LSU Ornithologist Van Remsen Inducted into Prestigious Ornithological Club


Van Remsen, curator of birds in the LSU Museum of Natural Science and McIlhenny Distinguished Professor of Natural Science, has been inducted as an Honorary Member into the Nuttall Ornithological Club, the first organization in North America devoted to ornithology. Remsen joins the ranks of influential ornithologists who have received this honor including Ernst Mayr, Robert Ridgway, Peter R. Grant and Roger Tory Peterson.

“This award recognizes Dr. Remsen as a worldwide leader in ornithology,” says Robb Brumfield, director of LSU’s Museum of Natural Science and Roy Paul Daniels Professor in the LSU Department of Biological Sciences. “Over the course of his career at LSU, Dr. Remsen built the museum’s bird research collection into one of the biggest and best university-based collections in the world.”

Remsen was a fanatical naturalist starting as early as age 5 and an experienced birder by age 11. He has made major discoveries concerning the ecology and evolution of South American birds and he is the go-to resource for information about birds in Louisiana.

“The Nuttall Club only has about 20 honorary members in its 144 year history, so this is a big honor and a bigger surprise!” says Remsen.

Remsen’s research efforts focus on the ecology, evolution, and biogeography of Neotropical birds, particularly those of the Andes and the Amazon basin. His current major projects are books on the classification of birds of South American and on the birds of Louisiana. Through his research work, the LSU graduate program in ornithology attracts outstanding students from the U.S. and around the world. His former students are now the research curators in a remarkably large proportion of American museums, and even a few museums in South America. 

About the Nuttall Ornithological Club:

Members of the Nuttall Ornithological Club, which was founded in 1873, includes a list of Who’s Who in North American Ornithology. Perhaps the club’s most important contribution to ornithology has been its publications, which it has sponsored since its early history. From 1876 to 1883 the Club published the first journal in North America devoted to ornithology, the Bulletin of the Nuttall Ornithological Club. In 1883 the club “donated” the Bulletin to the newly formed American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU), along with its editor J. A. Allen, and the Bulletin became the journal The Auk. Between 1886 and 1951 the club published ten monographs in its Memoirs series and since 1957 there have appeared 20 monographs in its Publications series.