Frederick P. Ide, ESA Fellow (1940)

Dr. Frederick P. Ide (deceased 19 January 1996), a professor at the University of Toronto (U of T), was elected as Fellow in 1940. His career focused on the taxonomy and life cycle descriptions of Ephemeroptera, with an emphasis on the effects of weather, climate, and chemicals on aquatic insects of streams.     

Ide was born on 4 September 1904 in Carleton County, Ontario, Canada. In the early 1920s, he became a lab assistant for the National Collection in Ottawa (now the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids, and Nematodes), collecting Odonata, Ephemeroptera, and Lepidoptera. Ide assisted the work of the director of the Division of Systematic Entomology, Dr. J. McDunnough, one of the major Ephemeroptera taxonomists in the early part of the century. Later, Ide attended the U of T to work with Dr. E. M. Walker.

During his undergraduate summers, Ide did fieldwork at the Ontario Fisheries Research Laboratory (OFRL, now called the Harkness Laboratory of Fisheries Research) collecting aquatic insects for trout studies. For his graduate work, Ide continued his work at U of T and received his Ph.D. in 1934. Immediately after, he remained at U of T as a lecturer and later an associate professor in the Department of Biology. He also continued to conduct research at OFRL to further his studies on stream-inhabiting mayflies. Ide took leave between 1943 and 1945 to serve at the meteorological stations in Torbay and St. John’s, Newfoundland, for the Royal Canadian Air Force. Ide returned to U of T until his retirement in 1970.

Ide described, illustrated, and reclassified multiple species of mayfly adults and nymphs, and gynandromorphs. Ide studied the effects of temperature gradients on the distribution of mayflies in Ontario streams and the emergence of blackflies. He additionally demonstrated the deleterious effects of DDT on stream invertebrate life cycles, including how rapid declines in aquatic insect populations could negatively affect fish communities. During his last decade at U of T, Ide led a large study through the Great Lakes Institute (GLI) sampling the benthic macroinvertebrates of Lake Ontario. His detailed studies, both during early career and with the GLI, allowed for comparison studies decades later on the effects of anthropogenic input into aquatic systems. Many of his specimens are still utilized today and are housed in the Canadian National Collection and the Royal Ontario Museum.

Ide joined ESA as a graduate student in 1931 and became an emeritus member in 1971. He was active in many other societies, including the Entomological Society of Ontario (serving as a judge for the President’s Prize in 1963; the society is now the Entomological Society of Canada), the Ecological Society of America, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, and was a charter member of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography (established in 1936). After his retirement, he served as the honorary chairman of the International Conference on Ephemeroptera in 1979 in Manitoba.