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UCMP says farewell and thanks to Dave Haasl

Dave Haasl
Dave Haasl
After five years with UCMP, Dave Haasl is leaving us to pursue other ventures.

When Dave Haasl came to UCMP in June of 2002 as Museum Scientist in charge of the invertebrate collections, one of his first tasks was to work on the invertebrate database. At that time, only a small portion of the invertebrate collections was available electronically and many of the records were incomplete. Dave jumped in and began evaluating and organizing the database. This work proved to be extremely important as the museum soon embarked on a new project to fold the individual collection databases (vertebrate, invertebrate, plant, and microfossil) into a single, more user-friendly, web-accessible tool. Dave played a major role in determining both the structure and function of this database.

Dave formalized a numbered/catalogued specimen database independent of the type specimen database, and updated and entered thousands of locality records. He also found time to bring the invertebrate type collection up to date — he structured and implemented a "master" invertebrate specimen catalogue of both type and non-type specimens. Dave took an active interest in the growth and curation of UCMP's modern shell and wet specimen collections.

Another "present" that greeted Dave when he arrived at UCMP was an orphan invertebrate collection given to the museum by the US Geological Survey (USGS) and stored off-campus. This collection's 275 cabinets contained thousands of scientifically significant invertebrate specimens from Alaska and the Pacific northwest region that the USGS had spent considerable time and money to amass over the years. Dave had actually spent some time organizing this collection at UCMP prior to his permanent hiring, but now he was faced with the monster task of integrating it into UCMP's collections. In his five years at UCMP, Dave succeeded in working one third of the USGS collection into the museum's — and that's a major accomplishment, considering the enormity of the task.

Dave was always helpful in providing invertebrate specimens for teaching and in making fossils available to faculty, students, and visiting researchers from around the world. Though the collection dominated much of his time, he found time to work on a variety of research projects, including a report on a fossil whale fall from Ano Nuevo Island and a review of the gastropod genus Molopophorous. Dave was an easygoing guy and was always willing to do what needed doing, whether it be taking care of museum visitors, attending meetings, serving as editor of PaleoBios, or contributing his time on Cal Day.

Dave became a father for the first time in July when his wife Elaine gave birth to their son Michael. The Haasls have moved up to Chico to be nearer Elaine's family. Besides juggling the responsiblities of a new baby, Dave will be doing some contract paleontology dealing with compliance and mitigation issues and is looking into teaching opportunites at Chico State University and the junior college network.

UCMP will miss Dave's expertise, cheerful nature, and his offbeat sense of humor.

Dave Haasl photo by Colleen Whitney, UCMP.