An internationally-recognised doctor of entomology has been named as the man killed in a two-vehicle crash on Gocup Road, near Tumut, last Sunday morning.
Dr John La Salle, 67, worked with the CSIRO in Canberra and was considered a leading figure in the adoption of new technologies in insect taxonomy, species discovery and description.
His field of expertise was in the evolution of parasitic Hymenoptera, including species such as wasps, bees and ants.
He studied their importance in areas such as sustainable agriculture and their significance in maintaining ecologic balance in both natural and agricultural ecosystems.
Dr La Salle was a director of the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA).
In a statement this week, the ALA said Dr La Salle’s leadership made a profound contribution to the expansion of the ALA, and to the national and international biodiversity community more broadly.
“John was involved with the ALA since its inception and played a key role in its establishment in 2006,” a spokesperson said.
“He was passionate about unlocking the information stored in Australian biological collections and related biodiversity databases, and making this information accessible and usable online.
“John was also an internationally recognised insect taxonomist, a leading figure in adopting emerging technologies to accelerate the processes of taxonomy, species discovery and description, and delivery of information from natural history collections.
“John served as Director of the Australian National Insect Collection from 2001-2012. During this time, he actively integrated emerging technologies into taxonomy and collection management to bring these fields in line with 21st Century science.
“Our thoughts and best wishes are with John’s family.”
Tributes for Dr La Salle flowed from the scientific world this week.