Dustman, Eugene H. (Deceased)
Eugene (“Dusty”) was born on May 5, 1917, in the village of Poland, Ohio. He attended the public schools in Youngstown, and much of his boyhood was spent in a rural setting in the fields, woods, ponds, and streams near his home observing, admiring, and attempting to understand the mysteries and complexities of the natural world. His interest in nature was further fueled by the writings of Ernest Thompson Seton and Robert Frost. He realized early in life that understanding accompanies learning and that it is sensible to load up on both. Following completion of his high school education in 1935, he enrolled in the Ohio State University where he received his BS degree in 1940, an MS degree in 1943, and a PhD degree in 1948. His PhD degree was obtained following a two-year plus stint in the military service during World War II. The topic of his master’s degree was the habitat ecology of ruffed grouse broods in southeastern Ohio. Research for his doctorate was an investigation of the factors that caused a widespread, cataclysmic reduction in the ring-necked pheasant population in northwestern Ohio. He was inducted into the armed services in 1943 and served as a member of a 12-man airborne team, the 21st Malaria Survey Detachment, 13th Air Force. Overseas duty areas included the islands of New Guinea, Morotai, and Leyte. He was honorably discharged in January 1946. Dusty was appointed leader of the Ohio Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit in 1948 and remained there until 1959. In this position, he organized the Unit as an effective training ground for future research leaders and wildlife administrators in the field of wildlife conservation. He served as the major advisor of 23 MS and 6 PhD students during his 11-year tenure at Ohio State University. These students went on to occupy distinguished positions in universities across the nation, and others held responsible positions in federal, state, and private conservation organizations. In 1959, he became assistant director of the Branch of Wildlife Research, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and directed and coordinated activities of the 18 Cooperative Wildlife Research Units. His efforts in this assignment did much to develop the Units into a highly efficient and effective system for quality training of research scientists in the field of wildlife research. Dusty served as director of the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center from 1963 until his retirement in 1972. Under his leadership the Research Center became a scientific institution known and respected throughout the world in regard to environmental contaminants, especially DDT. His insistence on experimental validation of ecological hypotheses brought a new dimension to wildlife research. He was instrumental in the presentation of the scientific world’s first experimental demonstration of DDE‑induced shell thinning of birds’ eggs at the Madison, Wisconsin, hearings on DDT. He published a total of 34 technical publications; a number of them dealt with the effects of pesticides on wildlife. He was a member of the honorary scientific fraternity Sigma Xi and in 1971 was named the Society’s representative to the National Research Council. He served as a charter member of the Council of Environmental Quality’s Monitoring Panel and has served on a number of other intra-governmental committees. In 1973, he received a Special Achievement Award and Commendation for Superior Service to the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife. In 1996, the State of Ohio and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources honored him with the Ohio Conservation Achievement Award: “As teacher, author, scientist, and sportsman. Perhaps his greatest achievement has been the wide circle of students, colleagues, and friends he has gathered through the years, inspiring each to share his love and unique understanding of our natural world.” He lived in Everett, Pennsylvania, and Palmyra, Virginia, in retirement. Dusty was elected to the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 1963 and later became an emeritus member. Dusty died on November 5, 2008.