Edward William Nelson

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Edward William Nelson in Alaska

Edward William Nelson (born May 8, 1855 in Manchester , New Hampshire , † May 19, 1934 in Washington, DC ) was an American naturalist and ethnologist . Its official botanical author abbreviation is " EWNelson ".

Live and act

Nelson's parents were William Nelson and Nancy Martha Wells. His father died in the Civil War . In 1868 his mother moved with him and his younger brother Fred to Chicago , where they became homeless in the Great Fire in 1871 . In 1876 Nelson studied biology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore . In 1877 he joined the United States Sigmal Corps. Spencer Fullerton Baird was responsible for recruiting intelligence officers with a science qualification at remote research stations to study flora and fauna for him. Nelson worked in St. Michael , Alaska until June 1881 .

In 1881 Nelson participated as a naturalist on board the USRC Corwin in a search expedition for the missing USS Jeanette to Wrangel Island . Nelson published his discoveries in the Report upon Natural History Collections Made in Alaska between the Years 1877–1881 (1887). He also described his ethnological expeditions in The Eskimo about Bering Strait (1900).

In 1890 Nelson accompanied the zoologist Clinton Hart Merriam , head of the Department of Ornithology and Mammalogy at the United States Department of Agriculture, on an expedition to the Valley of Death . In 1891 he went to Mexico and conducted field studies of the terrestrial vertebrate fauna there for the next 14 years. He was accompanied by Edward Alphonso Goldman for ten years . In the following years he worked until his retirement in 1929 in the Bureau of Biological Survey (forerunner of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service ), which he directed between 1916 and 1927.

Nelson was president of the American Ornithologists' Union , the American Society of Mammalogists, and the Biological Society of Washington . He published over 200 scientific publications and wrote, among other things, the first descriptions of the Dall sheep , the Mexican wolf , the Sinaloas tern , the Mexicanonymphe , the Omilteme cottontail rabbit and the red-faced hummingbird .

Taxa named after Nelson

The animals named after Edward Wiliam Nelson include the Nelson's antelope pebble ( Ammospermophilus nelsoni ), the Mexican grizzly bear ( Ursus arctos nelsoni ), the Amargosa toad ( Anaxyrus nelsoni ), Nelson's kangaroo rat ( Dipodomys nelsoni ) and Nelson's milk snake ( nelsoni ).

Works (selection)


  • Edward Alphonso Goldman: Edward William Nelson - Naturalist, 1855-1934. In: The Auk. A Quarterly Journal of Ornithology. Vol. 52 (2nd quarter). April 1935 ( online ; PDF; 879 kB)

Web links

Commons : Edward William Nelson  - Collection of Images