NANFA-- RIP: Robert Rush Miller

Christopher Scharpf (
Mon, 10 Feb 2003 19:45:20 -0400

The following is from Gerald Smith at UM-Ann Arbor. (FYI, 3 of the last fish
Dr. Miller described were written up in the Fall 2002 AC.)

Robert R. Miller passed away this morning, February 10, 2003, at 6 am.

Bob Miller was an important figure in American ichthyology and conservation
from 1940 to the present. He was a graduate student and collaborator with
Carl L. Hubbs and married Frances Hubbs in 1940. She was an important
contributor to his research program until her death in 1987. The Miller
children, Gifford, Francis, Roger, Ben, and Lawrence were also important
contributors to the field work along with many graduate students who were
welcomed into the ichthyological family over the years; all were made to
feel part of a tradition of lasting importance to natural history.

Miller was a faculty member in the Department of Zoology (later Biology)
and a Curator in the Museum of Zoology from 1948 to his retirement in 1987.
He published over 300 contributions to ichthyology and conservation,
beginning with systematic and experimental studies of the pupfishes,
Cyprinodon, in Death Valley, and continuing with studies of fishes of
western U.S. and Mexico. He actively worked on trout, minnows, suckers,
live-bearers, and sculpins, and pioneered work in karyology, hybridization,
fossil fishes, and experimental studies.

His call for conservation in 1961: 3Man and the changing fish fauna of the
American Southwest,2 and his list of 3Extinct, rare, and endangered
American freshwater fishes,2 were the beginnings of the American fish
conservation movement.

Miller9s field work and lab studies were inhibited by declining health in
the 1990s. His work on the Freshwater Fishes of Mexico was carried forward
by W.L. Minckley, Steve Norris, and Martha Gach, with Miller's participation
when his health permitted. The manuscript was sent the University of Chicago
Press by Steve Norris after Minckley9s death in July, 2001. Bruce Turner
organized a Symposium in honor of Miller at the 2001 meetings of the
American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists.

He will be remembered in a small family service in Ann Arbor.
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