Richard A Zann, 1944-2009

In this week's issue (Feb 19) we reported on the death of Australian ornithologist and zoologist Dr Richard Alexis Zann, who perished in the  Victorian bushfires earlier this month.
Dr Zann, 64, was Associate Professor and Reader in Zoology at La Trobe University in Melbourne. His research interests were in avian acoustics and communication, social organisation and the mating systems of birds, but he is best known for his work on zebra finches.
He devoted 30 years of his life to the study of these birds, and most of his major findings - including the fact that young males learn song from their fathers - is brought together in a comprehensive monograph,  The Zebra Finch: A Synthesis of Field and Laboratory Studies, published by Oxford University Press in 1996.
In 1998 he was awarded the D. L. Serventy Medal by the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union for outstanding published work on birds in the Australasian region.
When he died, he was with his wife, Eileen, and his daughter, Eva, who also perished in the fire that ravaged Kinglake, north-east of Melbourne, on February 9. He is survived by a son, Christopher.
La Trobe University has published a tribute to Dr Zann in its latest newsletter (downloadable PDF).