RIP David Wake

Slender Salamander, Wildcat Canyon. David Wake contributed decades of important work on salamander biology.

Very sorry to learn about the passing of another colleague and mentor, David Wake. Dr. Wake was director of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology when I first came to Berkeley. I was fortunate to be able to take his famous Evolution course my first year, and it was absolutely everything you would expect from a thoughtful giant in the field. My first year was filled with some uncertainty as I searched for a project with both of my advisors out of the country, but taking his class helped solidify my feeling that I was in the right place.



I wasn’t often in his immediate orbit in the Museum, but even so I quickly appreciated he was such a kind, thoughtful, and supportive person. Not just in a generic sharing pleasantries way but really seeing you and engaging in things he wanted to learn more about.

One of the biggest joys in my life was running into him at a conference several years after I left and getting to share with him that I was teaching Evolution at UC Davis.