News / Calgary

Bugging out: Mount Royal University administrator gets fly namesake

Former U of C administrator recognized for help building the entomological field

Dr. Jeffrey Goldberg, right, pictured with a photo of Jeffrey Goldberg the fly.

Courtesy/ Mount Royal University

Dr. Jeffrey Goldberg, right, pictured with a photo of Jeffrey Goldberg the fly.

Jeff Goldberg is all a-buzz about an insect the size of your household fruit fly.

Although he is an expert in molluscs, the neurobiologist is gaining a small but mighty appreciation – past his fly-fishing background – for winged bugs.

The Mount Royal University interim provost was honoured to have a new millimetre and a half long fly species named after him in a unanimous decision by the Entomological Society of Alberta.

“I’ll be permanently in the literature, because the species name will be used forevermore in the scientific literature,” said Goldberg. “It’s a very big honour for someone who has been an department chair and an administrative leader, you do a lot of work in small little steps, you don’t realize when you put all these steps together down the road…people are going to say thank you.”

Although he can’t say he sees any resemblance – other than the facial whiskers (between him and a fly), his colleagues at the University of Calgary have more than a couple reasons for nominating Goldberg for the honour.

John Swann, who is manager of the invertebrate collection at the University of Calgary, headed up a pitch to have Dr. Goldberg immortalized in the biology books for his years of service at the U of C.

Swann said during Goldberg’s time at the University of Calgary, he brought forward the profile of entomology in Alberta. He supported his staff in bringing the school’s collections from a disjointed display, to a unified one – which brought forward opportunities for student volunteers.

Swann said the fly was actually discovered during the school’s 2015 Bioblitz – where scientists and the public conduct field studies to record all living species in a specific area.

“The public were literally collecting things that were completely unknown,” Swann said. “Without realizing it, they were finding something entirely new to science – and that’s just it, Jeff is very much a people person, and he gets that not only is it teaching our students, but it’s also teaching and integrating what we do with the public.”

Swann described the Jeffrey Goldberg fly as little insect that looks like a peacock and loves dancing to the Village People when the male is performing mating displays.

More on