Dr. Horton Holcombe Hobbs III

17 December 1944 - 29 August 2016

Wittenberg's short recap of our esteemed founding advisor:

Dr. Horton Hobbs III Dr. Hobbs concentrates his teaching and research on limnology, particularly stream benthic community dynamics, and biospeleology. He has been recognized for his research on cave ecosystems, is a member of the Cave Research Foundation, and is a Fellow and past director of the National Speleological Society. Hobbs has served as a biologist for the Academy of Natural Sciences on river survey projects. He was awarded a National Science Foundation Fellowship for research at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory and has received numerous grants from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for Ohio cave research. He is author of more than 190 professional articles and has delivered more than 75 professional papers before such organizations as the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Institute of Biological Sciences. He is also a Fellow of the Explorer's Club and the Ohio Academy of Science. Hobbs' B.A. degree is from the University of Richmond, and his M.S. degree was awarded by Mississippi State University. His Ph.D. is from Indiana University. Hobbs joined the Wittenberg faculty in 1976.

While in graduate school, Dr. Hobbs became interested in cave ecosystems and particularly in the adaptations and evolution of cave-dwelling organisms. Of keen interest to him are those decapod crustaceans (e. g., crayfishes, shrimps, crabs) that are highly adapted (i. e., blind, lack pigments, low metabolic rate, generally "K strategists") to live in the food-limited darkness of the subterranean environment. This passion has led him to study in a variety of places in the United States, Bahamas, Bermuda, Hawaii, Mexico, several Caribbean islands, Central America, Eastern and Western Europe, and Canada.

In addition, Dr. Hobbs is particularly concerned with anthropogenic impacts to surface as well as to subsurface aquatic environments. He has been working with the U.S. Department of Interior (National Park Service) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Forest Service) on a number of research projects in the southeastern and midwestern United States assessing the effects of human activities on a variety of cave communities. Also, he is studying Candidate Species (organisms potentially to be placed on the Federal Endangered Species List) in caves in southern Ohio. These funded projects are reasonably close to home and he has enlisted Wittenberg University students to help in these research efforts and will continue to do so in the future. His work with crayfishes continues with the recent descriptions of two new cave-adapted species from the Ozarks.

Dr. Hobbs served as advisor to the student chapter of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) and to the Wittenberg University Speleological Society (Caving Club).