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Berkeley: Departments and Programs

Zoology
Joseph LeConte inaugurated instruction in biology at the University of California the year it opened its doors. The setee of natural history which he occupied was later divided into four chairs (departments): botany, geology, zoology (by 1887), and paleontology (1910).

The mantle of leadership in zoology passed from LeConte to William E. Ritter from 1891 to 1909, and to Charles A. Kofoid from 1909 to 1936. Ritter and Kofoid laid the foundations of the department. The establishment of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at La Jolla by Ritter was initially an enterprise of the Berkeley Department of Zoology. Kofoid's chief contribution was the creation of a leading center of proto-zoology which was subsequently continued by Harold Kirby, also a chairman of the department, and by William Balamuth and Dorothy Pitelka.

The Museum of Vertebrate Zoology was founded in 1908 by Joseph Grinnell, its first director, and by Miss Annie M. Alexander, its benefactor. Under the directorship of the late Alden H. Miller, Grinnell's successor, the museum and department (director and curators held academic appointments in the department) became distinguished for teaching and research in ornithology (Miller, Frank A. Pitelka, Ned K. Johnson, Peter L. Ames), mammalogy (E. Raymond Hall, Seth B. Benson, Oliver P. Pearson, William Z. Lidicker), herpetology (Robert C. Stebbins), vertebrate ecology (F. Pitelka), and conservation (A. Starker Leopold). Excellent field facilities were added to the museum: in 1937, the Frances Simes Hastings Natural History Reservation, a 1,600-acre tract in upper Carmel valley in Monterey county under the supervision of Jean M. Linsdale until his retirement, and later in charge of John Davis; and in 1965, the Sagehen Creek Wildlife and Fisheries Station near Truckee, California, developed in the 1950s by the late Paul R. Needham, later under Leopold, then associate director of the museum.

Another unit within the department is the Cancer Research Genetics Laboratory founded in 1950 by its director, Kenneth B. DeOme, who, with the assistance of Howard A. Bern and Satyabrata Nandi from zoology and others, developed a program in tumor biology. A unique laboratory in optics and metrology was maintained after 1933 by Jonas E. Gullberg.

Invertebrate zoology became a strong field in the department owing to the early leadership of Sol F. Light and in later years that of Ralph I. Smith and Cadet Hand, the latter the director of the new Bodega Marine Laboratory. To long established activity in morphology and taxonomy, continued largely by Hand, were added new lines of teaching and research in invertebrate zoology: physiology (Smith), neurophysiology (Donald M. Wilson), ecology (Oscar H. Paris), and endocrinology and neurosecretion (Bern).

Cell biology was another area of departmental emphasis, which was begun with the appointment in 1927 of Sumner C. Brooks and extended in recent years by Daniel Mazia, Max Alfert, Richard C. Strohman, and Morgan Harris, the latter developing a laboratory for tissue culture. Genetics, early initiated by Harry B. Torrey and Samuel J. Holmes, received new impetus with the coming of Richard Goldschmidt in 1936, and his successor, Curt Stern, in 1947.

Other disciplines were added, especially under the chairmanships of Harris and Pitelka: behavior (Peter R. Marla), neuroanatomy and histochemistry (Wilbur B. Quay), vertebrate physiology (Paul Licht), developmental genetics (Carl W. Birky, Jr.), and chemical embryology (William E. Berg and Fred H. Wilt), the last field supplementing the traditional histoembryology established long ago by J. Frank Daniel and Joseph A. Long. source

Zoology is now a part of the Department of Integrative Biology.

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Last updated 06/18/04.