Assistant Curator of Crustacea James Fetzner
James Fetzner is Assistant Curator of Crustacea for Invertebrate Zoology (IZ) at Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, PA. The IZ collection contains exceptional global representation of insects for research, especially Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) and Coleoptera (beetles). The crustacean collection consists of about 3,500 lots from both the historical collections of Arnold Ortmann (past Curator of Mollusks, 1903–1927), which is an important regional collection for Pennsylvania and the eastern United States as well as contemporary collections made by Fetzner in the last 10 years. This collection is predominantly North American in origin, but there is also a significant collection of the Australian fauna.
Fetzner received his PhD in Zoology from Brigham Young University in 2001. He arrived at Carnegie Museum initially as a post-doctoral researcher in Amphibians and Reptiles, and in 2003 joined the staff of Invertebrate Zoology, with his support funding coming entirely from grants and contracts. Fetzner also received his Master of Science degree in Zoology in 1993, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Microbiology in 1993, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology in 1989, all from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
Fetzner is currently serving as president of the International Association of Astacology (the international crayfish society), and is an editor for the society’s journal Freshwater Crayfish and newsletter Crayfish News. He is also a member of the Aquatic Arthropod Technical Committee with the Pennsylvania Biological Survey and the IUCN Freshwater Crab and Crayfish Specialists Group.
Fetzner’s research interests are focused on the population genetics, systematics, and conservation of freshwater crayfish at a global scale. Recent funded projects include surveys of genetic variation within and among populations of rare and endangered crayfish from Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. These data will help inform crayfish conservation planning efforts in each state. Fetzner is also interested in creating taxonomic databases and websites to disseminate information on arthropods (especially crayfish) to the broader public and scientific community. Many of these websites are hosted on the IZ web server and directly assist other scientists and especially other IZ staff in researching their programs. Fetzner is also developing a database that will collect and house museum specimen data on species of greatest conservation need in the Northeastern Region for the US Fish & Wildlife Service, a system that will directly use the Carnegie Museum insect collection as a resource to aid invertebrate conservation across multiple state and federal agencies as well as other conservation organizations.
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