Analysis of cause of death during biological field expeditions
For centuries, biologists have been venturing on field expeditions to further our collective understanding of the natural world, often putting their own safety at risk. We wish to memorialize our colleagues who have died in the field (adding to the list already curated by author Richard Conniff at
). By analyzing the circumstances of their deaths, we hope to inform future expeditions and increase the safety and diversity of our field through peer-reviewed publications, blogposts, and establishing best practices and safety standards for fieldwork. This is an IRB exempt study registered with the University of Michigan (#HUM00149801).
If you know of a biologist who is missing from the the list linked above, please let us know by filling out this form. We would especially welcome the inclusion of local guides who have died while assisting biological expeditions, as they are rarely remembered by history.
with any questions or concerns. Any information entered before 12/31/2018 will be analyzed for publication, but feel free to continue enter information after this deadline for followup analyses and memorialization. Thank you for your contribution to this study.
URL with additional information (news article, published field notes, etc)
Name of scientist
Country of birth, if known. Use the current name of the region, if the country's name has since changed.
Nationality/Citizenship, if different from country of birth
Country of death. Use the name of the region if not contiguous with majority of country (e.g. Galapagos, Hawaii, Alaska, Azores), or the name of the body of water.
Postdoc, other researcher
Profession | Primary field of study (Other details can be added below)
zoology (hepetology, entomology, ichthyology, mammalogy, malacology, etc)
artist (author, biological illustrator, photographer, filmmaking, radio)
collector / taxidermy
ecology (including disease, freshwater, marine, predator, etc)
family member of scientist on an expedition
local guides, team members
marine biology / oceanography
pilot / captain / driver
religion (missionary, clergy)
Specialty | Study organism (Other details can be added below)
agriculture / sustainability
religion (missionary, clergy)
Category of death
accident (EXCLUDING TRANSPORTATION, including falls or falling objects, or accidental shooting when mistaken for an animal)
animal (specify animal in cause of death)
disease (including food poisoning in addition to other diseases)
drowned (including snorkeling, diving, waves, river crossings. excluding boating, which falls under 'transportation')
exposure (frozen to death, heat stroke)
natural, or stress (heart attacks)
political (terrorist bombings, executions)
preparing specimens (accumulation of arsenic or mercury, or combustion during specimen preparation)
transportation (list the mode of transportation in cause of death)
unknown (disappeared, unsolved)
violent (list the perpetrator in cause of death, if known. e.g. former employee, poacher)
Specific cause of death
Summary of contributions to science and circumstances surrounding death | Other Details
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