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  • Dr. David  Edds
  • Dr. David Edds

  • The Trip to Nepal

  • President Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Stephen Colbert, Richard Dawkins, and Beyonce are among the famous people with species named after them. Even Darth Vader has a beetle named in his honor.

    So our own David Edds is in some good company with two species of fish named after him.

    Pseudecheneis eddsiDr. Edds is an aquatic ecologist and ichthyologist who teaches Aquatic Biology, Ichthyology, Stream Ecology, Fisheries Management, Zoology, Marine Biology, and Scientific Writing at Emporia State University. He was also named a Roe R. Cross Distinguished Professor in 2013, the highest honor an Emporia State professor can achieve.

    Edds will make his sixth trip to Nepal, the recently earthquake-torn country, when he takes a sabbatical this fall. The mission on this trip will be to replicate samples taken in the 1980s and 1990s to study the effects of climate change on fish communities of the Himalayas.

    It was on these earlier trips that he collected nine fish species previously unknown to science, and eventually two of them were named in his honor — Pseudecheneis eddsi (a catfish) and Balitora eddsi (a loach) — by scientists wanting to recognize Edds for his more than 35 years of study of aquatic life in Nepal, a country now officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, and nestled between China and India.

    Edds will be reunited with David Gillette, who earned his master’s at Emporia State. Gillette now has a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma and is a professor of environmental studies at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. The scientific duo will be working with National Geographic and the World Wildlife Fund on the investigation of fish communities. Dr. Gillette will also be a Fulbright Scholar at Kathmandu University.

    Balitora eddsiThe trip to Nepal has been complicated by the earthquakes. The country suffered a devastating 7.8 quake on April 25 that killed more than 8,600 people and injured more than 17,000. Since then, there have been at least 250 earthquake aftershocks recorded in the country as of May 25, 2015. Estimates of the economic damage for Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world, have been pegged at about $10 billion. That is more than half of Nepal’s $19.2 billion gross domestic product.

    “Right now,” said Edds in an interview on May 22, “the situation is in flux.” But he added that his contacts had told him to go ahead and plan on making the trip as scheduled.

    Edds and Gillette are both Fulbright Scholars and former Peace Corps volunteers in Nepal.