Winter 2012



Gary WellbornBio Station logo

From the Director

This year has certainly been an eventful one for our biological station, especially with some significant changes in its organizational structure, but I’m pleased to report that the core of the station’s identity is unchanged.  I’m confident that we will continue to maintain our unique identity and to prosper for many years to come.

In July of this year Dr. Larry Weider stepped down as Director after more than a decade of extraordinary service, allowing him more time to focus on his strong and growing research program.  At the same time, Paul Bell, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences announced the merger of the OU Biological Station with the Department of Biology (formerly Zoology).  This merger was undertaken to ensure the station’s long-term vitality, and opens new opportunities for our station, including much greater integration with the Department of Biology.  We are still working out the kinks that arise from any major organizational restructuring, but it is clear that we have very strong advocates in both Dean Bell and Dr. Randy Hewes, Chair of Biology, and that the merger will only strengthen the biological station.

The past year was one of the busiest in memory for our station.  In addition to our summer college courses, we hosted many other groups and activities, including the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Youth Camp, two sessions of pre-collegiate science courses for Oklahoma high school students, the Chickasaw Nation Upward Bound program, professional meetings for the Southwestern Association of Parasitologists and Texas-Oklahoma Regional Consortium of Herbaria, two teachers workshops, and EnotBlitz, an event in which entomologists from Oklahoma and Texas spent a weekend collecting, identifying, and cataloging insects from the station and surrounding areas.  Together, these education and outreach activities totaled more than 3,400 person-days at our station.  We have also had an active year of research, including four UOBS Graduate Research Fellows that spent the summer here working on dissertation projects involving zooplankton ecology, Daphnia genetics, phytoplankton dynamics, and amphipod ecology.

With such a busy year, our small crew of staff was certainly tested, but I have been in awe of the remarkable job Donna, Richard, Malon, Gail, and Janet have done to make things run seamlessly throughout the year, along with occasional help from Zack and Erica.  You will never find a more amazing group of dedicated individuals!

Finally, I am humbled and honored by the opportunity to serve as Director.  I have deep admiration for this station and great respect for its rich history.  My goals for the future all hinge around both moving forward to meet the needs of the twenty-first century while also learning from and celebrating our first sixty years.  In a separate article in this issue I describe some immediate goals and priorities for the station, and I welcome your comments and suggestions on these goals.  Biological stations are special places, and I look forward to doing my best to steward the University of Oklahoma Biological Station in a way that lives up to the standards set by my predecessors.

Gary Wellborn
Director, University of Oklahoma Biological Station


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