California Academy of Sciences - To Explore, Explain, and Protect the Natural World

David H. Kavanaugh

Senior Curator
Department of Entomology

B.A. San Jose State University (1967); M.A. University of Colorado (1970); Ph.D. University of Alberta (1978). National Research Council of Canada Predoctoral Scholar (1972-75). Assistant Curator, California Academy of Sciences (1974-78); Associate Curator (1979-84); Curator (1984-88); Director of Research (1986-88); Senior Curator (1988- ). Adjunct Professor, Sonoma State University (1987- ). Research Professor, San Francisco State University (1998- ). President, Coleopterists Society (1982); Executive Council (1978-81). Chairman, Section A, Entomological Society of America (1979-80). President, Pacific Coast Entomological Society (1981); Executive Council (1976-83). Executive Council, Society of Systematic Zoology (1979-83). Fellow, California Academy of Sciences.

The primary focus of my research program is the systematics, biogeography, and evolution of members of the beetle family Carabidae, the "predaceous ground beetles". Worldwide in distribution, this family includes more than 40,000 described species and many thousands of additional species yet to be discovered and described. Members of the family are also highly diverse in their form, behavior, habitat preference, and life history. For the past 20 years, my main research effort has been a monographic study of the genus Nebria Latreille, which presently includes about 500 known species, all restricted to one or both of the northern (Holarctic) continents. About 55 species are found in North America, all confined to cool or cold habitats, and, therefore, found mainly in northern or montane areas. Many species live at the margins of cold mountain streams or alpine snowfields and glaciers. Active mainly at night, they emerge from daytime hiding places under the protective cover of darkness to hunt their prey--other insects and invertebrates. My studies of these beetles have taken me to all the major mountain ranges in North America to learn first hand about the distributions, habitat requirements, and other aspects of biology of these species. I am also investigating the evolutionary relationships and geographical histories of members of this group through the study of fossil specimens and the use of such analytical techniques as cladistics and vicariance biogeography.

Concurrently, I am investigating evolutionary relationships among the different subgroups (tribes and genera) of ground beetles in an attempt to reconstruct their genealogy. Such work depends on inference gained from detailed comparative studies of internal and external structure, life history, behavior, distribution, and habitat. I am also working on faunal inventories for several areas around the world, including Costa Rica, Madagascar, China, and Papua New Guinea.

I am also interested in theoretical aspects of systematics, biogeography, and evolution and plan to continue contributing to the conceptual development of these active research fields.

Kavanaugh, D. H. 1972. Hennig's principles and methods of phylogenetic systematics. The Biologist 54:115-127.

_____________. 1978. Chapter 8. Hennigian phylogenetics in contemporary systematics: principles, methods, and uses. Pp. 139-150. In: Beltsville symposia in agricultural research, 2. Biosystematics in agriculture. Allenheld, Osmun and Company, Montclair, New Jersey (distributed by Halstead Press, New York), xii + 340 pp.

_____________. 1979. Rates of taxonomically significant diiferentiation in relation to geographical isolation and habitat: examples from a study of the Nearctic Nebria fauna. Pp. 35-57. In: Erwin, T. L., G. E. Ball, D. R. Whitehead, and A. L. Halpern (editors), Carabid beetles: their evolution, natural history, and classification (Proceedings of the First International Symposium of Carabidology, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C. , August 21, 23, and 25, 1976). W. Junk, b.v., Publishers, The Hague, 635 pp.

_____________. 1979. Studies on the Nebriini (Coleoptera: Carabidae), III. New Nearctic Nebria species and subspecies, nomenclatural notes, and lectotype designations. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 42:87-133.

_____________. 1980. Insects of western Canada, with special reference to certain Carabidae (Coleoptera): present distribution patterns and their origins. The Canadian Entomologist 112:1129-1144.

_____________. 1986. A systematic review of amphizoid beetles (Amphizoidae: Coleoptera) and their phylogenetic relationships to other Adephaga. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 44:67-109.

_____________. 1992. Carabid beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) of the Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia. Memoirs of the California Academy of Sciences, 16, vii + 113 pp.

Kavanaugh, D.H. and T.L. Erwin. 1991. The tribe Cicindini Bänninger (Coleoptera: Carabidae): comparative morphology, classification, natural history, and evolution. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 93:356-389.



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