December 17, 2008; Revised January 30, 2010
"Water and land are unevenly distributed over the earth's surface,
and measured in living space,
the world is a salt water planet."
Richard Knapp Allen (1976) in the "Allen Manual"
In 1954, Richard Allen moved away from the wet forested Pacific Northwest, and returned to the arid desert country of Utah. He was accepted into graduate school at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Richard Allen was mentored by George Edmunds for both his Master of Science (M.S.) degree and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D), completing both a master thesis (1955) and doctoral dissertation (1960) on mayfly biogeography and systematics (Edmunds and Murvosh, 1995). Richard Allen continued to reside in Utah for 3 more years (1960-1963) with a postdoctoral appointment, partially funded by the National Science Foundation, and his supportive parents, who also resided in Utah (Allen, 1960).
In 1964, Richard Knapp Allen became a professor of zoology from 1964 through 1980 at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA). During these 15 years he wrote a great book, Common Intertidal Invertebrates of Southern California, which appeared in two editions, 1969 and 1976. This fine book has become known as the "Allen Handbook" (1969) and the "Allen Manual" (1976) and they serve as two "Bibles" to the identification and natural history of seashore animal life of the greater Los Angeles region and southern California. The opening sentence of the Foreward in 1969, and the opening sentence of the Introduction in 1976, are both printed above at the beginning of the essay. Both statements by Richard Allen emphasize the importance of water to the biodiversity of life on our planet Earth.
Currently, the "Allen Manual" is out of print, having been last printed in 1990 by Ginn Press, now 20 years ago. A revised third edition of the "Allen Manual" would be very desirable for students of the seashore, naturalists, conservationists, and environmentalists, of Los Angeles and southern California. The author of this article has begun work on a third edition of the "Allen Manual" and this biographical essay serves as a foundation for different portions of the Preface, Foreward, and Introduction, of the planned third edition.
During the 15 years that Richard Allen was on the faculty of the biology department at CSULA, he maintained four academic foci:
1. Research on the systematics of mayflies with many articles published;
2. Mentoring graduate students for master theses on mayflies;
3. Teaching classes in zoology, such as invertebrate zoology and limnology;
4. Writing books, namely his two editions of a handbook and manual to seashore life of greater Los Angeles and southern California.
In 1980, at the time of his retirement as a professor, Richard Allen resided in Huntington Beach near the sea and just north of Newport Bay. He continued his research on the systematics of mayflies after his retirement. He lived for 12 years beyond his retirement (1980-1992). There is a nice photograph of Richard Allen, posing by the mast of his small sailboat with Chad Murvosh at Dana Point Harbor, California (Edmunds and Murvosh, 1995: 76).
During his tenure as a zoology professor for 15 years, "Doc" Allen was the graduate thesis advisor for 6 students, all of them on a subject of a specialized group of insects known as the mayflies. This is not surprising, given that the mayflies were the focus of Richard Allen's own graduate research, and that the mayflies remained the research focus during his entire life. The first thesis that Richard Allen guided was completed in 1969 by Randolph Scofield Malone. Each succeeding year saw another thesis completed, culminating in 1973, with a final thesis by Esther S. M. Chao, who was the last graduate student of Richard Allen. It is interesting to note that all 6 theses were completed between the time period of the first and second edition of the "Allen Manual" to marine invertebrate seashore life of Los Angeles and southern California.
In addition, Randolph has graciously donated a copy of his Master of Science Thesis in Zoology, with a very nice inscription, which assisted the author of this biography essay tremendously. Randolph Malone, in the late 1960s, investigated populations of several species of mayflies in a small stream of the San Gabriel Mountains, named Monrovia Creek, which is a tributary to the larger Rio Hondo, San Gabriel River, and Los Angeles River at Whittier Narrows. He also compared Monrovia Creek to the larger San Gabriel River, a few miles away, as to the biodiversity of mayflies. The title of Randolph Malone's M.S. Thesis is: "The Seasonal Distribution of the Mayflies of Monrovia Creek." It is noteworthy for this biography to share the kind acknowledgements of Richard Allen's 6 graduate students, beginning with Randolph Malone (1969: iii):
"I am especially thankful for the constant advice, helpful suggestions, and encouragement offered by Dr. Richard K. Allen. Without his untiring guidance this study could not have been completed."
And in his bibliography, Randolph cites several early publications of Richard Allen, including Richard Allen's M.S. Thesis on the Oregon Mayflies, researched at the University of Utah, as well as a an article on Oregon Mayflies, written jointly one year later by Richard Allen and his mentor, George Edmunds. Note that George Edmunds and Chad Murvosh (1995) wrote a very nice obituary about Richard Allen that also serves as a good biography and nicely complements this "computer-on line" biography for a fuller understanding of the "life and times" of Richard Allen.
For me personally with my own interest in the ecology and natural history of streams and the seashore of Los Angeles, which begins near my boyhood home in Sylmar, at Loop Canyon, a tributary to the Pacoima River ("wash" or "arroyo"), it was pleasing to read and "digest in my mind" the thesis by Randolph Malone. For example, he discussed "Pacoima Wash" in Sylmar where a mayfly was discovered nearly a century ago (between 1900 and 1920s) and serves as the "type locality" for Epeorus (Iron) hesperus (Banks, 1924). And so it is a fascinating to me from an ecology and biogeography perspective that the "Pacoima Wash Mayfly" was found at both Pacoima Wash in the western San Gabriel Mountains and at Monrovia Creek in the central San Gabriel Mountains. Both of these streams, approximately 30 miles apart and directly isolated, flow southerly to join the greater Los Angeles River below Whittier Narrows. Thus, we know that a hydrology link exists, which shows the possibility of mayfly disperal through "drift" via linked tributary streams. This unique example of ecology and biogeography as a function of geographic distribution by a single freshwater species of aquatic invertebrate animal must exist for countless other animals and plants of the Greater Los Angeles River-San Gabriel River Ecosystem (GLAR-SGRR).
Some history research via the bibliography of Malone (1969) shows that the "Pacoima Wash Mayfly" was originally discovered and named from a collection of specimens from the stream known as Pacoima Wash in the early 1920's by Banks (1924: 424). Just three years after Mr. Banks completed his original description, according to Randolph Malone (1969: 3-8), the "Pacoima Wash Mayfly is discussed by Ms. Seeman (1927) and still later by Day (1956: 88) in their respective studies of mayfly biogeography and ecology for southern California and the state of California. Interestingly, Edmunds and Allen (1957: 319) revisited the taxonomy of the "Pacoima Wash Mayfly" with another closely related mayfly from the San Gabriel Mountains that was described by Ms. Traver (1935: 408) as Epeorus sancta-gabriel Traver, 1935. George Edmunds (1962) concluded that the "San Gabriel Mayfly" was not different from the "Pacoima Wash Mayfly" so he did a synonomy. This conclusion had also been stated by Edmunds and Allen (1957: 319) in their comprehensive listing of Mayflies of the United States and Canada. Under the mentoring guidance of Richard Allen, Randolph Malone (1969: 8) clearly showed that the freshwater mayfly from Monrovia Creek agreed with the published descriptions including those of Edmunds and Allen (1957: 319) so that it can be concluded that the "Pacoima Wash Mayfly" also occurs in Monrovia Creek.
As I hope you can discern from this brief biogeography and taxonomy analysis, the "Pacoima Wash Mayfly" (i.e. "Sylmar Mayfly") links and connects the dots together of several scientific natural historians over the last century, namely Richard Allen, George Edmunds, and Randolph Malone, to several others including Day (1956), Seeman (1927), Banks (1924), and, Traver (1935).
"Foremost, I am grateful to Dr. Richard K. Allen, who directed this study and who offered many helpful suggestions in the completion of this thesis. His constant advice and encouragement was the guiding stimulus throughout my graduate program."
Richard Knapp Allen guiding the research of Donald Lee Collins with his graduate master thesis, appears to me, in essence, to be a biogeography study of a select group of aquatic invertebrates, namely mayflies. For example, Richard Allen guides Collins (1970: 14) to state that 37 species of mayfly occur in the San Gabriel Mountains. Another interesting observation that Richard Allen guided to a conclusion is that Collins (1970: 10) stated that 3 species of mayflies are endemic, and therefore found only in the San Gabriel Mountains. Interesting, one species includes Epeorus (Iron)hesperus, Pacoima Wash Mayfly of Sylmar and Monrovia Canyon, which Malone (1969) discusses in his thesis.
"Thanks is extended to Dr. Richard K. Allen, under whose direction this study was conducted, for constant advice, helpful suggestions, and untiring assistance. ... National Science Foundation Grant GB-5740X, as assistant investigator with Dr. Allen, aided immeasurably in providing income and defraying expenses for the many illustrations included in this dissertation. The completion of this investigation was principally dependent upon the loan of specimens by Dr. Allen."
In a personal communication with Richard Brusca in 2009, with whom I had the good fortune to learn more about Richard Allen, it was said that Richard "Dick" Allen was a good man. One story about Richard Allen as told by Rick Brusca was that "Dick" had a Volkswagon (VW van) that was used for travel in California, Mexico, and the southwestern United States, in order to study mayflies in freshwater streams as well as for visits to the California seashore in order to observe marine invertebrate life in estuaries, beaches, harbors, and rocky coasts. A careful perusal of some of his mayfly publications show that he traveled widely in the southwest, particularly in Arizona including visits to streams on Indian reservations and National Forests. Rick Brusca said that Richard Allen did field visits to many places in southern California with his students, including the harbor in Marina del Rey and the Ballona Wetlands in Los Angeles (Playa del Rey).
In 1980, in the magnificent handbook and manual of the marine life of the Sea of Cortez, Richard Brusca acknowledged his former thesis advisor, Richard Allen, in a very nice way. Interestingly, in this same year of 1980, Richard Allen retired from CSULA and moved to the beach and seashore at Huntington Beach. Here is the kind quote regarding Richard Allen by Brusca (1980: xix and xx):
"Richard K. Allen (introductory materials as well as general inspiration); ... Very special thanks go ... to Dick Allen for so sincerely sharing his years of taxonomic training with me - without which I could never have completed this undetaking."
Earlier, in 1973, in the first edition of the Sea of Cortez "handbook and manual" it is also noticed that Richard Brusca acknowledged Richard Allen. Brusca (1973: xiii and xv) said these glowing words about his mentor as follows:
"For the west coast of North America, this volume joins two earlier principal works of this type: Light, et al. (1961), and Allen (1969). R.K. Allen's Common Intertidal Invertebrates of Southern California deals principally with the animals found south of Point Conception, many of which occur as far south as the outside tip of the Baja California peninsula. ... Dr. Richard K. Allen, California State College at Los Angeles, for reviewing the entire manuscript, donating several illustrations, and preparing the author for his own taxonomic niche."
Both of these very sincere remarks by Richard Brusca, in 1973 and 1980 respectively, bracket some acknoweldgements and appreciation that Richard Allen had toward Richard Brusca in 1977. In a very interesting manner, Richard Allen wrote a brief book review of Richard Brusca's handbook with positive thoughts. Here are the two quotations by Allen (1977: iv and vi) as follows:
"The most recent publication of comprehensive taxonomic keys, and species characterizations of intertidal Pacific coast invertebrates is R. C. Brusca's A Handbook of the Common Intertidal Invertebrates of the Gulf of California which treats more than 450 species from southern California to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Also included is a summary of recent literature, and physical and chemical data on the Gulf of California. ... Special thanks is offered to Dr. Richard C. Brusca, University of Arizona, for assistance in rewriting the chapter on Annelida, and for gathering collection data and assistance in preparation of the manuscript."
"Thanks is extended to Dr. Richard K. Allen, under whose direction this study was conducted, for helpful suggestions, valuable assistance, and advice. ... The completion of this investigation was principally dependent on the loan of specimens by Dr. Allen."
"Thanks are extended to Dr. Richard K. Allen, under whose direction this study was conducted, for helpful suggestions, valuable assistance, and encouragement. ... The completion of this investigation was principally dependent on the collection of specimens by Dr. Allen."
"Thanks are extended to Dr. Richard K. Allen, under whose direction this study was conducted, for helpful suggestions, valuable assistance, and advice. ... The completion of this investigation was principally dependent on the collection of specimens by Dr. Allen ... This study is a segment of the research program conducted by Dr. Allen and supported by the National Science Foundation."
Over the next few years, after completion of her thesis, there were a total of 6 new species of mayflies described and published jointly by Richard Allen and Esther Chao. From 1971, two years prior to completion of her thesis, until 1981, Richard Allen and Esther Chao wrote at least four articles jointly on mayflies. In their first article, Allen and Chao (1971) wrote a description of a new species of mayfly, Baetodes from Arizona. The last article published jointly by Allen and Chao (1981) was about mayflies of the southwestern United States. The other two articles were also on mayflies of the southwestern United States (Allen and Chao, 1978 a & b).
Lastly, the Ballona Institute has assembled an archival collection of writings by and about Richard Knapp Allen. At this time, the Ballona Institute has 8 copies of Richard Allen's book, Common Intertidal Invertebrates of Southern California, which can be appropriately called the "Allen Manual to Intertidal Invertebrates of Los Angeles and Southern California." We have both editions at the Ballona Institute, and all the various printings of this book. The Ballona Institute already has acquired through donation, one Master Thesis, that of Randolph Malone, which was donated by Randolph to the Ballona Institute. And the Ballona Institute is hopeful to obtain the remaining 5 Master of Science Theses that Richard Allen mentored and was an advisor for with his students. The Ballona Institute has also been active in assembling a Mayfly library, so that we can better analzye water quality and ecological health of rivers and streams of Los Angeles and California and the Southwestern United States. Richard Allen and his "mayflies" may lead us to a more truthful and genuine awareness for honest ecological restoration that embraces integrity and deep ecology, and avoids the pitfalls and trap of big money corporations that can influence research, healing, and ecological restoration, by further degredation of the Earth, its waters, soils, plants and animal wildlife.
Allen, R. K. and G. F. Edmunds, Jr. 1956. A list of Mayflies of Oregon. Proceedings of the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters 33: 85-87.
Allen, R. K. 1969. Common Intertidal Invertebrates of Southern California. Peek Pub., Palo Alto. 170 pp.
Allen, R. K., and E. S. M. Chao. 1971. A New Species of Baetodes From Arizona (Ephemeroptera: Baetidae). Southern California Academy of Sciences Bulletin 71(1): 52.
Allen, R. K. 1976. Common Intertidal Invertebrates of Southern California. Peek Pub., Palo Alto. 317 pp.
Allen, R. K. and C. M. Murvosh. 1983. Taxonomy and Zoogeography of the Mayflies (Ephemeroptera: Insecta) of Baja California. Annals of the Entomological Soc. of America 76 (3): 425-433.
Allen, R. K. and C. M. Murvosh. 1993. A Biogeographically Based Assessment of the Potential Mayfly Fauna of Nevada. Pan-Pacific Entomologist 67 (3): 206-215.
Allen, R. K. and C. M. Murvosh. 1994. The Streams of Baja California. Bulletin of the North American Benthological Society 11 (3): 293-323.
Banks, N. 1924. Descriptions of New Neuropteroid Insects. Bulletin Museum Comparative Zoology Harvard. 65: 423-426.
Brusca, R. C. 1973. A Handbook to the Common Intertidal Invertebrates of the Gulf of California. Univ. of Arizona Press. 427 pp.
Brusca, R. C. 1980. Common Intertidal Invertebrates of the Gulf of California. Univ. of Arizona Press. 513 pp.
Collins, D. L. 1970. The Mayflies of the San Gabriel Mountains (Insecta: Ephemerotpera). Master of Science Thesis, California State College, Los Angeles. 107 pp.
Day, W. C. 1956. Ephemeroptera, Chapter 3, pp. 79-105. In: R. L. Usinger(ed.) Aquatic Insects of California. UC Press. 508 pp., R. K. 1976.
Edmunds, G. F. Jr., and R. K. Allen, 1957. A Checklist of Ephemeroptera of North America north of Mexico. Ann. Ent. Soc. Amer. 51: 375-382.
Edmunds, G. F. Jr. 1962. The Type Localities of Ephemeroptera of North America north of Mexico. Univ. Utah Biol. Ser., 12: 39 pp.
Edmunds Jr., G. F. and C. M. Murvosh. 1995. Obituary: Richard K. Allen (1925-1992). Pan-Pacific Entomologist 71 (2): 75-77.
Edmunds Jr., G. F. and C. M. Murvosh. 1995. Systematic Changes in Certain Ephemeroptera Studied by R. K. Allen. Pan-Pacific Entomologist 71 (3): 157-160.
Malone, R. S. 1969. The Seasonal Distribution of the Mayflies of Monrovia Creek. Master of Science Thesis, California State College, Los Angeles. 46 pp.
Seeman, T. M. 1927. Dragonflies, Mayflies, and Stoneflies of Southern California. Pomona Journal of Entomology and Zoology: 19: 40-51.
Traver, J. R. 1935. Iron hesperus, page 408. In: J. G. Needham, J. R. Traver, and Yin-Chi Hsu. The Biology of Mayflies. Comstock Publ. Co., Ithaca, N. Y. 759 pp.