Barcroft 2005

Costa Rica 1975What a difference 36 years makes!

La Selva flea beetle project* Sierra Nevada Willow beetle project * Palomar project

Dr. John Terah Smiley has recently retired from the Associate Directorship of the White Mountain Research Center (WMRC), a research unit of the University of California located in Bishop California. He was born in Tucson, Arizona and graduated from Catalina High School in 1968 and from Stanford University in 1972. Dr. Smiley earned his Ph.D. degree under the direction of Larry Gilbert at the University of Texas, investigating the host plant relationships of passionflower butterflies in Costa Rica . Then he began an assistant professorship with the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Irvine. During this time John conducted field research in Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica, the Brisbane rain forest in Australia, and the Sierra Nevada in California, studying insect/plant relationships and chemical ecology.

In 1986, Dr. Smiley moved to Big Sur, California to become resident manager of the Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve. He remained in that position for 17 years, building up the reserve's programs and infrastructure. During that time he continued summer field research on willow leaf beetles in the Sierra Nevada, California, as well as serving on the local school board for 8 years. John also facilitated the creation of the Big Creek Marine Ecological Reserve, one of the first of its kind in California, along with several other monitoring and conservation projects.

In 2003 Dr. Smiley and his family moved to Bishop to head up field operations for the WMRC (then known as WMRS). When not working with the talented staff, installing solar electric equipment or trying to figure out unusual propane installations at Barcroft, he continued the study of willow leaf beetles. This work, done in collaboration with Professors Nathan Rank of Sonoma State University and Elizabeth Dahlhoff of Santa Clara University, continues to the present day.

John and his wife Kim also own a 55 acre nature reserve on Palomar Mountain in southern California.

Scientific interests: Every summer Dr. Smiley does field research in the mountains of California: Ecological and Evolutionary Responses to Environmental Change in Sierra Nevada Willow Beetles. Beginning in October 2012, he also began a new project on the flea beetles of Passiflora vines at La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica: Passionflowers, Butterflies, and Flea Beetle Natural History and Diversity. For lots of boring details, and no pictures, see my two page resume (or see pdf version) or my detailed Academic Curriculum Vitae. I recently dug out my PhD thesis and scanned it. No great read, but surprisingly readable!

Other interests: mountaineering/hiking, bug-ology, listening to music, education, whatever my wife and kids are has a grand-daughter and two grandsons!

Contact Information: John Smiley, White Mountain Research Center, 3000 E. Line St., Bishop, California 93514, ph 760-873-4344, jsmiley at ucsd dot edu .

Read a "true adventure" story of 3 high school boys from 1968!
 Some friends from Tucson  Sonie's cartoon page! Sonie's art page

some old family pictures (click to enlarge):


Rose above Palisades Glacier; after epic hike over glacier notch

Sonie and Lizards

Rosie and her pal Jenna
Terry and Alma
On White Mountain Peak.

Hashim (Annie's husband), Annie, Sonie and Mack

Julie and Terry in theWhites
"chicken rock ritual" in the white desert in egypt  

Rosie, Annie at a Cal game

Rosie, Terry, Sonie