Over the last couple years, marine scientists have had an opportunity to construct academic family trees courtesy a portal provided by members of the Western Society of Naturalists (click here or below to see my tree). While navigating gradschool, a pedigree is often the last of a student’s concerns; however, in retrospect, perhaps it should be. Much of what makes or breaks a career is the intricate network of colleagues and friends woven throughout the training phase. While each node is important, the core is the foundation from which all other points are derived. Exceptions exist, but the fundamental truth seems to be that a high-power pedigree leads to high-profile positions.
Aside from the practical application of examining academic pedigrees, it is at minimum interesting to see from where and whom my training has come. These names likely don’t mean much to most people, but in marine science, it’s pretty cool to be a descendent of great biologists like Izzie Abbott (algae), David Starr Jordan (fish), & Karl Hubbs (fish). I suppose learning this really changes nothing; then again, if it changes the lens through which I see my place in science, perhaps it changes a lot. I truly hope that my career contributes significantly to the rich legacy of my academic ancestors.