Fred Lohrer and The Story of Richard Archbold’s Expeditions, Part 1

Librarian Emeritus Fred Lohrer has spent nearly five decades associated with Archbold Biological Station and is the primary source for Archbold historical knowledge. Photo by Cheryl Henderson.

Author: Joe Gentili

Richard Archbold, founder of Archbold Biological Station, was a world renowned scientific explorer. He participated in a scientific expedition to Madagascar as a young man, led three long expeditions to New Guinea during the 1930’s and then after permanently moving to Venus, Florida, he sponsored seven more expeditions to the South Pacific. All told he was directly involved in 11 scientific expeditions, which added immeasurably to the overall biological and ecological knowledge of the areas in question as well as providing cultural and anthropological data on Native peoples living in these locales.

Richard Archbold died in 1976 after spending the last 35 years of his life in Highlands County, Florida. Archbold Biological Station is fortunate enough to have several current and former employees who knew him during the latter 1960’s and early 1970’s. This last decade of Archbold’s life was a time of expansion and change for the Station which included the creation of a formal on-campus library. The first librarian to hold the position and current Librarian Emeritus, is Fred Lohrer.  Lohrer achieved a Master’s degree from the University of South Florida in Ornithology, under the tutelage of renowned ornithologist and Florida Scrub-Jay behavioral ecologist, Dr. Glen Woolfenden. Lohrer was hired as the first Station Librarian as well as a research assistant. For years he meticulously studied a variety of the bird species of Central Florida, in addition to his library duties. He published several dozen papers in established scientific journals and held prominent positions in a variety of professional ornithological societies.

Fred Lohrer began work at Archbold in 1972 and retired in 2018. During the 46-year period since his start date, Lohrer has become the authoritative source for the history of Archbold Biological Station and for all things Richard Archbold. Current Librarian Joe Gentili said of Lohrer, “He is an amazing mentor with a wealth of knowledge of all kinds. In addition to deep familiarity of ecological information on the local flora and fauna of this area, he has a vast historical knowledge of Highlands County and its surroundings. If you have a historical question for him; you will always get detailed fact-based answers. For any question about Richard Archbold, Fred is the go-to source. In addition to working personally with Mr. Archbold for four years, Lohrer has spent countless more hours researching and collecting information about Archbold and his endeavors.”

Just before the end of last year, Lohrer created a new synopsis of the biological expeditions of Richard Archbold. In this work he describes the “11 Archbold Expeditions [which] were conducted in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where Richard Archbold was a Research Associate of the Museum’s Department of Mammalogy (1931-76)…The combined results of the 11 Archbold Expeditions were remarkable for the great number of specimens of plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates they collected, and for the detailed ecological and geographical information and photographs [collected]…”

More information and a full summary of the 11 Archbold Expeditions are here:

Stay tuned for later articles continuing the story of the Richard Archbold Expeditions.

A photo from the Richard Archbold Archives.

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