Kirsty M Brown (http://www.antarctic-monument.org/index.php?page=kirsty-brown)

  91. Gregg Gorton said

    How could I forget to mention Maria Koepcke (1924-1971), one of the most famous Neotropical ornithologists? Born and trained in Germany, she moved to Peru in 1950, where she collaborated with her husband Hans-Wilhelm Koepcke, and eventually became Curator of Ornithology at the Natural History Museum in Lima. She wrote and illustrated Las Aves del Departamento de Lima (1964), translated as The Birds of the Department of Lima (1970), which appeared shortly before her death in an airplane crash over Amazonia on Christmas Eve, 1971. The Koepcke’s 17-year-old daughter, Juliane, was the lone survivor, who fell thousands of feet while still strapped to her chair. Mother and daughter had been flying to meet Hans-Wilhelm at a field station in Amazonia for the holiday. Despite injuries, Juliane managed to walk for ten days until she was found, always following waterways downhill, as she had been taught to do if ever lost. Two movies, one by Werner Herzog, have been made about her miraculous survival, and–now a well-known mammalogist–she will publish her memoir (in German), When I Fell From the Sky, in March, 2011. Her mother, Maria, was honored by having three birds named in her honor: Koepcke’s Screech Owl, Koepcke’s Hermit, and Selva Cacique (Cacicus koepckeae).

  92. Max Barclay said

    Joy Adamson (20 January 1910 – 3 January 1980) (born Friederike Victoria Gessner) was a naturalist, artist and author best known for her book, Born Free, which describes her experiences raising a lion cub named Elsa. Born Free was printed in several languages and made into an Academy Award-winning movie of the same name. Found murdered in her camp, made to look like it had been done by a lion.

  93. Max Barclay said

    George Adamson (3 February 1906 – 20 August 1989), also known as the “Baba ya Simba” (“Father of Lions” in Swahili), was a British wildlife conservationist and author. He and his wife Joy Adamson are best known through the movie Born Free and best selling book with the same title, which is based on the true story of Elsa the Lioness, an orphaned lioness cub they raised and later released into the wild. Shot dead in Kora reserve by Somali bandits

  94. Max Barclay said

    I love this idea!

    Edith Holden 1871-1920, British naturalist and natural history illustrator, most famous for ‘Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady’, fell into the River Thames at Kew and drowned while collecting blossom from a horse chestnut tree for an illustration.

  95. Max Barclay said

    Marton Hreblay (1963-2000) killed in a car accident while collecting Lepidoptera (Noctuidae) in northern Thailand.

  96. Max Barclay said

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Maxwell-Lefroy

    I will leave it to you whether you consider Maxwell Lefroy as eligible or not; he accidentally poisoned himself while exploring chemicals for killing (rather than discovering) insects

  97. Max Barclay said

    Norman Veitch Lothian (Dr., Major) killed in a car accident in
    May 1929 in Beyreuth while researching malaria. An American malariologist and fellow member of the League of Nations Malaria Commission ‘Dr. Darling’ was killed in the same accident, and the ‘Lothian Scholarship’ and ‘Darling Prize’ for Malaria research were created in their honour.

  98. Ed Saugstad said

    I’m not sure if he qualifies, but a former acquaintance of mine, Dr. (PhD) Michael Perich, an entomologist employed by LSU who was working on the epidemiology of West Nile virus, died in an automobile accident near Baton Rouge in October 2003. However, the news account at the time (http://tinyurl.com/4cq24r5) did not specify whether the accident was work-related.

  99. Max Barclay said

    Here’s the correct data on Lothian & Darling

    Norman Veitch Lothian 31/7/1889 – 21/5/1925
    Scottish Medical entomologist and League of Nations Malaria commission ‚Field Epidemiologist’

    Samuel Taylor Darling 6/4/1872– 21/5/1925
    ‚Darling of Panama’: US Medical entomologist and member of the League of Nations Malaria commission

    killed in the same car accident in Beirut, while researching malaria mosquito epidemiology in the near-east. ‘Lothian Scholarship’ and ‘Darling Prize’ for Malaria research were created in their honour.

  100. Don Cipollini said

    Here’s a link to a memorium for Dr. David Maehr, late of the University of Kentucky: http://www.ca.uky.edu/forestry/memoriam.pdf

  101. Warren W. Aney said

    Professor Aldo Leopold (1887-1948), father of wildlife ecology who helped found The Wildlife Society and the Wilderness Society, died of a heart attack while battling a wildfire on his neighbor’s property.

    And can you come up with a better name than “The Wall of the Dead”? Sounds like someting from a horror movie. Maybe something along the line of “The Wall of Honor.”

  102. Edward F. Ricketts (1897-1948), marine biologist, author of still-used littoral zone handbook “Between Pacific Tides,” killed by a train at an intersection in Monterey, California.

  103. Mike Bush said

    Three avian biologist from Florida Atlantic University died a couple of years back in a plane crash in the Everglades conducting wading bird monitoring. Not exactly discovering new species, but promising young scientists that died in pursuit of biological knowledge nonetheless. Knowledge that may prove invaluable for conservation biology.

    http://www.science.fau.edu/biology/gawliklab/memorial/memorial.html

  104. Rebecca said

    Fatal plane crash, several conservation biologists and WWF employees, 23 September 2006:

    http://www.nepalitimes.com/issue/2006/09/29/Remembrance/12575

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/28/AR2006092801877.html

  105. Ne said

    Joan Root

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Root

  106. Kathy Hall said

    Dr. Carlos Goenaga, a coral researcher in Puerto Rico, died at 42 when a huge wave washed him off a rock, while searching for an illusive mollusk with his students.

  107. Robert Ross said

    LueJiang Wang (1963-2000), a promising young paleoceanographer, died in a diving accident. Raised in China, he did post-doctoral research in Germany and had become a professor in Japan at Hokkaido University. He was studying the geological history of monsoons in China using fossil planktonic foraminifera and other tools.

  108. Robert Ross said

    Annette Barthelt (1963-1987), Marco Buchalla (1959-1987), Hans-Wilhelm Halberg (1963-1987), Daniel Rein Schmidt (1959-1987): These four young marine biologists from the University of Kiel in Germany were all killed in a terrorist attack in Djibouti while waiting to board a three-month expedition of the German research vessel Meteor in the Indian Ocean. (Thirteen were killed in all, and four other Kiel scientists were seriously wounded.)

    http://www.annette-barthelt-stiftung.de/index.htm#Sprengladung

  109. Robert Ross said

    Katsumi Abe (c.1953-1998) was a brilliant young Japanese researcher of the evolution and behavior of planktonic bioluminescent ostracodes (minute crustaceans known in Japan as “marine fireflies”). He died not while in the field, but driving home late from a seminar (a more general academic risk). One well-told tale by Todd Oakley is here: http://evolutionarynovelty.blogspot.com/2008/09/ostrablog-5-three-shows-and-funeral.html.

  110. Félix Rodriguez De la Fuente was the best known spanish broadcaster and naturalist of the past century. He died while working in a plane crash in Alaska (U.S.A.). A statement on its aniversary : http://ser-vivo.blogspot.com/2010/03/aniversario-de-felix-rodriguez-de-la.html

  111. Félix Rodríguez De la Fuente was the best known spanish broadcaster and naturalist of the past century. He died while working in a plane crash in Alaska. Reminder of the anniversary of his death : http://ser-vivo.blogspot.com/2010/03/aniversario-de-felix-rodriguez-de-la.html

  112. Ben Crain said

    Orchid biologist- Miguel Ángel Soto Arenas, assassinated in his home. See Hágsater 2010 in Lankasteriana

    Also, Universidad de los Andes students Margarita Gomez and Matthew Matamala Neme, shot multiple times while in San Bernardo de Viento on January 11, 2011 while documenting biodiversity on Caribbean Beaches.

  113. Terri Wentworth-Davis said

    How about these three-

    Rachel Carson- who I think, ironically, died of breast cancer
    John James Audubon- not sure if he died of natural causes
    John Muir- died of pneumonia

  114. Rachel said

    Eric York, biologist killed by pulmonic plague after autopsying a mountain lion in the Grand Canyon. 1970-2007,

    http://www.felidaefund.org/about_us/memorial.html

  115. Joe Mitchell said

    Wonderful project. I submit three I did not see in your list.

    Edward Flanders Robb Ricketts (14 May 1897 – 11 May 1948), better known as Doc in Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, pioneering marine ecologist, wrote Between Pacific Tides, still in print, and co-wrote Sea of Cortez with John Steinbeck. Died when a train hit his car in Monterey, CA.

    also

    John R.H. Gibbons (1946-1986), herpetologist, decribed several species of lizards in Fiji, including the spectacular Fiji Island iguana. Died along with his entire family in a boating accident off the island of Lekeba.

    and

    Clarence J. McCoy (1935-1993). Curator of herpetology at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, PA. Described new lizards, turtles,salamaners, and an amphisbaenian in North and South America. Died of a heart attack age 57.

  116. 220mya said

    Jeheskel ‘Hezy’ Shoshani – An expert in proboscidean (elephant) biology, he was killed by a bomb explosion on a minibus in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on May 21, 2008.

  117. Abramchuk, Siarhei (1984-2010), Belarusian young promising ornithologist, of encephalitis after a tick bite in the national park “Belavezhskaya pushcha”, Belarus.

  118. Joe Mitchell said

    Skiles, Wes (1958-2010). pioneering underwater cinematographer, still photographer and conservationist, worked with National Geographic and scientific research teams to explore caves and their hidden marine life, died on assignment off the coast of Florida.

  119. lukemahler said

    T. Preston Webster III (1947-1975), herpetologist, killed in a car crash in Montana, USA. Webster was best known as a pioneer of gel electrophoresis techniques for elucidating species relationships, and he was among the first to describe “cryptic species” using molecular data. Webster conducted extensive fieldwork on the Anolis lizards of the Caribbean, as well as salamanders in the southeastern USA. He has since been immortalized with the names of an anole (Anolis websteri; Arnold 1980) and a salamander (Plethodon websteri; Highton 1979).

  120. planesmith said

    The list is well worthwhile – as some comments make clear not everyone is a saint but their passing and the work they have done is still worth acknowledging.

  121. David A. Johnston (1949-1980), American vulcanologist with USGS, killed by the eruption of Mount St. Helens.

    (If you don’t mind my expanded view of what constitutes a naturalist.)

  122. Ken Dodd said

    I suggest adding J. (Viji) Vijaya (1959-1987). India’s first female herpetologist and turtle field biologist. She was found dead of unknown cause in the forest. A profile of her was published in: http://www.seaturtle.org/iotn/pdfs/issue-4/iotn4_9.pdf

  123. Fred Robinette said

    Herbert L. Stoddard (1889-1970one of the most important southern conservationists of the twentieth century, developed a method of forest management in the longleaf-wiregrass region of Georgia that is still widely practiced today. Also known as an authority on the bobwhite quail, Stoddard advocated the reintroduction of fire as a land management tool, at a time when powerful forest interests considered burns to be a plague on the land. Along with his friend and colleague Aldo Leopold, Stoddard also helped to establish the profession of wildlife management, and he was among the first to critique from an ecological perspective the nation’s move toward industrialized agriculture

    Archie Fairly Carr, Jr. (June 16, 1909–May 21, 1987) was a Professor of Zoology at the University of Florida, a herpetologist, ecologist and a pioneering conservationist. In 1987 he was awarded the Eminent Ecologist Award by the Ecological Society of America. He made extraordinary contribution to sea turtle conservation by way of bringing attention to the world’s declining turtle populations due to over-exploitation and loss of safe habitat.

  124. David Pilliod said

    Check out the publication:

    http://www.jstor.org/stable/3784446

  125. Dreux Watermolen said

    I suggest this addition:

    Stanley Dodson, a Univeristy of Wisconsin freshwater ecologist who focused on zooplankton community ecology and population ecology of Daphnia, died in 2009 following a bicycle accident in Colorado.

    More information at http://news.ls.wisc.edu/?p=1122

  126. What about Jaques Cousteau and Steve Irwin “The Crocodile Hunter” –these heroic naturalists and conservationists truly need to be on this list.

    Jacques-Yves Cousteau (11 June 1910 – 25 June 1997) was a French naval officer, explorer, ecologist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water. He co-developed the aqua-lung, pioneered marine conservation and was a member of the Académie française. He was also known as “le Commandant Cousteau” or “Captain Cousteau”.

    Stephen Robert Irwin (22 February 1962 – 4 September 2006) Australian television personality, wildlife expert, and conservationist.
    Irwin achieved worldwide fame from the television series The Crocodile Hunter, an internationally broadcast wildlife documentary series which he co-hosted with his wife Terri. Together, the couple also co-owned and operated Australia Zoo, founded by Irwin’s parents in Beerwah, about 80 km (50 miles) north of the Queensland state capital city of Brisbane.

    Irwin died on 4 September 2006 after being pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while filming in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Since her husband’s death, Terri Irwin has continued to operate Australia Zoo and raise their two children. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship MY Steve Irwin was named in his honour.

  127. Hearn, Mike (1972-2005)
    He was surfing, between stints in the field with the Save The Rhino Trust, Northern Namibia

    http://savetherhinotrust.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8:mike-hearn&catid=2:background&Itemid=2

  128. Michael Marangio said

    I’d like to add James D. Anderson, herpetologist and taxonomist who described several snake and salamander species. His name was memorialized in Ambystoma andersoni, a species he discovered in Mexico. He was my major professor at Rutgers in Newark, N.J. Died in the early 1980s in a car accident on a field trip to study bog turtles.

  129. Max Barclay said

    Otakar Brodsky (?- 1986) died of a heart attack while collecting Cleridae beetles in a rainforest in Vietnam; what I heard was that he was seated under a tree with his collecting equipment in his hands, and his colleagues didn’t immediately realise he was dead…

  130. small correction concerning Brown, Kirsty M. : according to wikipedia she worked for the British Antarctic “Survey” not the British Antarctic “Service”,
    the wikipedia entry is referenced with links from NewScientist and National Geographic

  131. correction and expansion for Helfer, Johan Wilhelm: his name was Helfer, Johann Wilhelm, born in Prague, died through poison dart in the Andaman Islands

  132. Many Australians will remember Richard Zann, who studied the Zebra Finch in field and aviary, as well as lyrebird mimicry and the fauna of Krakatau. He died aged 64 with his wife and daughter in the Black Saturday bushfires of February 2007. Sadly missed.

  133. Lev Kaplanov (1910-1943), the first researcher of Siberian tiger biology in the wild, killed by poachers in Ussuriland.

  134. Sergey said

    Uldis Knakis, russian wild biologist, 1939-1970. Killed by poachers.
    l (text in Russian)

  135. Victor said

    Maria del Pilar Franco Rosselli (1950-2000). Colombian botanist of the Instituto de Ciencias Naturales who died while collecting plants of the genus in the Andes.

    • Victor said

      Maria del Pilar Franco Rosselli (1950-2000). Colombian botanist of the Instituto de Ciencias Naturales who died while collecting plants of the genus Cecropia in the Andes.

  136. Pavel Krestov said

    Hoshino Michio was killed by a brown bear while on assignment in Kurilskoye Lake, Kamchatka, Russia in 1996

  137. [...] that have gone extinct over the past 30 years.  So it occurred to me to make something like my Wall of the Dead–A Memorial to Fallen Naturalists, but for lost plants and [...]

  138. Michael Grzhimek (1934-1959), German zoologist and environmentalist, died in a plane crash in Serengeti.

    Nina Epova (1920-1960), Russian botanist, drowned during a river crossing in Khamar Daban Mountains. Her research led to the creation of Baikal Nature Reserve.

    Emanuelle Gallman (1966-1983), Italo-Kenyan self-taught herpetologist, died from a puff adder bite at Ol Ari Nyiro.

    Anatoly Yudakov (1938-1974), Russian zoologist who mostly studied Siberian tigers, died after being crushed by a fallen tree in Ussuriland.

  139. Stevens said

    Rudolf Kaufmann, German paleontologist; made early contributions to the study of allopatric speciation. Was persecuted in Nazi Germany because of his German heritage. Shot by guards in Lithuania in 1941, while trying to flee.

  140. Vitaly Nikolaenko (1938-2003), zoologist at Kronotsky Nature Reserve, Kamchatka, and a world-famous nature photographer, killed by a brown bear. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitaly_Nikolayenko

  141. I’ve attended the Sandhill Crane Festival here for many years and have been involved with the volunteer committee for the last few. We have a speaker who talks about the life of Leopold and his daughter also attends and gives talks. She’s also a naturalist and a researcher.

    That said, I enjoyed reading this post and I’m going to follow your blog as I find your topics very interesting.

  142. Tom Shahady said

    I could not find where Dr. Elisha Mitchell is listed? He determined that Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina was the highest peak east of the Mississippi – later during one of his expeditions he slipped and fell 40 feet to his death.

  143. Shawn said

    Ryan Beaulieu (1987-2005) was a New Mexico teen who pioneered the banding and research program for rosy finches in the Sandia Mountains. He was killed in an automobile accident while on a birding trip.

  144. C. Salinas said

    A small correction if I may, to your entry “Arenas, Miguel Angel Soto”. It should actually ready “Soto Arenas, Miguel Angel” (listed under “S”). Family (Last) names in México are compound-nouns, made usually of the combination of the Father and Mother last names respectively. Thank you in advance.

  145. Luisa said

    Filippo de Filippi [1814 – 1867].

    As a reader familiar with your admirable work here [a few weeks back I submitted the name of field ornithologist Mike San Miguel], you can imagine the start of recognition when I read these words about the death of a zoologist — written in the 1860s: [Filippo de Filippi] “fell, as a soldier on the field of battle, a victim to his love of Natural Science.”

    De Filippi was the naturalist on board the Magenta, an Italian ship circumnavigating the globe on a government-sponsored scientific voyage. He died en route to Hog Kong “of dysentery and liver trouble,” according to Wikipedia. The words above were written by his assistant and successor, Henry Hillyer Giglioli. Giglioli named De Filippi’s Petrel [Aestrelata defilippiana] in honor of predecessor.

    Source: a most excellent post at the most excellent website 10,000 Birds.

  146. Sad news about the loss of an ornithologist, Brad Livezey, in a car accident. Not including in the list for now, but if work related please advise. http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2011/02/brad_livezey_rip_2011.php

  147. Ik said

    Claudio Posa Bohome (1965-2010). Equatoguinean professor in the Universidad Nacional de Guinea Eciatorial, specialized in botany and ethnobotany. In January 2010, he became acute ill while in a biodiversity expedition to the Gran Caldera de Luba, in the remote southern part of Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea. He died, aged 44, soon after being evacuated to hospital.

  148. Vena Kapoor said

    Your list would not be complete without adding Dr. Ravi Sankaran (Oct 4, 1963 – Jan 17, 2009)the prominent Ornithologist, field biologist and conservationist in India. His work on the Indian Edible – Nest Swiftlet provided crucial insights for the conservation of this species, and he was deeply involved in developing community-based conservation efforts including ranching / sustainable harvesting of these birds’ nests. He was Director Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology & Natural History when he passed away following a heart attack. See below for more on Ravi and his work –

    http://blog.reconciliationecology.org/2009/02/requiem-for-reconciliation-ecologist.html

    http://www.ravisankaran.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=46&Itemid=28

  149. August Plee (1787-1825) Died from sickness in Martinique on August 17, 1825 after sending botanical specimens back to France.

  150. Ik said

    Jordi Magraner (1959-2002). Spanish zoologist working at the Natural History Museum of Paris, he quited his position at the Museum in order to start an independent research project in Northwest Pakistan, studying the facts and legends surrounding the Barmanu. The Barmanu is an hominid-like creature that local people consider as inhabiting the remote Chitral Mountains.

    After many years of research, Magraner eventually settled in Chitral and continued his studies living among the local people from the pagan and marginalised Kalash tribe, who considered him as their protector.
    In 2002, the instability that followed the US-led invasion of Afghanistan spilled over to this area which lays near the Afghan border. In August 2nd 2002 he was murdered, age 43, along with his 12-year old assistant by two of his former afghan assistants. The exact motives remain unclear, but some weeks before his death he had been urged by Pakistan officials to left the area.

    He was buried by the Kalash in the local town of Bumburet.

  151. [...] or naturalists out there who go in the field to collect beetles, take note. Here’s a list of naturalists (Wall of the Dead) who have lost their lives while investigating nature. Of particular interest: [...]

  152. Kotaseao, Vickson, research associate at the Wei Institute in Papua New Guinea and the first person to discover the larva of the jewel beetle genus Calodema. Mr. Kotaseao was brutally murdered in an ambush while on duty at the Institute.

    Source: Nylander, U. 2008. Review of the genera Calodema and Metaxymorpha (Coleoptera: Buprestidae: Stigmoderini) Folia Heyrovskyana, Supplementum 13, 1-84 (review).

  153. Steve Gorzula said

    The list misses crocodile and rhino biologists Tirtha Maskey and Narayan Poudel (Nepal). They died in a helicopter accident.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/5379598.stm.

  154. Bernardo Ortiz said

    Dear Richard, amazing compilation! each character has its own mysterious drama that makes very interesting. You are mising the most prominent Colombian naturalist from the 2nd half of the XX C, Dr. Jorge Ignacio Hernandez-Camacho (AKA “Mono” Hernandez or even El Sabio Hernandez) an authority on anything Neotropical. He died from a heart attack while visiting a mangrove area near Cartagena, Colombia, an area later declared as a small protected area (3,850 Ha) christened with his name = Santuario de Fauna y Flora El Corochal “El Mono Hernandez”. Several plant and animal (lizards and frogs)spceies have been named in his honor.

  155. S. H. Su said

    Cheng, Yu-Pin (1966-2009), a botanist and ecologist at Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, died, age 43, in a car accident on his field trip to collect a rare Fagaceae species in Pingtung County, Taiwan.

  156. A, Stokes said

    Suggest you also add Terriss (Terry) Walker and Daryl Reimer, prominent Queensland seabird scientists who disappeared at sea in May 1992 in the Gulf of Carpentaria,Australia, whilst surveying remote seabird islands. [Obituary in Ogilvie, P., and K. Hulsman 1993. Obituaries of Terriss (Terry) Adrian Walker (1950‑1992). Corella 17:129‑130.]

  157. Robert Hansen said

    Shannon, Frederick A. (1921–1965), American physician and herpetologist, died from the bite of a Mojave Rattlesnake that he was attempting to catch. A tree lizard is named in his honor (Urosaurus graciosus shannoni). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_A._Shannon

  158. Robert Hansen said

    Mendoza Quijano, Fernando (1957–2008), age 51 years, Mexican herpetologist, killed along with his wife in a car accident in Durango, while traveling to meet an American colleague to obtain textbooks for his university students. An obituary was published in Herpetological Review 42(2):133–134.

  159. James Van Dyke said

    I’d suggest both Robert MacArthur and Don Tinkle be added to the list. They don’t fit strictly into the requirement that one has to have died in the line of work. However, they deserve mention because both made quite significant contributions to ecology and evolution, yet died in their 40s (of cancer, I believe), likely before the extent of their genius could be shared with the rest of us.

  160. Andy said

    It would be great if you could add Chris Wysiekierski to the list. He was a graduate student at the University of Windsor (Canada) who drowned in a snorkeling accident while conducting field research near Turneffe Atoll, Belize in August 2001. He was 30 years old.

  161. Judy said

    What about Timothy Treadwell (Grizzly Man)?

    • There’s a difference between making discoveries about species and what Treadwell did, which I think was more about making discoveries, or creating a drama, about himself.

  162. John Plant said

    For inclusion in the list you may consider Klaus Warncke (and Konrad Thaler).

    Klaus Warncke 1937-1993 one of the most prolific investigators of bees in Europa. He named over 885 new species of Palearctic bees. Died in a car accident along with his wife, Christa, near Cario, while on a field expedition in Egypt, when his car was struck head-on by an oncoming truck.
    Linzer biologische Beiträge 26(2): 649-663, 1994 (with picture)

    Konrad Thaler 1940- 2005 Austrian arachnologist, who described 77 species of Alpine and Mediterranean species. Died of a sudden heart attack while on a student field trip in the Alps.
    Arachnologische Mitteilungen 30:1-12 2005 (with picture)

  163. Marc said

    Hi, I posted the the Simon Thirgood link. It is now broken, but there is a more permanent one (http://www.macaulay.ac.uk/ProfThirgood/).

  164. Ken Dodd said

    Paul Igag was New Guinea’s premiere ornithologist. He died in 2010 at age 46, but I am not sure of the circumstances. Information on him is at: http://malumnalu.blogspot.com/2010/10/well-known-papua-new-guinea-bird.html. Perhaps other ornithologists can fill in the details.

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  167. J.P. Ault – magnetic observer with the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism – Captain of the ship Carnegie -died in 1929 due to an explosion during refueling of the Carnegie in Apia, Samoa.

    http://carnegiescience.edu/legacy/exhibits/ault_exhibition/bio.html

  168. Matt said

    This list is a really interesting idea but not every name here seems to meet the same test. With due respect to Aldo Leopold’s family and fans, his career was focused on management, not discovery. He died at a fairly typical age while fighting a fire that threatened his own property, from a heart attack following a lifetime of smoking. None of that qualifies him as a martyr to science.

    • Yes, the point about conservation versus discovery seems valid. I am tinkering with another list where Leopold might be a better bit.

      Meanwhile, I welcome comments from defenders of Leopold’s place on this list.

      Also other efforts to weed this list down for better focus on species discovery.

  169. [...] work is dangerous–scientists doing such work can get themselves into deadly situations. PLS and I have previously co-posted on the dangers associated with field work and potential safety [...]

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  178. Melanie Bond said

    http://training.fws.gov/History/FallenComrades/maness.html

    Scott Jay Maness reptile biologist died fighting wildfire at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

  179. Thomas Hildenhagen said

    Heinrich Kuhl died of diarrhea with liver infection , van Hasselt of dysentery both in Bogor (former Buitenzorg).

    • Thomas Hildenhagen said

      Heinrich Boie was born on 4. May, 1794 in Meldorf, Germany, not in 1784 (error from the English-Wikipedia page of Heinrich Boie)

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  181. [...] Finally, Conniff’s book has an intriguing “Necrology” (pp. 379-383) of those who died while in the search for new species. He has continued this as an informational collection online at, “The Wall of the Dead:  A Memorial to Fallen Naturalists.” [...]

  182. [...] by paramilitary drug cartel members. They were near a manatee study site, and appear to have been seeking new species and/or studying biodiversity in the area. Their bodies were found at the mouth of the Sinú River, [...]

  183. Robin Hide said

    Carr, Cedric Er(r)oll
    Born: 1892, Napier, New Zealand. Died: 1936, Port Moresby, New Guinea. (during botanical collecting expedition).
    career:
    Went to England with his parents at the age of 7; he came to Malaya in Jan. 1913 as an Assistant on Kulong Rubber Estate, Malacca; in 1916 he returned to England for military service; in 1919 to Malaya again, as Manager of Lendu Estate, Malacca, and then of Tembeling Estate, Pahang, until 1931. In 1933 he went to England, working at the Kew Herbarium, leaving again at the end of 1934 for his Papuan expedition. On the road back he fell ill with blackwater fever. From his boyhood he was interested in orchids, on which subject he wrote several papers, principally based on his own collections. Extensive botanical collections in Malaysis and New Guinea.

    http://www.nationaalherbarium.nl/FMCollectors/C/CarrCE.htm

  184. Stefano said

    Filippo Bassignani, an Italian researcher and conservation biologist, was killed by an elephant in Mozambique, aged 39.
    A foundation named in his honor awards research scholarships:

    http://www.fondazionebassignani.it/

    Laccodytes bassignanii are named after him.

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  190. Robin Hide said

    Add:
    Czech student killed on research trip to Papua New Guinea

    A Czech student who had been sent to Papua New Guinea for a research trip was killed on January 27th. He was working on his dissertation at the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice and was an employee of the university’s entomological institute. His doctoral thesis focused on the ground beetle. He died after a fall into a ravine in Papua New Guinea’s Finisterre mountain range.

    http://www.radio.cz/en/section/news/news-2012-01-30

  191. Tom said

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  192. [...] Wall of the Dead A Memorial to Fallen Naturalists [...]

  193. Tod Highsmith said

    Josh Nove died while censusing waterbirds in Alaska:

    http://nctc.fws.gov/History/FallenComrades/nove.html

  194. [...] Wall of the Dead A Memorial to Fallen Naturalists [...]

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  201. Paul A. Davis said

    Walter Volz (1875 – 1907) Swiss botanist, zoologist & ethnologist, killed April 2 when the French attacked and destroyed the village of Bussamai in what is now Guinea where he had been stranded after being abandoned by his native carriers. (ref: Basu, Paul – object diasporas, resourcing communities: Sierra Leonean Collections in the Global Museumscape; Museum Anthropology, vol. 34, no. 1; 2011

  202. Paul A. Davis said

    Frederick Nutter Chasen (1896-1945), British ornithologist, Director, Raffles Museum, Singapore. Killed when the “HMS Giang Bee”, the ship upon which he was evacuating Singapore, was sunk by Japanese forces in the Bangka Strait.

    • Paul A. Davis said

      Year of death should have been 1942. Obituary in the “Auk” incorrectly put the date of his death, and the sinking of the “Giang Bee”, on 9/1/1945, after the end of the war, while the “Giang Bee” was actually sunk on 13 April, 1942.

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  204. James Wetterer said

    Looking for collections dates for Herbert H. Smith, I came across this:

    http://www.johanneslundberg.se/blogg/?p=221

    “Collecting naturalia can even in modern times be dangerous, especially if you are deaf as Herbert H. Smith (1851-1919) was. Collecting snails along the railway in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, that tragic day in March 1919, he was hit by the train and killed.”

  205. Paul A. Davis said

    Yuri Igorevich Sazonov (1950-2002), Russian ichthyologist, died at age 51 of severe cold contracted when he continued to work at his laboratory at the Zoological Museum of the University of Moscow during roof repairs being performed during the winter.

    http://researcharchive.calacademy.org/research/scipubs/pdfs/v54/proccas_v54_n17.pdf

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  212. David Hollombe said

    Ralph Hoffmann (1870-1932), botanist and ornithologist, director of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, fell from a cliff on San Miguel Island, California while collecting plants.

  213. I am guessing that the Michael Alberico that is listed here is the man I went to college with at Knox College. He graduated in 1970 and I believe his date of birth would have been 1947, not 1937. The last I heard directly from him was October 18, 2000, and he was living in Washington, DC. He was married to a native of Cali, Columbia, and certainly might have returned there to live or visit.

  214. Lauren Raz said

    Dennis E. Puleston (1940-1978), American archaeologist was killed by a lightning strike at the top of an ancient Mayan pyramid in Chichen Itza in the Yucatan.

  215. Dr. Ken Dodd, University of Florida said

    Add: Ambika Tripathy, conservation biologist from Orissa. He was killed while studying sea turtles when the tsunami of December 2004 struck Galathea Camp on Great Nicobar Island. See: Chandi, M. 2012. A story of field assistants and sea turtle research in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Indian Ocean Turtle Newsletter 16:19-21.

  216. [...] he made that list, which you can find here. Many of these naturalists were murdered by people in the regions they were working. Others died of [...]

  217. Jonathan Clegg said

    Benoit Mys should be on this list. A Belgian PhD Student from the University of Antwerp, he conducted research in Northern Papua New Guinea in the mid 1980’s for his PhD related to the zoogeography of the skink fauna of the region. He died in a vehicle accident on the north coast highway of PNG in 1990 while conducting fieldwork there.

    • Joe Springer said

      I found two reference by Mys:

      Mys, Benoit. 1988. The zoogeography of the scincid lizards from North Papua New Guinea (Reptilia: Scincidae). I. The distribution of the species. Bull. Inst. Roy. Sci. Nat. Belgique (Biologie) 58:127-183.

      Greer, A. E., & Mys, B. 1987. Resurrection of Lipinia rouxi (Hediger, 1934) (Reptilia: Lacertilia: Scincidae), another skink to have lost the left oviduct. Amphibia-Reptilia 8:417-418.

      I imagine he might have published more had he lived longer.

      • Jonathan Clegg said

        I have a copy of his paper from 1988 which contains at least five or six unpublished citations relating to his PhD on PNG skinks that he never got around to submitting. I’m not sure what became of them following his death.

      • Joe Springer said

        One would hope his Ph.D. chairman would go ahead and submit the material for publication, but that should have happened soon after Mys’ death in 1990.

  218. Annie Ray said

    While sorting references, I just happened upon an obituary for James G. T. Chillcott, 1929-1967, who died of a fatal heart attack near Kathmandu, Nepal. He was an expert on flies. His obituary, written by Howell Daly can be found in The Pan-Pacific Entomologist. 1967. 43(2):171. I didn’t know him personally…it was a little before my time.

  219. MYRMECOS said

    […] (Source: Sue VandeWoude; data from Richard Conniff’s Wall of the Dead.) […]

  220. […] A Memorial to Fallen Naturalists […]

  221. stnhr said

    Patricia Ortiz, a myrmecologist from Costa Rica, killed by falling rocks at the age of 40:

    http://www.ticotimes.net/More-news/News-Briefs/U.S.-biologist-identifies-33-tiny-and-terrifying-new-ant-species-throughout-Latin-America_Wednesday-July-31-2013

  222. Elisabeth said

    Fredrik Hasselquist (1722–1752) (Swedish “apostle” of Linnaeus’s) died of TBC. In Swedish, but you can always Google translate it: http://www.lakartidningen.se/07engine.php?articleId=5936

  223. Alex Bond said

    Luis R. Monteiro, (d. 11 December 1999), a leading seabird expert from the University of the Azores for whom Monteiro’s storm-petrel is named (Oceanodroma monteiroi) died in a SATA airline crash in the Azores http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oceanodroma_monteiroi (he is also memorialized in the acknowledgements of many papers from the Azores in 2000-2002).

    • Joe Springer said

      Did Monteiro die “in the line of duty”? Death by plane crash while radio-tracking would count. But death in an airliner crash might not.

  224. Kevin Cummings said

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-08-23/news/ct-met-bird-tracker-killed-0824-20100823_1_freight-train-patrick-waldron-train-friday-morning

    • Joe Springer said

      Arlo Raim being struck by a train and killed while doing a bird survey should qualify him for a spot on this wall. I grew up about 10 miles from Pratt’s Wayne Woods and camped there many time.

  225. Ernst Vondelaar said

    May I suggest to ad Wolf V. Vishniac?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolf_V._Vishniac

    Vishniac (1922-1973) was a microbiologist & Professor of Biology at Rochester, who devised the “Wolf Trap”, a mini laboratory setup to search for life on Mars on one of the Viking landers, which eventually was not included due to budget cuts to the project. He died on Antarctica on 10 December 1973 when he apparently fell on the ice while (while alone) attempting to retrieve an experiment. A Crater on Mars was named after him.

    • Joe Springer said

      I don’t think that he would qualify as a naturalist.

      • That’s what I would have said, because I find the whole search for life on other planets a huge distraction. On the other, look at what he was doing. A microbiologist in search of new species in hostile territory. I’m going to add him.

      • Joe Springer said

        Good point. Richard. I think you are correct.

      • I am adding a website for myself here, because every time my mouse goes over that icon to the right, I get sent to a Yahoo search page I can’t get out of. Let’s see if this works. Richard, feel free to delete this comment right away, because it’s just a test on my part to see if I can avoid Yahoo.

      • Richard, the experiment didn’t work. It’s as though it’s looking for a website, but since it’s not connecting, WordPress defaults it to the Yahoo search page that behaves like malware. When I go to the icon by your posts, it gives a thumbnail of your profile. When I do it to others’ icons it does that too or it does nothing. Anyway, dump these messages — they don’t belong on this board.

  226. Val said

    Excellent work here, thanks for doing that.

    I may have missed it, but I didn’t see Tom Schopf. http://www.nytimes.com/1984/03/22/obituaries/no-headline-069404.html

  227. Terry Mackin said

    Richard, thanks for adding Valerie Chabot. She was a volunteer, not a federal employee. Here is what I gleaned from the Anchorage paper. (Little bit of gibberish I couldn’t figure out in the image to text translator.)

    “FAIRBANKS (AP) — A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service volunteer from Eagle River fell to her death while studying falcons on a cliff at the Tanana River near Nenana. Valerie Chabot, 31, was pronounced dead at a Fairbanks hospital after apparently losing her footing and falling 75 feet Tuesday afternoon, Fish and Wildlife officials said. Rescue workers had unsuccessfully tried to revive her. Falcons nest high on steep cliffs, usually near rivers. Reaching them typically involves rock climbing and rappelling. “It’s not your backyard biology ” Fish and Wildlife spokesman Bruce Batten said. “It’s classic Alaska: challenging field-study conditions.” Chabot was about 8 miles upstream j^^f?,^ on a J° int P r °J” ect of Fish and Wildlife and the state Department of Fish and Game. Batten said Chabot could have been studying any of three peregrine falcon species in Alaska: the American Peales or Arctic. Volunteers also have been studying the birds on the Nenana and Yukon rivers. Chabot’s death is the first for the falcon program, but not the first for biologists in Alaska. In recent years two biologists and their pilot died when their plane crashed as they sought polar bears north of Ban-ow, and two other biologists died in a boating accident near Adak in the Aleutian Islands, Batten said. “To me it indicates not just the challenging conditions but the tremendous commitment of the people that we have working for us, not only full-time staffers but volunteers during the summertime,” Batten said.”

  228. Terry Mackin said

    David S. Pitkin & V. Ray Bentley, 1/17/2010 in a plane crash.

    http://www.fws.gov/oregoncoast/In_memory_of_Dave_Pitkin_and_Ray_Bentley.htm

  229. Terry Mackin said

    Out of alphabetical order in your list…

    Veasna, Sam (1966?-1999) Cambodian ornithologist died of malaria, age 33, during field work in the Cardomom Mountains.

  230. Terry Mackin said

    Kelson Vaillancourt (d 5/21/2009) & James Schneck (d 5/20/2009), Huron, SD

    http://joomla.wildlife.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=571

  231. Sharyl said

    I could have missed it here, if so, sorry. Mt Mitchell’s namesake ..

    The mountain was named in honor of Dr. Elisha Mitchell, an educator and scientist from Chapel Hill, who died while climbing the mountain in 1857 in his effort to prove it was the highest peak in eastern North America. The grave of Dr Mitchell lies next to the observation deck.

  232. Michael Watkins said

    How about adding in
    Perry Oveitt Simons (1869‒1901) was an American citizen who collected in South America, taking reptiles and amphibians in Peru (c.1900) and birds in Bolivia (1901). When crossing the Andes his lone guide murdered him. Chubb (q.v.) studied Simons’ collections extensively in the second decade of the 20th century. There are more than a dozen holotypes in the BMNH which he collected. Seven birds, four reptiles, two amphibians and a mammal are named after him.

    Also

    Johan August Wahlberg (1810‒1856) was a Swedish naturalist and collector. He studied chemistry and phar¬macy at Uppsala (1829) and worked in a chemist’s shop in Stockholm while studying at the Forestry Institute. He travelled and collected widely in southern Africa (1838‒1856), sending thousands of specimens home to Sweden. He returned briefly to Sweden (1853) but was soon back in Africa where he was in Walvis Bay (1854). He was exploring the head¬waters of the Limpopo when a wounded elephant killed him. An amphibian, mammal, four birds and four reptiles are named after him.

    Above paragraphs will appear in Eponym Dictionary of Birds which will be published in June 2014 by Bloomsbury Group. I am one of the co-authors of it. Similar entries can also be found in three othere Eponym Dictonaries of which I am also co-author, covering Mammals, Amphibians and Reptiles

    • These sound like perfect additions. Thanks Michael!

      • Michael Watkins said

        Glad you like them! There are quite a few more I can think of who could be on this list.

        Frank Linsly James (1851‒1890) was an explorer of the Sudan, Somalia, India and Mexico. He published Experiences and Adventures during Three Winters Spent in the Sudan (1883) and The Unknown Horn of Africa ‒ an Exploration from Berbera to the Leopard River, which was edited by his widow (1890). A wounded elephant killed him.

        J. Austin Roberts (1883‒1948) was a South African zoologist. During the first half of the 20th century he was the most prominent ornithologist in southern Africa. He worked at the Transvaal Museum for nearly four decades studying birds (1910‒1946). He amassed 30,000 bird skins and 9,000 mammal specimens there. Although he did not have formal academic training, he received several high academic awards and an honorary doctorate. Roberts is best remembered for his Birds of South Africa (1940), a landmark publication in African ornithology which has developed in size and authority with repeated posthumous editions. He died in a traffic accident. The Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary was established in his hometown, Pretoria (1958).

        Here are a married couple who both qualify:

        John Isaiah Northrop (1861‒1891) taught botany and zoology at Columbia University. He was the husband (1889) of Alice Rich Northrop (1864‒1922). They spent six months in the Bahamas collecting animal, plant and mineral specimens (1890), then the most extensive natural history survey undertaken there. When she finished her analysis of the botanical material, ten years later, Alice found she had discovered 18 new species. A Naturalist in the Bahamas (1910) was a collection of John’s and Alice’s papers, edited by Henry Fairfield Osborn, and published posthumously under the names of Northrop and Osborn as co-authors, John was killed in a laboratory explosion (1891) a week before the birth of their only child, a son, John Howard Northrop (1891‒1987) who won a Nobel Prize for Chemistry (1946) She travelled widely in the Americas and became a Professor at Hunter College. She was killed when her car stalled on a level crossing and was hit by a train

      • Thank you for these excellent additions.

      • Michael, it seems that Roberts did NOT die while in the course of his work. And Northrop died in the lab. Most of those listed on this page died in field while actually gathering data.

        Simons, who was murdered while conducting research is a great inclusion. Wahlberg, who was killed by an elephant, also is a great inclusion.

  233. I seem to have inadvertently deleted part of an entry, between Mys and Nakano. If anyone has printed out the list and can help me fill in the blanks, I would be most grateful. Here is the fragment I have left:

    of PNG in 1990 while conducting fieldwork there.. A Belgian PhD Student from the University of Antwerp, he conducted research in Northern Papua New Guinea in the mid 1980′s f

    • Jonathan Clegg said

      I’ve done some research and found that Mys actually died in 1989 not 1990. His details are 21/07/1960 – 05/05/1989 so he was 28 when he died.

  234. I have been receiving nominations lately from Michael Watkins, whose books seem like a good source for this sort of inquiry:

    The Eponym Dictionary of Mammals
    By
    Bo Beolens, Michael Watkins and Michael Grayson
    Published in 2009 by the Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA
    ISBN:978-0-8018-9304-9

    The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles
    By
    Bo Beolens, Michael Watkins and Michael Grayson
    Published in 2011 by the Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA
    ISBN:978-1-4214-0135-5

    The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles
    By
    Bo Beolens, Michael Watkins and Michael Grayson
    Published in 2013 by Pelagic Publishing, Exeter, England
    ISBN:978-1-907807-41-1

    Whose Bird? Men and women commemorated in the common names of birds
    By
    Bo Beolens and Michael Watkins
    Published in 2003 by Christopher Helm, London, England
    ISBN:0-7136-6647-1

    This will be superceded on 19th June 2014 by
    The Eponym Dictionary of Birds
    By
    Bo Beolens, Michael Watkins and Michael Grayson
    Publisher: Christopher Helm, London, England
    ISBN:9-7814-7290573-4

  235. Ian Mackay said

    Charles Leslie McKay (1855-1883). Scottish-American naturalist. Discovered McKay’s Bunting. Died in suspicious circumstances on a collecting trip in Alaska.

  236. A name I see missing is Peter Rawlinson, a very significant herpetologist and conservationist in Australia. He died tragically, I think from heat exhaustion, while in the field in Indonesia. He was a very significant figure in fighting for the conservation of native forest in southern Australia. See for example :

    http://www.acfonline.org.au/about-us/peter-rawlinson-conservation-award

  237. Lori said

    Kate Furbish, (May 9, 1834 – December 6, 1931)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_Furbish

  238. […] Wall of the Dead: A Memorial to Fallen Naturalists clubs conservation gallery groups organisations rare trip reports taxonomy 2014-03-31 roma Share […]

  239. Noel Kempff Mercado deserves mention. I named a subspecies of leafotsser (a bird, Sclerurus albigularis kempffi) doscovered at PNNKM in his honor.

    Noel Kempff Mercado (February 27, 1924 in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia – September 5, 1986 in the Serranía de Caparuch, Bolivia) was a Bolivian biologist and environmentalist.

    Kempff Mercado studied at the University of Santa Cruz where also received his BS in 1946. During a field campaign in the Huanchaca Nationalpark in 1986 he and several other scientists discovered a cocaine factory in the Bolivian forest. Kempff Mercado and most of the scientists were killed by the criminals. The Huanchaca National Park was renamed in 1988 as Noel Kempff Mercado National Park.

  240. […] A Memorial to Fallen Naturalists […]

  241. […] The Wall of the Dead: A Memorial to Fallen Naturalists […]

  242. […] added The Wall of The Dead, hosted by Richard Conniff, to the blogroll. It is a memorial listing naturalists who have fallen […]

  243. Laura said

    Erick Rogers – http://www.thebatt.com/2.8485/a-m-researcher-drowns-while-working-on-study-1.1202080#.U2f9oIFdXg0

  244. Is Tony Seymour on the list? I have contacted a friend of his to see if he can contact his wife. I would rather she gave permission for him to be included. Tony was an Ichthyologist (I believe) working on Lake Malawi, but living on Anglesey (North Wales). He sadly died of DVT on a return flight from Malawi about 8 years ago.

  245. […] of race Mother Nature Network: 7 scientists killed by their own experiments Strange Behaviors: The Wall of the Dead: A Memorial to Fallen Naturalists Active History: Digital Approaches to 19th Century Globalisation Youtube: Video: John Wilkins: […]

  246. Alfonso Susanna, Botanist said

    Mercado, Noel Kempff (1924-1986), Bolivian biologist, was scouting out a new national park in Santa Cruz department when his group landed at what they thought was an abandoned airstrip. It turned out to be a cocaine factory. He was murdered, age 62, and the national park was subsequently named for him.
    Everything is correct; he was exploring the Serranía de Huanchaca in Bolivia (he landed in the mountains before my team, fortunately enough). His fist family name was Kempff; the entry should read Kempff Mercado, Noel.

  247. David Duffy said

    Conservationist, indigenous leader killed in plane crash in Colombia
    Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com
    September 07, 2014

    Share Share Share
    print

    Roberto Franco
    Roberto Franco. Photo © The City Paper

    A conservationist who worked to protect voluntarily isolated tribes in the Amazon rainforest and an indigenous leader were among ten killed in a plane crash in southern Colombia Saturday afternoon.

    Roberto Franco, a political scientist who worked with the Amazon Conservation Team-Colombia, died when the Piper PA-31 Navajo crashed after takeoff from Araracuara in the department of Caquetá. Daniel Matapi, an indigenous leader, also perished.

    The plane was bound for Florencia, the capital of Caquetá, when it went down in Puerto Santander, Amazonas, according to the Colombian government. There were no immediate indications of what caused the crash.

    Franco had recently worked to document isolated tribes within Rio Puré National Park. The research was significant because isolated and uncontacted indigenous people in the Colombian are afforded the right to isolation, the right to their traditional territories, and reparations in case of violence under a 2011 legal decree. That measure specifically protects such groups — which may be voluntarily isolated — from unwanted contact, effectively making their lands off-limits to mining, energy development, logging, and industrial agriculture.

    Daniel teaching his fellow Yukuna-Matapis how to map on a computer. Miriti Parana river, Colombian Amazon. Photo courtesy of the Amazon Conservation Team.

    Mark Plotkin, the Founder and President of the Amazon Conservation Team, said both men “were much beloved” and will be “sorely missed”.

    “Daniel Matapi was our indigenous coordinator. He was born and raised in the Colombian Amazon, spoke four languages, and was equally adept at training western scientists, negotiating with tribal leaders, launching ACT field programs, and hacking trails through the jungle,” Plotkin wrote via email.

    “Dr. Roberto Franco was the leading authority on isolated tribes of the Colombian Amazon. He was a widely revered figure in Colombian academic circles, had published several important books on Colombian tribes (‘Karijonas de Chiribiquete’ and ‘Cariba Malo’) and was a fearless and effective crusader for the protection of isolated tribes.”

    Franco was interviewed by Mongabay.com about his work in 2012.

    Read more at http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0907-roberto-franco-killed-plane-crash.html#YH4LAKYpSjZOFHlV.99

  248. David Duffy said

    follow up on someone already listed:

    “The Jasper Loftus-Hills Young Investigator Award: Jasper Loftus-Hills
    (1946-1974) was an Australian biologist of exceptional promise when
    he was killed by a hit-and-run driver while recording frog calls
    along a Texas highway, three years after receiving his degree. The
    award was established in 1984 to recognize promising outstanding work
    by investigators who received their doctorates in the three years
    preceding the application deadline, or who are in their final year of
    graduate school. It involves presentation of a research paper in the
    Young Investigator’s Symposium at the ASN annual meeting and includes
    a $500 prize, a travel allowance of $700, cost of registration for the
    meetings, and a supplement of $800 for travel and other expenses for
    this year’s case of intercontinental travel. Four awards are made
    annually. Recipients need not be members of the Society. The prize
    committee encourages direct applications and welcomes suggestions of
    people who should be encouraged to apply. Applications should consist of
    no more than three pages that summarize the applicant’s work (excluding
    tables, figures, and references), no more than four appropriate reprints,
    and a CV combined as a single pdf. Two letters from individuals familiar
    with the applicant’s work should be sent separately. All application
    materials should be sent via e-mail by January 1, 2015, to Jonathan
    Shurin (jshurin@ucsd.edu). Please indicate “Young Investigators’ Award”
    in the subject line, and for reference letters, the name of the applicant.”

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