Vale A.R. (Bert) Main

To: "'BirdingAus'" <>
Subject: Vale A.R. (Bert) Main
From: "Stephen Ambrose" <>
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 2009 13:35:05 +1100
It was with great sadness to learn today that Emeritus Professor A.R. (Bert)
Main passed away at age 100 years on 3 December 2009. Bert was associated
with the Department of Zoology at the University of Western Australia for
over 33 years, enrolling as a student in 1947 and retiring in 1980. Despite
his retirement, he remained an active zoologist and conservationist for over
25 additional years. 


Many of you may not have heard of Bert's contributions to Australian
zoology, but to those of us who graduated from the University of WA he was a
legend. Bert trail-blazed Australian animal ecology and contributed greatly
to the understanding of ecology and physiology of Australian marsupials,
frogs and reptiles. His epic studies into the speciation of frogs, in
particular, were among the first rigorous studies of evolutionary biology in


Many of Bert's postgraduate students, particularly during the 1960s and
1970s, became professors of zoology in Australian universities and overseas,
carrying on his excellence in zoological research. He was also instrumental
in educating high school student about biology, as one of the authors of the
acclaimed  high school textbook "The Web of Life". He also had an active
involvement in the WA Naturalists Club, which resulted in a number of
significant natural history publications in the 1960s and 1970s.


Bert also contributed significantly to environmental conservation, as an
active member of many committees, and perhaps one of his major contributions
was helping to convince the WA Government to set up a strategic conservation
reserve system.


Please excuse this departure from the usual discussion about birds, but
Australia has just lost another giant of ecology, and there would certainly
be some Birding-aussers who knew him personally and would appreciate hearing
the news.


Stephen Ambrose

Ryde, NSW




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