Saturday, December 13, 2014

Rob Cannings: E-Fauna BC Dragonfly and Robber Fly Editor

Rob Cannings has been supporting E-Fauna BC since we began the project in 2007. He and Geoff Scudder embraced E-Fauna when they made the decision to post the draft chapters of their insect book-in-progress, The Insect Families of British Columbia, on E-Fauna.  It was a marvelous contribution, and made expert information on the insect fauna of the province widely available, from bristletails to termites. In our insect section on E-Fauna, accessed through the menu on the home page, you can read the chapters of the book which include introductions to each insect order in BC. We have presented these in sections, alphabetically by order.  You can also view family descriptions and keys to the families that Rob and Geoff have prepared.  Just follow the menu links to explore their book.  The book is a work-in-progess, though, so Rob and Geoff continue to work on write ups on orders and families found throughout the province.  

From the beginning, Rob has also helped us process insect photos for our photo galleries, identifying submissions and helping us to find experts who might be willing to help.  His new role as editor of dragonflies and robber flies really just continues this work, except Rob will now be publishing and processing photos for these two insect groups. 

Rob grew up in the Okanagan Valley beside a Penticton grassland in a family known across Canada for its contributions to natural history and conservation. Rob was Curator of Entomology at the Royal British Coumbia Museum (RBCM) in Victoria, BC, from 1980 until his retirement in 2013.  He is now Curator Emeritus there and continues his entomological research and writing.  From 1987 to 1996 he also led the museum's Natural History Section. He has been active on the Scientific Committee of the Biological Survey of Canada (Terrestrial Arthropods), the British Columbia Invertebrate Recovery Team and the Entomological Societies of Britsh Columbia and Canada. He started the ESBC newsletter Boreus in 1981 and was editor until 1991. He is a member of the Arthropod Subcommittee of COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada).  In former lives, Rob was a biologist and nature interpreter for BC Parks and the Canadian Wildlife Service and served as a lecturer in the Zoology Department and curator of the Spencer Entomological Museum at the University of BC. His B. Sc. and M. Sc. are from the University of BC; his Ph. D. comes from the University of Guelph.

Rob studies insect systematics, especially the taxonomy, evolution and biogeography of dragonflies (Odonata) and robber flies (Diptera: Asilidae).  However, he has published on groups in all of the major orders of insects.  He has authored several books, including The Dragonflies of British Columbia (1977), Introducing the Dragonflies of British Columbia and the Yukon (2002), and The Systematics of Lasiopogon (Diptera: Asilidae) (2002).  With his brothers, Syd and Dick, he co-authored the books The Birds of the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia (1987) and The World of Fresh Water (1998). 

Read more about Rob here and here.

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