The Thomas J. Walker Collection

Thomas J. Walker came to the University of Florida as an Assistant Professor in 1957. His rank and teaching responsibilities varied as the years went by, but most of his research and mentoring of graduate students related to “singing insects” and to butterflies that seasonally migrate into and out of Florida. With the advent of personal computers and the Internet, he became convinced that free online access to research results, as published in articles in scientific journals, could become the rule rather than the exception. During his last seven years as a UF Professor, he led the establishment of UF’s Natural Area Teaching Laboratory (NATL), an academic and public facility that now occupies 60 acres of conservation land in the southwest corner of Campus. Upon retirement in 2001, he continued to pursue the interests that had kept him busy in prior years. This collection deals mostly with research on singing insects and migrating butterflies but also explores the extent to which computers and the Internet can currently provide access to previously published research, to data that were used to arrive at published conclusions, and to research results that otherwise might go unpublished and become inaccessible.

The collection includes the following sections:

I.    Biography

II.   Bibliography  (publications in traditional journals)

III.  Research on crickets and katydids  (Grylloidea and Tettigonioidea)

     a. GryllTett Database

     b. North American studies 

                  i. 5 x 8 cards for field notes made during collections and recordings

                  ii. Record books for field notes of several types

     c. Caribbean studies

                  i. Field notes from Caribbean field trips

                  ii. Data for Future Manuscipts

IV.  Studies of butterfly migrations  (in southeastern USA)

     a. Flight traps (studies of migratory numbers, seasons, and dominant directions)

     b. Azimuth studies (migratory directions of many individuals at many sites)

V.   Other projects

     a. Open access  (to publicly funded research)

     b. UF Book of Insect Records  (an exercise in writing and research literature)

     c. Information Techniques in Research  (a course for incoming graduate students)

     d. Florida Reach Ins   (computer-controlled environmental chambers)

     e. UF’s Natural Area Teaching Laboratory (60 acres of campus serving students and the public)


Funding for collecting and organizing the Thomas J. Walker Collection was partially provided by Thomas J. Walker.