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The decline of Invertebrate Zoology

Kirk Fitzhugh kfitzhug at nhm.org
Tue Mar 30 18:18:27 EST 2004

Dear Colleagues,  

As fellow worm workers and invertebrate zoologists, I thought you might be 
interested to know of a disturbing event which has occurred at Texas A&M 
University at Galveston, an institution long known for its Marine Biology 
program. By a majority vote of the Marine Biology faculty and the "Academic 
Council," the university decided that taking the Invertebrate Zoology course 
will no longer be a requirement for receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in 
Marine Biology. Ironically, however, the Vertebrate Zoology course IS 
required! Not only former students, but also current students actively 
protested this change, but to no avail (see 

  My early fascination with polychaetes and marine biology was due in large 
part to the marine program at Texas A&M, and the excellent teaching and 
support provided by Dr. Donald E. Harper, Jr., who still teaches the 
Invertebrate Zoology course. The thought of a Marine Biology program as well 
known as Texas A&M's producing "marine biologists" who never took a course in 
invertebrate zoology seems unconscionable. We can only hope this will not be 
the trend among other well-known marine biology programs.  


J. Kirk Fitzhugh, Ph.D.
Associate Curator of Polychaetes
Invertebrate Zoology Section
Research & Collections Branch
Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History
900 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90007

Phone: 213-763-3233
FAX: 213-746-2999
e-mail: kfitzhug at nhm.org

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