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Soberón to continue as director of KU’s Biodiversity Institute & Natural History Museum

Friday, April 9, 2021

LAWRENCE — University Distinguished Professor Jorge Soberón will continue as director of the Biodiversity Institute & Natural History Museum at the University of Kansas.

Soberón was named interim director in December, when Leonard “Kris” Krishtalka retired from the leadership role after 25 years. An initial search for a permanent director ended in March with no hire.

Jorge Soberón

“Fortunately, we have an excellent leader already in place to guide the Biodiversity Institute & Natural History Museum in the months ahead. Professor Soberón will serve as director until we can complete another search. We have dropped the interim designation from his title, emphasizing that he has my full confidence and is empowered to make the critical decisions that will prepare the BI/NHM to thrive over the next decade and beyond — and to welcome its next director stronger than ever,” said Simon Atkinson, vice chancellor for research.

“I am grateful to Professor Soberón for his willingness to serve in this capacity while fulfilling his responsibilities as a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. I am confident that he will steward the Biodiversity Institute & Natural History Museum’s resources — including its world-class collections and personnel — in a way that honors the organization’s achievements, nurtures continued growth in targeted areas, and sustains momentum until we can recruit a permanent leader.”

In addition to his appointment in ecology & evolutionary biology, Soberón is a senior scientist in biodiversity modeling at the Biodiversity Institute. He joined KU in 2005 and was appointed a University Distinguished Professor in fall 2014. He is a world-renowned scholar in interdisciplinary biodiversity science and ecology whose research focuses on documenting and understanding large-scale spatial patterns in the biodiversity of terrestrial species.