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John Burch (1929-2021)

Professor Emeritus and Curator Emeritus

Mollusks; Museum of Zoology

J.B. Burch, UMMZ, 1960’s.

In addition to his medical malacology research, Jack made many important basic science contributions to our fundamental knowledge of non-marine molluscan diversity in his >180 publications. He was also distinguished by his prodigious outreach and service to malacology as a discipline. One aspect of this was his exquisite guides to North American freshwater mollusks (Freshwater Unionacean Clams of North America, Freshwater Sphaeriacean Clams of North America, North American freshwater snails) and land snails (Land Snails of The University of Michigan Biological Station Area, Identification of Eastern North American Land Snails, How to Know Eastern Land Snails). Another was his astonishing record of founding four new malacological journals, one of which, Malacologia (currently the top-ranked Zoological journal by citation metrics), endures.  The other three are now either transformed into a new entity (Walkerana, now Freshwater Mollusk Biology and Conservation), or, after decades of production (Malacological Review, Journal of Medical and Applied Malacology), retired. 

To paraphrase Shakespeare (Othello), Jack has done the state (of Malacology) some service, and they know’t.