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Using Historical Information in Wildlife Science: A Personal Journey
Universiy of Maine, University of Maine Foundation (2014)
  • William B. Krohn, University of Maine
The Geddes W. Simpson Lecture Series Fund was established at the University of Maine Foundation in 2001 by the family of Geddes Wilson Simpson, a well respected faculty member who began his 55-year career with the College of Life Sciences and the Maine Agricultural Experiment Station in 1931. Simpson was named chair of the Entomology Department in 1954 and remained in that position until his retirement in 1974. The Geddes W. Simpson Distinguished Lecture was established to support a lecture series featuring speakers of prominence “who have provided significant insight into the area where science and history intersect.”

Attached is the POWERPOINT version of Krohn's Geddes Simpson Lecture.

This presentation explores when and how one wildlife scientist became interested in using historical documents to understand the ever-changing temporal and special distributions of wildlife populations.  In addition to discussing the promises that historical information hold, scientists must also face the potential pitfalls when using written historical records. After a brief overview of the scientific method, including hypothesis testing, two peer-reviewed, published examples are presented where historical information answered specific wildlife issues. The first issue one involves a regulatory question whereas the second other issue tests two related biological hypotheses.  Additional examples are presented to illustrate wildlife questions that historical information can potentially help to answer.  While the examples given are from northern New England, the approaches presented are useful for other applications, even at different spatial and temporal scales depending on the question(s) at hand.  The presentation’s main conclusion is that today’s wildlife scientists are under-utilizing an important source of readily available information – the written historical record.

  • Geddes W. Simpson Distinguished Lecture,
  • William B. Krohn,
  • Using historical wildlife information
Publication Date
October 8, 2014
Citation Information
William B. Krohn. "Using Historical Information in Wildlife Science: A Personal Journey" Universiy of Maine, University of Maine Foundation (2014)
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