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F. JAMES ROHLF

DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR

SEMI-RETIRES

 

 
F. JAMES ROHLF, DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR OF ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION SEMI-RETIRES
Jim Rohlf has played a critical role in Stony Brook’s Department of Ecology and Evolution for over four decades. He worked with Robert Sokal to transform our disciplines from largely descriptive fields to ones in which statistical analysis is a strict requirement. He also helped to distinguish E&E as a center for the development and application of statistics in ecology and evolution. He has trained generations of students in our fields in the use of statistics and provided expert advice to his departmental colleagues – as well as anyone else who sent him an email message seeking his advice.

In the spring of 2011, Jim accepted a John S. Toll Professorship, which reduces his teaching and other university obligations to about 20%. This appointment means that he is officially semi-retired but in actuality allows him to devote more time to continue developing Geometric Morphometrics and to explore interesting new areas of research.

In the immediate future, Jim and Robert Sokal are completing the fourth edition of their classic textbook, Biometry. He and two former E&E graduate students, Dean Adams and Dennis Slice, will complete a book on Geometric Morphometrics. Jim will also complete several papers that have been delayed while working on these books. Longer term, he will devote more time to new topics such as development of new statistical methods for the analysis of microbiome data and the application of geometric morphometric methods to new areas. All of these activities will, of course, provide excuses for the further development of computer programs. So don’t worry. Semi-retirement does not mean putting Jim out to pasture. Instead, it promises to be a period of increased activity in the statistical research that is near and dear to his heart.

Jim also expects to travel. He will explore Madagascar and attend a botanical congress in Australia during the summer of 2011. He and his wife Janice also plan to avoid the worst of the Long Island winters in their new home in Maui. However, for most of the year we will still see him working in his office, hosting visitors from around the world, and encouraging colleagues to drop in to talk about statistics.


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