COSAM News Articles 2015 December Bond named chair of the Department of Biological Sciences

Bond named chair of the Department of Biological Sciences

Published: 12/18/2015

By: Lindsay Miles

Auburn Professor Jason Bond was named the new chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. His term begins January 1, 2016.

Bond received a bachelor of science in biology from Western Carolina University, and both his master of science in biology and his doctor of philosophy in evolutionary systematics and genetics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He was a postdoc at The Field Museum in Chicago and a professor at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., prior to coming to Auburn.

He joined COSAM’s Department of Biological Sciences in 2011 as a professor and director of the Auburn University Museum of Natural History. In this role, he contributed to the planning and construction of the Biodiversity Learning Center, a 15,000 square-foot facility dedicated to the Museum’s natural history collections. He coordinated and oversaw the transfer and organization of each of the university’s natural history collections from various locations around campus to the newly constructed Biodiversity Learning Center. In addition to a coordinated effort to house all of Auburn’s natural history collections in one, organized home, Bond also oversaw tremendous growth of the museum during his tenure as director. In the last four years, museum holdings have been increased from eight collections to nine with the addition of Marine Invertebrates. A new curator was added to museum staff, and, most recently, the Alabama Natural Heritage Program joined the Museum of Natural History, a merger that brought two new research assistant professors, a fulltime zoologist, botanist, database manager, and an outreach coordinator. With the addition of an outreach coordinator, Bond has supported increased public education and outreach, and staff now visit local schools, welcome community groups to tour the Biodiversity Learning Center, host an annual open house, and more. Additionally, Bond has been successful in securing both grant and private funding for museum operations.

Bond specializes in the evolution, systematics and taxonomy of arachnids and myriapods, and his work has been featured in numerous media outlets, including Nature News, MSNBC, BBC, NPR and the New York Times. He was even once featured on Comedy Channel’s “Colbert Report” for his discovery of two new spider species, a trapdoor spider Bond named after Neil Young, Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi, and another spider he named after television show host, Stephen Colbert, Aptostichus stephencolberti. Bond has discovered nearly 100 new spider and millipede species to date, including Myrmekiaphila tigris, which was found in Auburn and is referred to as the Auburn Tiger trapdoor spider. Programs at the National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and the U.S. Forest Service fund his work in ecology, evolution and systematics. While much of his work happens locally, Bond also travels extensively; he has conducted fieldwork throughout the world to include the American Southwest, Central America, Australia, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Australia, Malaysia and Mexico. 

He has served as the associate editor for a number of journals to include Organisms, Diversity, and Evolution; the Journal of Arachnology; and The Biodiversity Data Journal. Bond also serves regularly as a National Science Foundation panel member.

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