Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Wodzicki, (Count) Kazimierz Antoni z Granowa (Poland-New Zealand 1900-1987)

Wodzicki's life story is a fascinating and inspiring one. He was brought up a privileged youth and early on enjoyed a successful career as a university professor, but with World War II came the confiscation of his family's estates (his father was sent to Siberia, and died there). Wodzicki was also arrested and probably would have suffered the same fate but managed to escape to Italy; meanwhile his wife had joined the resistance in Poland and was assisting refugees fleeing through the hinterlands there (it helped that she was an expert skiier). They were able to find a way to reunite in Paris and from there moved over to London, where the Polish government-in-exile appointed him consul general in Wellington, New Zealand. In early 1941 the family moved there, and Wodzicki and his wife spent much of the rest of the war assisting in refugee relocation efforts. With the end of the war the consulate closed when the government-in-exile collapsed, and the New Zealand government (on the initiation of the Prime Minister), in gratitude and aware of his former life, engaged Wodzicki to look into the nation's introduced species problem. This project produced his best known publication, Introduced Mammals of New Zealand, and led to his assuming the leadership of a newly created Animal Ecology Division of the government's Dept. of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR). He retired from the DSIR in 1965, but remained active in research (and as a leading Polish immigrant advocate) through to the end. Wodzicki's researches extended beyond introduced species to a variety of zoological subjects, including the genetics and control of rabbits, bird physiology and ecology, island ecosystems, and longitudinal population surveys and censuses of birds.

Life Chronology

--born in Olejów, Poland, on 4 February 1900.
--1922: master's degree in agriculture, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland
--1925: Ph.D., Jagiellonian University
--1935: appointed professor of biology at the College of Agriculture, Warsaw University College of Agriculture
--1940: forced to flee from Poland; escapes to Italy, then to France and London
--1941: takes up position as the Polish government's consul general in Wellington, New Zealand
--1946: hired by DSIR to undertake research on invasive species
--1948: founds the Animal Ecology Section of DSIR
--1950: publishes his Introduced Mammals of New Zealand
--1960: the Animal Ecology Section given full Division status, and Wodzicki made its director
--1962: elected to the Royal Society of New Zealand
--1965: retires from DSIR
--1965-: engaged in researches on the ecology of introduced rats for Dominion University and Victoria University
--1976: made OBE
--1980: obtains honorary D.Sc. from Victoria University
--dies at Wellington, New Zealand, on 15 June 1987.

For Additional Information, See:

--Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. [online]
--Notornis, Vol. 34(4) (1987): 339-342.
--Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Vol. 116 (1987-1988): 78-87.

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Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights reserved.

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