May 4th, 2014 | Sci-Tech

Skelly to lead Peabody

On May 1, University President Peter Salovey announced that Yale Ecology Professor David Skelly will take over as the next Director of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History starting in July.

“I am really excited and honored to have this opportunity,” Skelly wrote in a Sunday email. “The Peabody Museum is a fantastic institution stewarding collections which have never been more relevant to helping us understand the history of the Earth and our place within it. I look forward to working with the Peabody community to reach out to audiences across Yale and beyond.”

Since arriving at Yale in 1996, Skelly has served as a professor at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and as associate dean for research since 2009. Skelly has received national media attention for his research on sex abnormalities of hermaphroditic frogs and their relation to water pollution in suburban Connecticut.

Skelly also works at the Peabody as chair of the exhibits committee and curator of vertebrate zoology for herpetology – the study of amphibians and reptiles. In a letter announcing the appointment, Salovey said that Skelly first visited the Peabody as a young child and that those experiences were formative in Skelly’s decision to become a scientist.

Skelly will succeed current Peabody Director and paleontology professor Derek E. Briggs who was selected by former President Levin in fall of 2007 for a five year term beginning in July of 2008. The Yale Corporation appoints the museum Director based on the University President’s nomination.

In his letter, Salovey noted Briggs’ accomplishments as director such as creating a new master plan, emphasizing a strong culture of stewardship for the permanent collection, and installing the Cretaceous Garden.

“The remarkable and unique collections in our galleries, libraries, and museums are one of Yale’s great strengths,” Salovey said. “I look forward to working with Dave to advance the teaching, research, and public outreach programs of our wonderful natural history museum.”