Oliver Payne Pearson
|Oliver P. Pearson|
|Born||Oliver Payne Pearson
October 21, 1915
|Died||March 4, 2003
Walnut Creek, California
|Institutions||UC Berkeley, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology|
|Alma mater||Harvard University|
|Known for||The rate of metabolism of some small mammals. Ecology 28:127-145 (1947).|
|Notable awards||Hartley H. T. Jackson Award (1984), Honorary Doctoral Degree, University of La Plata (2000)|
|Author abbrev. (zoology)||Pearson|
Oliver Payne Pearson (October 21, 1915, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - March 4, 2003, Walnut Creek, California), or "Paynie" to many that knew him, was an American zoologist and ecologist. Over a very active 50-year career, he served as professor of zoology at UC Berkeley and curator of mammals at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. Pearson is best known for his work on the role of predation on vole demography and population cycles, and for his piercing contributions to the biology of South American mammals, but his earlier studies on reproductive and physiological ecology are highly regarded as well.
Pearson graduated from Swarthmore College in 1937. He attended Harvard University for both his M.S. (1939) and Ph.D. (1947), and was then hired by UC Berkeley as an instructor in zoology (1947–48). He was an assistant professor of zoology (Department of Zoology) and assistant curator of mammals (Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, MVZ) from 1949 to 1955, gaining tenure and advancing to associate professor of zoology and associate curator of mammals in the MVZ in 1955. In 1957 he resigned his tenured position, maintaining status at UC Berkeley as a lecturer in zoology and as a research associate at the museum. This allowed him to focus his attentions on his studies of voles and predation, and to spend a year as a visiting professor of ecology at the University of Buenos Aires (1964–65). When Alden Miller, Director of MVZ, died in 1965, Pearson returned to the tenure series, this time as full professor of zoology (which he retained until his real and very active retirement in 1971), and as acting director of MVZ (1966–67) and then director (1967–71).
In 1937 he traveled to Panama, then to Peru (1938, 1939–40, 1946, 1952, 1955, 1967, 1972), Colombia (1950) and Argentina (1955, 1964–65, and yearly from 1978 to 1999). He was honorary member of the American Society of Mammalogists (ASM), Cooper Ornithological Society (COS), Sociedad Argentina para el Estudio de los Mamíferos (SAREM) and the Comité Argentino de Conservación de la Naturaleza. He was an elected Director for the ASM over 17 years between 1952 and 1990 and received the Hartley H. T. Jackson Award “for long and outstanding service to ASM” in 1984. After his death in 2003, the ASM established the Oliver Pearson Award, which offers financial support to young professional mammalogists who hold academic or curatorial positions in Latin America, to help them establish or consolidate their research programs.
In 1944 he married Anita Kelley, who was to be his companion in all his subsequent travels, with whom he had four children. When awarded an honorary doctoral degree (“Doctor Honoris Causa”) from the University of La Plata, Argentina in 2000, Pearson famously stated “Yo soy un simple atrapador de ratones, y nada hubiese sido posible sin Anita” (“I am a simple mouse-trapper, and nothing would have been possible without Anita”).
- Pearson, O. P. 1944 Reproduction in the shrew (Blarina brevicauda Say). American Journal of Anatomy 75:39-93.
- Pearson, O. P. 1947 The rate of metabolism of some small mammals. Ecology 28:127-145.
- Pearson, O. P. 1948 Metabolism of small mammals, with remarks on the lower limit of mammalian size. Science 108:44.
- Pearson, O. P., M. R. Koford & A. K. Pearson 1952 Reproduction of the lump-nosed bat (Corynorhinus rafinesquei) in California. Journal of Mammalogy 33:273-320.
- Pearson, O. P. 1954 Habits of the lizard Liolaemus multiformis multiformis at high altitudes in southern Peru. Copeia 2:111-116.
- Pearson, O. P. 1963 History of two local outbreaks of feral house mice. Ecology 44:540-548.
- Pearson, O. P. 1966 The prey of carnivores during one cycle of mouse abundance. Journal of Animal Ecology 35:217-233.
- Pearson, O. P. 1971 Additional measurements of the impact of carnivores on California voles (Microtus californicus). Journal of Mammalogy 52:41-49.
- Pearson, O. P. & D. F. Bradford 1976 Thermoregulation of lizards and toads at high altitudes in Peru. Copeia 1976:155-170.
- Pearson, O. P. & J. L. Patton 1976 Relationships among South American phyllotine rodents based on chromosome analysis. Journal of Mammalogy 57:339-350.
- Kelt, D.A., E.P. Lessa, J. Salazar-Bravo & J.L. Patton (editors). 2007. The Quintessential Naturalist: Honoring the Life and Legacy of Oliver P. Pearson. University of California Publications in Zoology. Volume 134. University of California Press, Berkeley. http://repositories.cdlib.org/ucpress/
- Lidicker, W.Z. & Patton, J.L. 2009. Oliver Payne Pearson: 1915-2003. Journal of Mammalogy 90:244-247.
- Kelt, D.A., E.P. Lessa, J. Salazar-Bravo & J.L. Patton. 2007. Oliver P. Pearson: scientist, statesman, gentleman. In: Kelt, D.A., E.P. Lessa, J. Salazar-Bravo & J.L. Patton (eds.), The Quintessential Naturalist: Honoring the Life and Legacy of Oliver P. Pearson. University of California Publications in Zoology. Volume 134. University of California Press, Berkeley. http://repositories.cdlib.org/ucpress/
- Lessa, E. P. & A. Langguth 1983 Ctenomys pearsoni, n. sp. (Rodentia, Octodontidae), del Uruguay. Resultados Comunicados Jornadas Ciencias Naturales, Montevideo, Uruguay 3:86-88.
- Myers, P. 1977 A new phyllotine rodent (genus Graomys) from Paraguay. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan 676:1-7.
- Patterson, B. D. 1992 A new genus and species of long-clawed mouse (Rodentia: Muridae) from temperate rainforests of Chile. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 106:127-145.
- In memorian: http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/senate/inmemoriam/oliverpaynepearson.html
- Memorial: http://www.mip.berkeley.edu/mvz/pearson/
- Obituary: http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/03/07_pearson.shtml
- Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California at Berkeley: http://mvz.berkeley.edu/
- Latin American Fellowship Committee, American Society of Mammalogists: http://www.mammalsociety.org/committees/latin-american-fellowship