Ratcliffe receives international honor

Screen shot 2011-01-19 at 8.56.41 AM.png

A career of studying beetles has earned Brett Ratcliffe an honorary membership into the Coleopterists Society.

The award was presented during the organization's annual meeting in December in San Diego. The international society is devoted to the study of beetles. The award is the Coleopterists Society's highest honor, given in recognition of devotion to the study of beetles and dedication to the discipline.

Ratcliffe is curator of the Entomology Research Collections at the University of Nebraska State Museum and a professor in the Department of Entomology. He has been a member of the society for more than 40 years. He served as the group's president (1983-1984), secretary (1995-2009), councilor (1989-1990) and monograph co-editor (1995-2009).

Ratcliffe has logged more than 150 scientific publications on the taxonomy, natural history, paleontology, and behavior of beetles as well as numerous popular articles. He has conducted field research in the tropical forests of Central and South America virtually every year for more than 35 years. He has spent his career at UNL promoting increased communication, sharing of specimens, techniques and data to colleagues and students around the world to better understand the mega-diversity of beetles and their important role in natural ecosystems.

Ratcliffe's lab at UNL is called "Team Scarab." He is responsible for bringing to UNL the U.S. National Collection of Scarab Beetles from the Smithsonian Institution for a lengthy period of off-site enhancement. The scarab collection at Nebraska is among the five largest in the world.

Through is research, Ratcliffe has trained six doctoral and eight masters students to become beetle specialists.

Ratcliffe has received several awards and honors, including being named winner of the University of Nebraska's Outstanding Research and Creative Activity award in 2001. He has received more than $3 million in external funding from the National Science Foundation and other agencies to further his beetle research.

Ratcliffe has discovered more than 160 scarab species and has had 19 insect species (mostly scarab beetles) named in his honor.

For more information on Ratcliffe, go to http://go.unl.edu/u5v. For more information on the Coleopterists Society, go to http://go.unl.edu/ezd.

- Dana Ludvik, NU State Museum

More details at: http://go.unl.edu/6y0