Thomas, Lindsey K., Jr. (Active)
Kay was born on April 16, 1931, in Salt Lake City, Utah. His interest in natural history was fostered by forest environments adjacent to his homes in several states. After graduation in 1953 from Utah State Agricultural College with a BS degree in botany, he became a ranger naturalist in the National Capital Parks of the National Park Service. He graduated in 1958 from Brigham Young University with an MS degree with major subject matter in both genetics and ecology. The ecological genetics research with additional data was published by Kay and Dr. Howard Stutz in Evolution and subsequently selected as a landmark paper on reticulate evolution in the book, Papers on Evolution. On December 31, 1957, he began his professional career as a park naturalist in Washington, D.C. In 1962, National Capital Parks was reorganized into a National Park Service region and Kay was selected to do research. His research on the effect of road salt came to the attention of the National Academy of Science and Kay was invited to present his paper at their conference and have it published in the Highway Research Record. When the National Park Service began initiating a national natural resource research program, Kay was one of a handful brought under the Washington Office as a research biologist. He was given responsibility for Southeast Temperate Forest park areas in 1966, which he held until the National Park Service was reorganized. During this time the Service sent him for further graduate study at Duke University, and this began his doctoral program in ecology. The need to investigate exotic species problems in the National Parks brought about his research and doctoral dissertation, The Impact of Three Exotic Plant Species on the Native Vegetation of a Potomac Island (including animal and fungal species), which was published as a scientific monograph and distributed worldwide. Since 1982, his research has been directed toward developing a method of exotic plant management that will “exotic proof” the vegetation. Other important accomplishments include a method of recognizing significant natural features and determining minimal sized viable natural ecosystems; this was the first time anyone had shown that the wild land parks in the Washington metropolitan area had any great value. As an internationally known expert, he has conducted symposia on exotic species ecology and management. In recognition of his accomplishments, he was elected to membership in the Society of the Sigma Xi, the scientific research society, and he is included in a number of reference works including American Men of Science, Dictionary of International Biography, and Who’s Who in America. He married Nancy Van Dyke and they have four children. Nancy died in 2002. Kay was elected to the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 1974 and served on the fauna and flora committee. As part of his exotic species research he collected vegetation and microclimate data on Plummers Island.