Douglas, Matthew M. 1949- (Salvador de la Cruz)

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Douglas, Matthew M. 1949- (Salvador de la Cruz)

PERSONAL:

Born April 3, 1949, in East Grand Rapids, MI; son of Henry M. Douglas and Constance S. Falba; married Jennifer C. Kaufman (a doctor); children: Samuel H., Sarah E. Jonathan M., Matisen L. Education: University of Michigan, B.A., 1972; Eastern Michigan University, M.S., 1974; University of Kansas, Ph.D., 1978. Hobbies and other interests: Piano, outdoor sports, wilderness, field research.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Grand Rapids, MI. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Entomologist. California State University, Fresno, assistant professor of entomology, 1978-79; Boston University, Boston, MA, assistant professor of biophysical ecology, 1979-81; Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, assistant professor of zoology, 1980; University of Kansas, Lawrence, senior research scientist at the Snow Entomological Museum, 1981—; Michigan State University, East Lansing, adjunct professor of entomology, 2005—; Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Rapids, MI, head of department of biology. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, series editor, 1995—; president of Monarch Communications, Grand Rapids, 1981—; board member for the John Ball Zoological Society, 1985—, and the Grand Rapids Ballet Company, 2007—.

MEMBER:

Lepidopterists' Society, Society for the Study of Evolution, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Nature Conservancy

WRITINGS:

The Lives of Butterflies, University of Michigan Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1986.

(As Salvador de la Cruz) The Image Makers, Monarch Communications, 2001.

(With Jonathan M. Douglas) Butterflies of the Great Lakes Region, University of Michigan Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 2005.

Mary's Voyage, Sheridan House (Dobbs Ferry, NY), 2008.

The One Arm Bandit, Monarch Communications, 2008.

Author of the screenplay, Desperate Voyage. Columnist for the Boston Herald, 1979-83. Contributor of articles to periodicals and journals, including Science, Psyche, Natural History, Science Digest, Audubon, and Evolution.

SIDELIGHTS:

Matthew M. Douglas is an American entomologist. Douglas grew up in Michigan, and learned to appreciate the Great Lakes and the indigenous species of insects that thrive in the area. He went on to complete a bachelor's degree at the University of Michigan in 1972. Two years later he received a master's degree in aquatic biology from Eastern Michigan University. Douglas earned a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology and biophysical ecology from the University of Kansas in 1978, marking the beginning of a career in academia.

Douglas lectured in a number of universities from California to Massachusetts, but eventually returned to his home state of Michigan. Douglas published his first book, The Lives of Butterflies, in 1986. This was followed by a second book in 2005 on the topic, but more focused on a specific region, Butterflies of the Great Lakes Region.

Douglas told CA: "My primary motivations for writing are to share information about science with an audience beyond that found within the university classroom and to enjoy life as I do so. As for who or what influences my work, the late Stephen Jay Gould and a number of the ‘old school’ science fiction writers (Ray Bradbury, Robert A. Heinlein, etc.) were authors of early interest for me.

"My personal writing style is to just get into whatever project is at hand. I outline the work (screenplay, novel, whatever) as briefly and as quickly as possible, and then let the creative currents flow. Of course, because of my methodology, I tend to have many projects I have started and not yet finished, but eventually they all celebrate birth.

"Nature, I would say, is what inspired me to write on the subjects I have chosen. Nature is my best friend and finest guide. I very much enjoy explaining how nature operates to my audience; hence, my works have largely to do with my personal research interests, explaining science to a college-level audience (in academic books), writing articles and books (for the lay audience) … and, of course, creating science fiction."

When asked how and why he began his writing career, Douglas stated: "I've always loved the written word, music, and art, but I've also had a huge crush on anything scientific. My earliest writings were rather poor attempts at poetry, but I rapidly graduated to chapters in academic books, a biweekly science column in the Boston Herald, textbooks, screenplays, and novels.

"In writing my books, I hope to share information and the love of writing as evidenced by a clever phrase here and there. I would advise aspiring writers to keep their day job and write. Just make sure your day job allows you to ‘double-time’ as a writer."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Scientist, July 1, 1987, Ward B. Watt, review of The Lives of Butterflies, p. 423.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, February, 2006, M. Gochfeld, review of Butterflies of the Great Lakes Region, p. 1038.