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In memoriam: Robbin Thorp

Robbin Thorp was a world authority on Franklin's bumble bee. Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey

Robbin Thorp, a global and legendary authority on bees and a distinguished emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, passed away Friday, June 7, at his home in Davis, surrounded by family. He was 85.

Thorp, a member of the UC Davis entomology faculty from 1964-1994, achieved emeritus status in 1994 and continued to engage in research, teaching and public service until a few weeks before his death.

A tireless advocate of pollinator species protection and conservation, Thorp was known for his expertise, dedication and passion in protecting native pollinators, especially bumble bees, and for his teaching, research and public service. He was an authority on pollination ecology, ecology and systematics of honey bees, bumble bees, vernal pool bees, conservation of bees, native bees and crop pollination, and bees of urban gardens and agricultural landscapes.

“Robbin's scientific achievements during his retirement rival the typical career productivity of many other academic scientists,” said Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. “His contributions in support of understanding bee biodiversity and systematics are a true scientific legacy.” 

Read more about Thorp's career at

Posted on Friday, June 7, 2019 at 4:41 PM
  • Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey

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