Barrows, Edward M. (Active)
Georgetown University
Entomology of Dyke Marsh
Edd was born in 1946 in Motor City (Detroit), Michigan and has always been interested in nature. He lived in southern Michigan on a small farm with a Victorian garden until he was six years old. Before he entered kindergarten, he wondered about earthworms drowning in puddles and thousands of red flowers of Silver Maples on the ground after spring storms and marveled at Alfalfa fields teeming with insects in the summer. He planted seeds, dug up tulip plants to look at their bulbs, and collected thousands of ladybird beetles in jars. One day at lunchtime in the first grade, he opened his lunch bucket and found a bag of recently excavated tulip bulbs. Evidently, his mother (now 100 years old) had put them in there perhaps to scold him for digging them out of her garden. A schoolmate asked him about the bulbs, and he said, “It’s a long story.” He also enjoyed watching Muskrats, beetles, butterflies, and other animals with his cousins. It was highly fortunate that his family moved to Tampa, Florida, in 1952, when it was still a fairly sleepy place. He continued gardening and nature observations there, even having an ant colony in his family’s living room. He grew azaleas, begonias, hibiscus, palm trees, phlox, onions, radishes, tomatoes, and many other kinds of plants including the infamous Punktree, which is now a major pest in Florida. Edd collected insects and snakes, and had an absolutely wonderful time in the countryside. In Tampa, he attended Twin Lakes Elementary School, which had a large botanic garden planted by its principal. His family returned to Michigan in 1959, where he resumed gardening and nature observations, starting a series of paintings of native plants of southern Michigan and an arthropod collection. At the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, he had a joyous time as a botany-zoology co-major. He attended classes at the University of Michigan Biological Station in northern Michigan, where he took an entomology course with Professor Robert E. Beer, who told him, “Everything you want is at the University of Kansas.” Consequently, he entered that university in 1968, where he worked with Professor Charles D. Michener on bee sociality. In Kansas, Edd visited beautiful, biologically-rich prairie remnants as much as he could. In 1975, he became an assistant professor at Georgetown University, being drawn to the area especially because of the Smithsonian Institution and the wonders of the Potomac Valley. While at Georgetown University, where he still works, he has taught an assortment of courses including animal behavior, botany, entomology, and the history of life. He currently teaches an earth-stewardship course and forest ecology. His research has involved the ecology, evolution, and behavior of arthropods, birds, and plants and scientific communication and terminology. He published scores of scientific papers, a dictionary of biological concepts called “Animal Behavior Desk Reference,” and a popular book called Nature, Gardens, and Georgetown. Currently Jean Tsai, Martha Weiss, and he are studying male mate competition and other aspects of the biology of Nasonia vitripennis (Jewel Wasp). Other biologists and he are working on the arthropods of Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve, Virginia and aspects of the biology of Asclepias syriaca(Common Milkweed) including self-pollination and outcrossing as it relates to type of pollinator. He is a former president of the Entomological Society of Washington, a former laison between the American Institute of Biological Sciences and the Animal Behavior Society, and a former elected officer of the Glen Echo Heights Citizens’ Association in Maryland. He was elected into the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 2006. At Georgetown University, he is currently the Director of the Entomology and Biodiversity Laboratory, Director of the Center for the Environment, and Director of Environmental Education.