Mammal gathering. Mammals watch closely over the proceedings as Professor Emeritus Phil Myers (far right) talks with Professor Barry O'Connor at the event that unveiled the Myers’ namesake fund for field research. Image credit: Mark O'Brien.

To honor Professor Emeritus Phil Myers’ passion for and contributions to field biology and his commitment to education, Professor Emeritus James Patton, University of California, Berkeley, gave a generous gift to create the Dr. Phil Myers Endowed Award for Field Research.

Myers’ pioneering fieldwork has significantly advanced research in the systematics and biodiversity of South American mammals, and helped elucidate the effects of climate change on the distributions of North American mammals. Myers’ innovative instruction in the classroom includes his development of the Animal Diversity Web.

"Phil was my first Ph.D. student, and we worked together for many years after he went to Ann Arbor,” said Patton. “His research and commitment to student education will continue to have a long-term impact on your campus. I believe everyone who knows Phil will wish to see him honored in an equally long-term manner. Helping to establish an endowment in his name is both a great personal pleasure and an honor."

Patton is professor emeritus of integrative biology and curator emeritus of mammals at UC Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. His gift will establish a scholarship for graduate students doing field- or collection-based research associated with the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology or U-M Biological Station, with preference for students studying mammals.

The gift is in recognition of the thousands of natural history specimens Myers contributed to UMMZ as a result of his fieldwork in Borneo, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Nepal, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, and the United States.

“Phil dedicated his career to teaching, in particular to teaching young people to think scientifically and to understand and appreciate mammalian biology,” said Tanya Dewey (EEB Ph.D. 2006), one of Myers’ former students. “Phil's impact on teaching and inspiring new mammalogists is substantial. This endowment will help to support what Phil is most passionate about – fundamental field research in ecology and evolutionary biology.” Dewey is currently the director of the Animal Diversity Web.

This gift and the fund named in his honor will carry forward Myers' mission and his legacy.

If you would like to make a contribution to honor Myers, you can give online to the Dr. Phil Myers Endowed Award for Field Research Fund.

Celebrating the wonderful news: Professor and Curator Priscilla Tucker, director of the U-M Museum of Zoology, Professor Emeritus and Curator Emeritus of Mammals Phil Myers, and Cody Thompson, collections manager of mammals at UMMZ and an assistant research scientist. Image credit: Mark O'Brien.