University of California Museum of Paleontology UCMP in the field See the world (and its fossils) with UCMP's field notes.
About UCMP People Blog Online Exhibits Public programs Education Collections Research
About UCMP : UCMP newsletter


Howard Bern

Howard A. Bern, professor emeritus of the Department of Integrative Biology, passed away on January 3, 2012, at the age of 91. Described by Carole Hickman as having a "keen sense of humor and a razor sharp intellect," Howard was a renowned endocrinologist and contributed greatly to our understanding of how chemicals in the environment disrupt hormone functions. He was also keenly interested in supporting student diversity and academic freedom. Howard was a long-time Friend of UCMP.

To Leslea Hlusko, UCMP curator and Professor of Integrative Biology, on her selection as a 2011 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Leslea received this recognition for her distinguished contributions to the study of primate evolutionary biology, especially in relation to the integration of genetics and the fossil record.

To Ken Finger who has just finished a three-year stint as editor of the Journal of Foraminiferal Research during which time he processed 120 submitted manuscripts and the journal published 1200 pages/68 articles!

To Judy Scotchmoor who has been named the 2012 recipient of the Friend of Darwin award. Each year this award is presented by the National Center for Science Education to someone who has made "substantial contributions to evolution education and/or to NCSE."

And welcome!
We will soon be welcoming Seth Finnegan to UCMP as he has accepted a faculty position in the Department of Integrative Biology. Seth is currently a postdoctoral scholar in Geology at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA. Seth's research focuses on the connections between climate change and the end-Ordovician mass extinction by looking at the "clumpiness" of heavy isotopes found in fossils, which can provide information on temperature changes. Seth is also interested in broader issues, e.g., looking at the evolution of metabolism and body size. We look forward to his arrival in the fall.

Other UCMP news
UCMP kicked off the year with:

  • An impressive presence at the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology held January 37 in Charleston, South Carolina. Abstracts included:
    Did social monogamy evolve as part of a sedentary lifestyle in Lysiosquilloid mantis shrimps?; presented by M. Wright, I. Steves, and R. Caldwell
    Why stomatopods are striking; presented by M.S. DeVries, J.H. Christy
    Why marine mollusks don't require larvae for dispersal; presented by C.S. Hickman
    Novel remote sensing technique assesses intertidal habitat and reveals population expansion of West Indian Topshell; presented by E.L. Meyer, N.J. Matzke, S. Williams
    Holocene biogeography of Neotoma: Mandibular geometric morphometrics and implications for climate change; presented by M.A. Stegner, E.A. Ferrer
    The origin and early evolution of terrestrial locomotion; presented by B. Swartz
    Early evolution of elevated growth and metabolic rates in archosaurs; presented by S. Werning, R.B. Irmis*, S.J., Nesbitt*, N.D. Smith, A.H. Turner, K. Padian

  • A three-day workshop funded by the National Science Foundation. In early January, 12 science teacher educators from eight different states joined in discussions about the importance of integrating the nature and process of science (NOS/POS) into courses for those who are preparing to teach. Ultimately these discussions will result in a new sub-section of the Understanding Science website that will meet the needs of those who instruct pre-service teachers including the rationale or importance of teaching NOS/POS, course modules, assignments and activities, assessment tools, and strategies for dealing with misconceptions about NOS/POS.

  • An opportunity to learn about creative strategies for sharing paleontology. Writer and illustrator Hannah Bonner paid a visit to Berkeley on January 11 to visit with Cindy Looy and Ivo Duijnstee, who served as advisers for her reconstructions illustrating the biotic recovery following the end-Permian extinction. The UCMP community was invited to her talk that featured personal anecdotes from the creative process of writing and editing a series of books that combine paleontology and art. Her goal? Make the lesser known facets of ancient life — giant insects, coal swamps, the transition to land of both plants and animals, and more — accessible to children and adults alike. Bonner's colorfully illustrated and intricately detailed books depict characters in all forms of terrestrial and marine life, spanning five geologic periods, including two mass extinctions.