[ skip to content ]

News @ ODU

Venue Change: "Indiana Jones of Entomology" to Give ODU Lecture on Adventurous Lives of Ants

photo of ODU speaker, ant expert Mark MoffettMark Moffett

Biologist, explorer and nature photographer Mark W. Moffett will speak on "Adventures Among Ants" for the Lytton J. Musselman Natural History Lecture at Old Dominion University Thursday, March 20.

Moffett's presentation, part of the President's Lecture Series at ODU, will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the North Cafeteria of the Webb Center. Admission is free and open to the public. Registration is encouraged by visiting www.odu.edu/univevents and using event code "MML14."

The lecture will transport the audience around the world, to experience the fierce driver ants of the Congo, bulldog ants of Australia, marauder ants of Asia, leafcutter ants of South America and slavery ants of the United States. Moffett is a popular speaker and appears often on television on shows such as "The Colbert Report" and "Late Night with Conan O'Brien."

National Geographic magazine, to which Moffett has contributed photos and articles, has called him "the Indiana Jones of entomology." He is a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution who received a doctorate from Harvard University, where he studied under E. O. Wilson, the biologist and theorist who is widely considered to be the world's foremost authority on ants. Moffett has also worked for Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology and for the University of California Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.

Moffett has received the Explorers Club's Lowell Thomas Award, the Distinguished Explorer Award from the Roy Chapman Andrews Society, Yale University's Poynter Fellowship for Journalism, Harvard's Bowdoin Prize for writing, and five of his images appear in the special National Geographic publication, "100 Best Wildlife Pictures." Among his many adventures, Moffett has climbed the world's tallest tree, descended into sinkholes a quarter-mile deep to find new frog species and placed a scorpion on Conan O'Brien's face. He is the author of "Adventures Among Ants: A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillions" and "The High Frontier: Exploring the Tropical Rainforest Canopy."

This is the 11th annual lecture in the Musselman Natural History series, which is supported by an endowment. Lytton J. Musselman is the Mary Payne Hogan Professor of Botany at ODU.

The effort to launch the lecture series was led by Michael Pitchford, an ODU alumnus and former biology student of Musselman who is now president and chief executive officer of Community Preservation and Development Corp. in Washington, D.C. He and his wife, Sue, also an ODU graduate, provided a substantial gift to the lecture series endowment.