On January 1st I will be starting as Curator of Entomology at the University of Texas in Austin.* I can’t even begin to convey how excited I am about this unexpected progression of my career. I will be managing a working research collection of over 1 million invertebrates, teaching entomology, and returning in full to ant evolution research. Mrs. Myrmecos (who has concurrently landed a postdoctoral spot in Nancy Moran’s microbiome evolution lab) and I are looking forward to this move for hundreds- perhaps even thousands!- of reasons. Among them: the caliber of our colleagues at UT, the fantastic research environment, the vibrant Austin culture, our many friends in town, a rich subtropical insect fauna. Plus, there are nests of Atta texana leafcutter ants right outside my new office. I mean, really. It’s like the search committee planted them there on purpose.
I mentioned this move was unexpected, and it really was. I began the year with no intention of anything other than moving forward with the insect photography business. My toes had been out the academic job pool since I went indie in 2011, and I’ve been happy running my own show. But a recent visit to the Austin revealed that the particulars of this curator position could be an unusually close fit for both me and for the University of Texas. So, I jumped. We’ll be pulling up our prairie stakes and moving in late fall.
See you in Texas!
*Since nearly everyone who heard the news asked about it, the photo business will continue as a sideline, as it was for many years before I went full-time. The insect photography galleries will remain in place, accumulating new content as time allows. I will no longer have time for private lessons and commissions, alas. The BugShot series of workshops is awesome, of course, and will live on.