Obituary Dr M.A. (Ann) Chapman (1937-2009)

It is with great sadness that we note the passing of our friend and colleague Dr Ann Chapman on May 23, 2009. Ann was a central figure in New Zealand limnological circles and in 1967 was a founding member of the New Zealand Limnological Society, precursor to the present New Zealand Freshwater Sciences Society (NZFSS).

Ann was born in Dunedin and began her university training at Otago, completing her MSc in 1959. She worked in Australia for the Sydney Water Board before heading to Scotland in 1962 to complete her PhD (1965) from the University of Glasgow. Ann was appointed Senior Lecturer in Biological Sciences at the University of Waikato in 1970 and promoted to Reader in 1975.

Ann retired in 1996, although she remained very active maintaining an office and lab space at the University of Waikato. She continued to supervise graduate students as well as undertake her own research on the taxonomy of amphipod crustaceans. She was always receptive to new ideas and embraced emerging genetic techniques as a useful tool for providing insights into taxonomic anomalies. She supervised several graduate students who have gone on to careers in the freshwater sciences as well as authoring over 50 journal publications. She was the first woman to lead a scientific expedition to Antarctica (1970) and has a lake near Granite Harbour in the Ross Dependency named in her honour. Perhaps one of Ann’s best known contributions was her book An Introduction to the Freshwater Crustacea of New Zealand co-authored with Maureen Lewis.

Ann was always a tremendous amount of fun on the many field trips she was part of. Her enthusiastic knowledge of New Zealand history, natural history and literature was extensive, and numerous students and colleagues benefitted from her experience. An added bonus on her field trips was the requisite visits to some of New Zealand’s finest wineries and breweries.

The last few years were not particularly kind to Ann as she battled various illnesses and eventually moved into a nursing home. At one point she was even hit by a car while crossing the street in her wheel chair. Her wheel chair was destroyed, but Ann escaped with only a few minor scratches. Ann was relatively unfazed by any of this and had converted her room into an office and continued to write. She regularly entertained guests, although it was usually necessary to rearrange the many stacks of reprints and papers that occupied chairs and other flat surfaces. She managed to get out on various excursions and on one memorable occasion was even extracted from the home by a group of NZFSS members to visit a local pub. She and Maureen Lewis had recently finished a draft for their second edition of the Crustacea book which is to be published by the NZFSS.

Ann is survived by her sister Judith Devaliant, brother-in-law Lionel, her much adored nieces, great nieces and cat Gus. If desired, donations in Ann’s honour can be made to the Royal Forest and Bird Society, PO Box 631, Wellington, 6140.

Ian Hogg
Biological Sciences
University of Waikato


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