Southeastern Section - 50th Annual Meeting (April 5-6, 2001)

Paper No. 0
Presentation Time: 8:40 AM


CAMPBELL, Lyle D. and CAMPBELL, Sarah C., Division of Natural Sciences, Univ of South Carolina–Spartanburg, 800 University Way, Spartanburg, SC 29303,

"Let us now sing the praises of famous men, the heroes of our nation's history" (Ecclesasticus 44:1). This symposium is convened to honor Gerald Homer Johnson, providing a forum in which merit, and recognition thereof, may be pondered. Taxonomy provides a medium for bestowing honor through incorporating the Latinized name of the honoree into the binomen of a newly designated species. Nominate taxa may honor a discoverer, collaborator, family member, colleague of renown, or one to whom one is otherwise indebted. Three unrelated Johnsons have been so honored in the literature of the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Neogene. Charles Willison Johnson (1863-1932), curator of the Wagner Free Institute of Science (1888-1903) and the Boston Society of Natural History (1903-1932), left a legacy in the study of fossil and recent mollusks which was memorialized by a monographic series, the well-known Johnsonia, plus a subgenus and nine fossil species, by six different authors. Henry S. Johnson, Jr., a notable stratigrapher in studies of the Carolinas was honored by a single species designation.

The three remaining johnsoni taxa were, like this symposium, intended to honor Jerre Johnson of the College of William and Mary in Virginia. We encountered the Virginia Coastal Plain in the same year (1964), he as a newly hired geology instructor, I as a rising sophomore just discovering the complex stratigraphy and rich molluscan faunas of the Yorktown Formation. In my estimation, Dr. Johnson's most significant published work remains his 1969 mapping of lithostratigraphic units along the banks of the James River. Twenty-four years and 570 molluscan species later I had the biostratigraphic evidence to support his model. My debt to him comes from his role as a mentor in my transition from biology to geology, a guide with graduate school and career decisions, and an enduring example that instruction can be fun for student and teacher. In partial payment, he has our thanks, and two Yorktown gastropods as namesakes.