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Dr Mark A Jervis

Mark Jervis

Our friend and colleague Mark Jervis passed away on Tuesday 11th March 2014. He was a world-renowned entomologist and an expert in insect life histories and integrated pest management. He was a Senior Lecturer within the School of Biosciences and was regarded both as an outstanding teacher and researcher: he was a wonderful colleague and friend.

Mark obtained a first class degree in Zoology from Royal Holloway and then came to Cardiff in 1973 as a demonstrator. He went on to do his PhD (awarded in 1978) on the Hymenoptera and Diptera parasitoid community attacking Typhlocyinae leafhoppers on woodland trees under the tutelage of Professor Mike Claridge. Mark believed in, and practiced the scientific process in its purest form. Mark published regularly and scholarly and his record of over 100 peer-reviewed articles and numerous more general articles attest to this fact. From his earliest publication on the taxonomy of a group of parasitic insects to one his most recent publications, Mark’s scholastic and intellectual capabilities were clear. His study, with Neil Kidd, of host-feeding strategies in the parasitic wasps that Mark became so interested in, is a classic - published in 1986, it has been cited 450 times and is a standard to this day. His recent papers, published with Peter Ferns and colleagues, that used an egg-index (the ovi-geny index) to assess fitness, are also classics: his first major work in this field, published in 2001, has already been cited 280 times. In April 2012, Mark published a landmark paper with colleagues Annika Moe and George Heimpel on “The evolution of parasitoid fecundity: a paradigm under scrutiny” in the journal Ecology Letters – the top journal in the ISI Ecology field by a very wide margin.

His book, first co-edited with Neil Kidd and later as sole editor, on Natural Enemies is considered the essential text for many undergraduate courses. Mark was the Editor of the International Journal of Pest Management. He also sat on other Editorial Boards, but IJPM was the main focus of his interest and efforts. Strategically he built up the journal to become one of the most respected publications in its field. More recently, he had also developed a fascination with the history of science; the work of Robert Hooke and Henry Power had captured his imagination. Mark was due to give a public lecture at the Royal Society on Robert Hooke’s Micrographia, on the Friday of the week he passed away. His insights on Hooke and on the Micrographia were published recently in an article in the journal, Antenna, 2014 37 (4).

With Mike Claridge and others, Mark was instrumental in setting up in the 1980s what become internationally recognised as one of the best Masters courses of its kind – in Applied Insect Taxonomy. His undergraduate teaching contributions were also very important within the School, holding key positions such as Chair of Biological Sciences Exam Board and Year 3 Coordinator and teaching courses such as animal diversity, integrated pest management, evolution and ecology with characteristic scholarship, outstanding attention to detail and no little wit. His impact on a whole generation of zoology undergraduates is difficult to estimate but judging from the reaction we have received from Cardiff zoology alumni, it must reach across the globe. He will be profoundly missed.

- Mike Bruford, Hefin Jones and Mike Wilson