Clifford Smeed Crawford (1932 - 2010)


Clifford Smeed Crawford - ecologist, scholar, gentleman - died September 4, 2010, at age 78, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, after a brief battle with cancer. The son of a biologist, Cliff was born July 30, 1932, in Beirut, Lebanon, where his father taught at the American University of Beirut. With a British mother and American father, he experienced an international childhood, living in Lebanon, Turkey, Iran, Great Britain, and the United States. He attended Whitman College, in Walla Walla, Washington, earned his doctorate at Washington State University, and taught at Portland State University before joining the Biology Department, University of New Mexico (UNM), in 1964. His heart remained in the arid environments he knew as a boy, and moving to New Mexico was like returning to the Middle East. He specialized in desert insects but worked with many invertebrate taxa in North American, African, and Israeli deserts, becoming the most knowledgeable biologist on those in the southwestern US and adjacent Mexico. Riparian ecosystems in central New Mexico drew his attention, and he initiated long-term ecological research at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Reserve along the Rio Grande, where students still conduct projects. After retiring from UNM in 1994, Cliff continued studying the Rio Grande ecosystem and helped establish the Bosque Environmental Monitoring Program, a research and education endeavor that has taught thousands of elementary, high school, and college students about science in the riverside ecosystem that runs through the heart of New Mexico and metropolitan Albuquerque.
Cliff's interests ranged from ecosystem processes to individual species and how they function & survive in stressful arid environments, which required delving into anatomy, behavior, and physiology that he always linked back to ecology. He and students investigated many aspects of the biology of Orthoporus ornatus (Girard, 1853) (Spirostreptida: Spirostreptidae), to ascertain how it thrives in southwestern US and Mexican deserts (see publication list below). Consequently, O. ornatus may be the best understood of all the world's millipeds from the standpoint of its total biology. An exquisite researcher, Cliff's works were models of the "scientific method." In his humble way, Cliff touched many lives, including mine, with his wit, zest for life, and passion & joy for biology, for it was life that he studied and lived to its fullest. I had the privilege and honor of becoming personal friends with Cliff, coauthoring the Namibian paradoxosomatid, Cnemodesmus riparius Shelley and Crawford, 1996, with him, and coauthoring his only milliped patronym, Nesoressa crawfordi Shelley and Medrano, 2006 (Julida: Parajulidae), which inhabits high elevation, boreal forests in central New Mexico inselbergs. In hiking around New Mexico, he was among the first to discover this endemic species, and with his encyclopedic knowledge of the state's environments, clearly warranted a patronym.
Above all, Cliff was kind and warm-hearted, a consummate model of humility. I found comfort in knowing that he was always available and made a point of phoning or visiting him when passing through Albuquerque; that this is no longer possible leaves a void in my life and doubtlessly also the countless students and professional biologists whose lives he touched. While the yards of neighboring residences on Maple Street contained typical urban lawns and gardens, that of the Crawford residence was a "mini-desert ecosystem" with mesquite, creosote-bush, and other native southwestern plants. The passing of C.S. Crawford is a loss to all who knew him, to Biology in New Mexico and the American southwest, and to Science as a whole. For myriapodologists who did not have the pleasure of meeting and interacting with this wonderful human, I consolidate below his and his students publications involving myriapods.

Rowland M. Shelley

List of references

Crawford, C.S. 1972. Water relations in a desert millipede Orthoporus ornatus (Girard) (Spirostreptidae). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 72A: 521-535.
Crawford, C.S. 1976. Feeding-season production in the desert millipede Orthoporus ornatus (Girard) (Diplopoda). Oecologia 24: 265-276.
Crawford, C.S. 1979. Desert millipedes: a rationale for their distribution. pp. 171-181, In: Camatini, M., ed., Myriapod Biology. Academic Press, London, 456 pp.
Crawford, C.S. 1978. Seasonal water balance in Orthoporus ornatus , a desert millipede. Ecology, 59(5): 996-1004.
Crawford, C.S. 1990. Scorpiones, Solifugae, and associated desert taxa. pp. 421-475, In: Dindal, D.L., ed., Soil Biology Guide, John Wiley & Sons, New York. 1349 pp. + i-xix.
Crawford, C.S., and M.C. Matlack. 1979. Water relations of desert millipede larvae, larva-containing pellets, and surrounding soil. Pedobiologia, 19: 48-55.
Crawford, C.S., and E.L. McClain. 1983. Habitat use during winter relative to water balance in a harpagophorid millipede from the Namib desert. Madoqua, 13(3): 243-250.
Crawford, C.S., G.P. Minion, and M.D. Boyers. 1983. Intima morphology, bacterial morphotypes, and effects of annual molt on microflora in the hindgut of the desert millipede, Orthoporus ornatus            (Girard) (Diplopoda: Spirostreptidae). International Journal of Insect Morphology and Embryology, 13(5/6): 301-312.
Crawford, C.S., S. Goldenberg, and M.R. Warburg. 1986. Seasonal water balance in Archispirostreptus syriacus (Diplopoda: Spirostreptidae) from mesic and xeric Mediterranean environments. Journal            of Arid Environments 10(2): 127-136.
Crawford, C.S., K. Bercovitz, and M.R. Warburg. 1987. Regional environments, life-history patterns and habitat use of spirostreptid millipedes in arid regions. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society            89(1): 63-88.
Nunez, F.S., and C.S. Crawford. 1976. Digestive enzymes of the desert millipede Orthoporus ornatus (Girard) (Diplopoda: Spirostreptida). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, 55A: 141-145.
Nunez, F.S., and C.S. Crawford. 1977. Anatomy and histology of the alimentary tract of the desert millipede Orthoporus ornatus (Girard) (Diplopoda: Spirostreptidae). Journal of Morphology, 151(1):            121-130.
Pugach, S., and C.S. Crawford. 1978. Seasonal changes in hemolymph amino acids, proteins, and inorganic ions of a desert millipede Orthoporus ornatus (Girard) (Diplopoda: Spirostreptidae).            Canadian Journal of Zoology, 56(6): 1460-1465.
Riddle, W.A., C.S. Crawford, and A.M. Zeitone. 1976. Patterns of hemolymph osmoregulation in three desert arthropods. Journal of Comparative Physiology, 112: 295-305.
Shelley, R.M., and C.S. Crawford. 1996. Cnemodesmus riparius , n. sp., a riparian milliped from the Namib desert, Africa (Polydesmida: Paradoxosomatidae). Myriapodologica, 4(1): 1-8.
Taylor, E.C. 1982. Role of aerobic microbial populations in cellulose digestion by desert millipedes. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 44(2): 281-291.
Walker, L.J., and C.S. Crawford. 1980. Integumental ultrastructure of the desert millipede, Orthoporus ornatus (Girard) (Diplopoda: Spirostreptidae). International Journal of Insect Morphology and            Embryology, 9: 231-249.
Wooten, R.C., Jr., and C.S. Crawford. 1974. Respiratory metabolism of the desert millipede Orthoporus ornatus (Girard) (Diplopoda). Oecologia, 17: 179-186.
Wooten, R.C., Jr., and C.S. Crawford. 1975. Food, ingestion rates, and assimilation in the desert millipede, Orthoporus ornatus (Girard) (Diplopoda). Oecologia, 20: 231-236.
Wooten, R.C., Jr., C.S. Crawford, and W.A. Riddle. 1975. Behavioural thermoregulation of Orthoporus ornatus (Diplopoda: Spirostreptidae) in three desert habitats. Zoological Journal of the Linnean            Society, 57(1): 59-74.
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