Monday, September 1, 2008

Tribute: The Legacy of Cynthia Ahearn

An obituary summarizing Cynthia Ahearn's passing is here.

This is probably not the best summary of Cynthia Ahearn's complete professional contribution, she was one of those people who had far more impact on the field then a paper trail would reveal.

She influenced students, scientists, and visitors..and encouraged the Echinoblog's existence. But I thought it was important that everyone see her tangible contributions.

Anyone who has more or would like to add a story, a contribution, or comment is welcome to do so. I will forward all such statements to John Ahearn.

*Identification of nearly 300,000 echinoderm specimen lots (this is an estimate-there are likely more). One of the few people in the world who had seen almost every echinoderm specimen in the NMNH collections.

*A completely (or near completely) cataloged collection for the NMNH Echinodermata including types.

*Verification of all the types in the NMNH collections (what is present, what condition, how many, etc.).

*Curated NMNH echinoderm collections for over 30 years!

*Editor, writer, and assembler of the original print version of the International Echinoderm Newsletter from 1993-2003.

*Editor of the Virtual Echinoderm Newsletter (designed by Susan Hottenrott)

*Tours of the NMNH Invertebrate Zoology Department collections and educational experiences to generations of students-from high school to undergraduate to high-level officials.

*Hosted international visitors from Mexico, Colombia, South Africa, Australia, Russia and undoubtedly many more then I am aware of..

*Published collaborative research with scientists from Australia, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Russia, as well as with NMNH curator Dave Pawson.

*Provided professional taxonomic expertise to major scientific institutions around the world, including Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the National Marine Fisheries Service, New Zealands Institute of Water & Atmosphere (Wellington, New Zealand), the California Academy of Sciences (in San Francisco, CA), the Museum of Comparative Zoology, the Museum Victoria (in Melbourne, Australia) and many more.


O'Loughlin, M. and C. Aheam . 2005. A review of pygal-furrowed Synallactidae (Echinodermata: Holothuriodea), with new species from the Antarctic, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Memoirs of the Museum Victoria 62(2): 147-179.
Alicia Durán-González, Alfredo Laguarda-Figueras, Francisco A Solís-Marin, Blanca Estela Buitrón Sánchez, Cynthia Gust Ahearn, Juan Torres-Vega. 2005. Echinoderms (Echinodermata) from the Mexican waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Revista de Biologia Tropical 53(3): 53-68.
Alfredo Laguarda-Figueras, Francisco A Solis-Marín, Alicia Durán-González, Cynthia Gust Ahearn, Blanca Estela Buitrón Sánchez, Juan Torres-Vega .2005. Echinoderms (Echinodermata) of the Mexican Caribbean. Revista de Biologia Tropical 53(3): 109-122.
Francisco A Solís-Marín, Alfredo Laguarda-Figueras, Alicia Durán-González, Cynthia Gust Ahearn, Juan Torres Vega. 2005. Echinoderms (Echinodermata) from the Gulf of California, Mexico. Revista de Biologia Tropical 53(3): 123-137.

Pawson, D.L., D.J. Vance, and C. Ahearn. 2001. Western Atlantic sea cucumbers of the order Molpadiida (Echinodermata; Holothuroidea). Bulletin of the Biological Society of Washington 10: 311-327.
Pawson, D.L. and C. Ahearn 2001. Bathyal Echinoderms of the Galapagos Islands. In: Echinoderms 2000, Barker (ed.) Swets & Zeitlinger, Lisse, pp. 41-46.
Ahearn, C. Gust. 1995. Catalog of the type specimens of sea stars (Echinodermata: Asteroidea) in the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, No. 572:59 pp.
Ahearn, C. 1994. Family Psolidae: new distributional records from the Antarctic. pp. 503, In Echinoderms Through Time, Proceedings of the Eighth International Echinoderm Conference, Dijon, France. David, Guille, Feral & Roux (eds). Balkema, Rotterdam.
Ahearn, C. 1992. Philippine brittle stars (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea) described by R. Koehler (1922): A corrected and annotated list of type specimens. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, No. 537:15 pp.
Pawson, D.L. and C. Gust. 1981. Holothuria (Platyperona) rowei, a new sea cucumber from Florida (Echinodermata, Holothuroidea). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 94(3): 873-877.


Kevin Zelnio said...

Wow! What an amazingly productive person. The world is surely worse without her around. Thanks for posting this even for those of us less familiar with her impact.

Unknown said...

My niece was a special lady.