International Ornithological Congresses

As mentioned in previous chapters, Ernst Mayr attended, when possible, the meetings of local and national ornithological societies in Germany and in the United States and frequently gave lectures at these meetings. He was also a regular attendant of the International Ornithological Congresses (IOC) which take place every 4 years: Amsterdam (1930), Oxford (1934), and Rouen (1938; lecture on the sex ratio in birds). Between these congresses he carried on an active correspondence, e.g., with E. Stresemann and other leading ornithologists, about presidents to be nominated, about the place and organizational details of future congresses. Because of legal problems with his passport (p. 251), he did not attend the 10th IOC in Uppsala, Sweden (1950), but R. C. Murphy read his progress report on "Speciation in birds" (Mayr 1951l). At the 11th IOC in Basle (Basel, 1954) Mayr lectured on the bird fauna of the table mountains of southern Venezuela (with W. H. Phelps, Jr., 1955f) and in Helsinki (1958) he organized a symposium on adaptive evolution (1960e). In Ithaca (1962) he was the President of the XIIIth Congress and spoke on "The role of ornithological research in biology" (1963r). From that year on he was a permanent member of the International Ornithological Committee. He attended the IOCsin Oxford (1966), where six presidents posed for a photograph (Fig. 3.12) and Mayr received an honorary PhD from Oxford University, The Hague (1970; chairman of the symposium on "Causal zoogeography") and Canberra, Australia (1974; chairman of the symposium on "The value of various taxonomic characters in avian classifications"). At the 17th IOC in Berlin (1978) he gave the Stresemann memorial lecture on "Problems of the classification of birds" and at the 19th IOC in Ottawa (1986) he reported on "The contributions of birds to evolutionary theory." In view of his advanced age he did not attend the congresses in Moscow (1982) and in New Zealand (1990) but did travel to Vienna in 1994 (21st IOC), when

Fig. 3.12. Presidents of International Ornithological Congresses at the XIVth I.O.C. in Oxford, United Kingdom (1966). From left to right: David Lack (1966), Sir Landsborough Thomson (1954), Alexander Wetmore (1950), Jean Berlioz (1958), Ernst Mayr (1962), and Erwin Stresemann (1934) (reproduced from the Proceedings of the XIVth I.O.C.)

Fig. 3.12. Presidents of International Ornithological Congresses at the XIVth I.O.C. in Oxford, United Kingdom (1966). From left to right: David Lack (1966), Sir Landsborough Thomson (1954), Alexander Wetmore (1950), Jean Berlioz (1958), Ernst Mayr (1962), and Erwin Stresemann (1934) (reproduced from the Proceedings of the XIVth I.O.C.)

the British Ornithologists' Union awarded him the Salvin-Godman medal and the University of Vienna a honorary PhD degree. In later years he always made an effort to attend the annual meetings of the American Philosophical Society which take place during three days in spring.

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