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Michael Hubbard, mayfly systematist, 1946 - 2012

Published On: 4/25/2013

Michael Hubbard, mayfly systematist, pioneer of open-access literature, 1946 - 2012

Michael D. Hubbard, born 4 November 1946, passed away on 4 May 2012 after a brief illness. To those who knew him in Tallahassee and to colleagues around the world, it was a shocking and painful loss. Beyond the personal recollections of his friendship and humor, he is remembered as the founder of the website “Ephemeroptera Galactica,” an online compilation of historical literature on mayflies. Mike was among the first to promote free and open access to scientific literature, realizing that without access to “legacy literature” there could be little progress in systematics, and science in general. Thus in December 1999 he founded Ephemeroptera Galactica, which continues now under the direction of Arnold Staniczek of the State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart (Staatlichen Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart). The current link is http://www.ephemeroptera-galactica.com.

Mike was born in Texas and his family moved to Vero Beach (Florida) a few months later. He earned a BS in Biology from the University of Miami in 1968 and then went to Florida State University (FSU), Tallahassee, where he earned an MS degree in population ecology under Dr. Daniel Simberloff in 1971. While in graduate school he became a friend of Manuel Pescador and developed an interest in aquatic entomology at Florida A&M University (FAMU), where he worked part-time for some years and became a Research Associate in 1975. He received his Ph.D. from FSU in 1984, and later joined the faculty at FAMU where he remained until retirement as a full professor in 2009. Emeritus Professor status was awarded in 2010 in recognition of his work at FAMU on numerous academic committees, the faculty senate, and his editorial skills.

His work on the Ephemeroptera literature resulted in the publication of many catalogs of literature and species (Argentina, Brazil, India, Philippines, Hong Kong, Thailand, South America, the extant world and the fossil record). As part of other projects, he spent two months in Sri Lanka collecting mayflies in 1978, participated in a French language program in Togo in 1988, and took a sabbatical in Lausanne at the Museum of Zoology in 2005. Some of the results of the Sri Lanka trip were used for his PhD dissertation: the Baetidae were published with Ingrid Müller-Liebenau, the Teloganodidae with Michel Sartori, and other publications on Ephemeridae and Polymitarcyidae. In addition to these trips, he attended every international conference on Ephemeroptera from 1975 to 2008 and had a diverse and international assortment of friends with whom he partied at any locale or at his always open home when they visited Tallahassee.

As he had a strong interest in rules of nomenclature, he published several papers dealing with nomenclatural issues and taught a graduate course on the subject. From 1983 to 1999 he served as a Systematics Subject Editor for the Florida Entomologist (on the internet in 1995), and later served as Ephemeroptera editor for Zootaxa after it was founded, continuing in this position until shortly after retirement. In addition to the mayflies, he maintained a lifelong interest in ants and a side interest in Zoraptera. About the only things that didn’t interest him were organization and formality. Mike had a strong affinity for the informal and collegial atmosphere of the annual meetings of the North American Benthological Society (NABS). Along with being a regular attendee of the NABS meetings, he also served on the Computer Information Committee and Public Information and Publicity Committee in the 1990s.

Michael is survived by his wife, Kathleen Hubbard, and three sons Bonner, Eli, and Andrew.

Janice G. Peters and Andrew K. Rasmussen, Florida A & M University

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