It is with great sadness that we share the news that CBA member, Director of the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) Dr John La Salle, died tragically earlier this week in a car accident.
John became Director of the ALA five years ago. His leadership made a profound contribution to the expansion of the ALA, and to the national and international biodiversity community more broadly.
John was involved with the ALA since its inception and played a key role in its establishment in 2006. He was passionate about unlocking the information stored in Australian biological collections and related biodiversity databases, and making this information accessible and usable online.
John was also an internationally recognised insect taxonomist, a leading figure in adopting emerging technologies to accelerate the processes of taxonomy, species discovery and description, and delivery of information from natural history collections.
John was the Director of the Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC) from 2001-2012. During this time, he actively integrated emerging technologies into taxonomy and collection management to bring these fields in line with 21st Century science.
Many ANU staff and students over the years have benefited from John's enthusiasm and valued his wit and friendship. His loss will be felt around the world, from the parasitic Hymenoptera that he studied, to his commitment to natural history collections and the stores of information they contained, and especially to his family, friends, and colleagues. Our thoughts and best wishes are with them.
If you would like to make a donation in John’s memory, his family have nominated:
- Casting for Recovery – National Foundation for Australian Women at www.nfaw.org , select donate and then select ‘Casting for Recovery’.
- MS Australia
- St Vincent de Paul on behalf of CEO Sleepout
The ALA have invited John's friends and colleagues to share memories or condolences by emailing ValeJohn@ala.org.au. These will be compiled for his family.