The Department of Paleobiology lost one of its curatorial icons this past Sunday with the death of Dr. Richard S. Boardman, former Curator of Bryozoa. Dr. Boardman received his PhD from the University of Illinois soon after he was hired by the U.S. Geological Survey in 1951. He joined the NMNH Department of Geology in 1957, which was later split into the Department of Paleobiology and Department of Mineralogy. While he was Curator-in-Charge for the Division of Invertebrate Paleontology Dr. Boardman led a major expansion of the Paleobiology Department by accessing funds appropriated to the National Oceanography Program and by hiring additional curatorial expertise in the newly opened East Wing of the Natural History Building. This resulted in the hiring of Marty Buzas (foraminifera; 1963), Ken Towe (1964), Richard Benson (ostrocodes;1964), Jack Pierce (sedimentologist; 1965), Daniel Stanley (oceanographer;1966) and Alan Cheetham (cheilostome bryozoans; 1966), all from oceanography funds, and Tom Waller (Cenozoic bivalves) and Dick Robinson (trilobites; 1966).
Dr. Boardman was best known for his research on Devonian bryozoans and a new methodology he developed for thin-sectioning and studying bryozoans, which became adopted worldwide. He also was at the forefront of studying the biology and ecology of living bryozoans, which afforded new insight to the paleobiology of Paleozoic species. Dr. Boardman was a founding member of the International Bryozoology Association, he authored and co-authored numerous publications on Recent and Paleozoic bryozoa, he led the revision of the Treatise of Invertebrate Paleontology's volume on bryozoa, and he was the lead editor of the textbook Invertebrate Paleontology, which was published two years after his 1985 retirement. His research interest and enthusiasm for the study of bryozoans did not diminish during the 23 years that followed his retirement until only the last months of his life when health problems prevented him from doing his work. During his career and long after his retirement Dr. Boardman received a number of awards for scientific excellence and leadership, including the Paleontological Association's Golden Trilobite Award and an honorable mention for best paper in the Paleontological Society's Journal of Paleontology. A tribute to Dr. Boardman is planned for the next issue of the International Bryozoology Association Bulletin.
Smithsonian Institution - Department of Paleobiology
Curator of Planktic Foraminifera