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Jack Hailman

Fern Davies

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Jack Hailman, whose illustrious career in ornithology began in 1964 as a post-doc in Germany after he earned his Ph.D at Duke, passed away on 20 January 2016. A resident of Jupiter, Florida, he was a research associate at the Archbold Biological Station where he pursued his interest in ethology and ornithology.


He also volunteered for the Bureau of Land Management, conducting monthly biotic surveys of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area. In 2013, BLM named him Volunteer of the Year for the Southeastern States. His work there started primarily with documenting bird use at the site but quickly expanded to vertebrates, invertebrates, flowering and non-flowering plants and lichens; the research has expanding the site's impressive species list (224 species). Dr. Hallman and his wife Liz established a photo database that includes flowering and fruiting stages for most of the plant species plus many of the invertebrate species. His collaboration with experts across Florida has resulted in a much greater understanding and appreciation for this remnant tract of imperiled Florida scrub, tropical hardwood hammock and tidal mangrove swamp. The BLM noted that, "Over the years, Dr. Hailman has been a constant, coordinating the monthly inventories with other subject matter experts and partners without a miss, starting in the pre-dawn hours and dealing with harsh weather and his own very busy schedule. In addition to the field work, Dr. Hailman has spent many more hours organizing notes, untangling difficult identifications, taking and cataloging photos and organizing and maintaining the extensive species list. The photo data base is being cataloged for a ready downloadable reference for ONA visitors. The work has done much to highlight the incredible diversity of the ONA, exposed with the skill and persistence of the consummate naturalist. The high standards and credibility Dr. Hailman brings to the project has brought this site, BLM's only eastern Outstanding Natural Area, to the attention of Florida's active conservation community. The data he has provided will continue to serve as an integral part of the future management of the site, and will be invaluable as environmental education and public outreach efforts are expanded at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area."



As he described his research career:  "My former laboratory at the University of Wisconsin and my continuing field research program at Archbold Biological Station have focused on avian behavior. Nevertheless, my published research has ranged wider - to the ethology of other organisms (e.g., insects, fishes, amphibians, reptiles and mammals) and to ornithology other than behavior (e.g., distribution and migration, plumage and soft-part coloration, growth, ecological adaptations, and general life history). Research has often emphasized vocal communication, vision, and (more recently) cognitive abilities, especially of birds. Although the program is one of basic research, much of it purposefully explores topics of potential relevance to conservation, with emphases on species whose populations are or may become threatened (e.g., loggerhead, endangered procellariiform birds, Florida scrub-jays).


Hailman taught zoology at the University of Wisconsin from 1969-1988 and held an emeritus position thereafter. He also held positions at the University of Maryland, 


Hailman was a Fellow of the American Ornithologists' Union (elected 1974), American Association for the Advancement of Science (elected 1980), and Animal Behavior Society (elected 1984). The ABS awarded him Distinguished Animal Behaviorist Award in 1998.

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