U of G entomologist earns top honour

October 21, 2013
Written by University of Guelph
Oct. 21, 2013, Guelph, Ont. — A University of Guelph biologist was honoured over the weekend for his lifelong contributions to insect studies.

Prof. Steve Marshall, School of Environmental Sciences (SES), received the 2013 Gold Medal from the Entomological Society of Canada (ESC) during its joint meeting with the Entomological Society of Ontario (ESO) in Guelph on Sunday.

The award recognizes outstanding achievement and superior research accomplishments. He is the third U of G professor to receive the award in its 51-year history.

Retired SES professor Peter Kevan received the award in 2005 and former OAC Dean Freeman McEwen was the 1983 recipient.

“Of course it’s a tremendous honour,” Marshall said. “To have my work acknowledged this way by my peers is extremely gratifying and certainly encourages me to keep doing what I love to do: discover, document and interpret arthropod biodiversity.

“It’s good to know that my work, and that of the dedicated group of students associated with me, is recognized and well regarded by the entomological community. And to receive the award here in Guelph makes it all the more special.”

The ESC calls Marshall “one of the very finest entomologist-naturalists in the country.” He has spent most of the past three decades studying flies.

His research group has discovered and named about 1,000 fly species. Marshall published Flies: The Natural History and Diversity of Diptera in 2012 and the award-winning Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity in 2006.
He has written 20 other books and book chapters and nearly 200 journal articles.

Marshall said winning the medal is “a real boost for me,” redoubling his enthusiasm for ongoing writing, systematics and development projects.

Under his leadership, U of G’s Insect Collection, connected to the insect systematics lab, has gained international renown. Housed in the Bovey Building, it has become among the largest in Canada. Marshall took over management and development of the collection in 1982.

Called an inspiring teacher, Marshall has taught hundreds of undergraduates and supervised 30 graduate students and post-doctoral researchers, many now professional entomologists.

Marshall began collecting bugs while growing up near the U of G campus where his father, Robert, taught agricultural economics.

He studied at Guelph and Carleton University before joining the U of G faculty in 1982.

Marshall spoke at the ESC-ESO meeting on “So Many Species, So Little Time.”

Three Guelph graduates will also spoke during Sunday’s plenary session, as follows:

• Laura Timms, B.Sc. ‘01, insect ecologist and departmental associate in natural history at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto;

• Brian Brown, B.Sc. ‘83 and M.Sc. ‘86, curator of entomology and head of the entomology department at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Calif.; and

• Owain Edwards, B.Sc. ‘86, a project leader at CSIRO Ecosystems Sciences in Western Australia.

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