Curator and Department Chair, Entomology Department, Academy of Natural Sciences
Jon Gelhaus developed his interest in insects growing up in Sacramento, California. After earning his doctoral degree in entomology at the University of Kansas, Gelhaus became a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution. He joined the Academy of Natural Sciences as an assistant curator of entomology in 1990 and now serves as the department chair.
His particular interest is in the systematics, evolution, and natural history of insects, specifically crane flies, Tipuloidea, a vital group in aquatic and terrestrial habitats with over 15,000 species worldwide.
Although Gelhaus has active research projects on North American crane flies, his research on crane flies and aquatic insects has taken him worldwide. His work in Mongolia spans nearly 20 years and encompasses two projects he led funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation. Gelhaus received the Khubilai Khan Medal from the Mongolian Academy of Sciences in 2013 for his work describing and documenting the aquatic insect fauna of Mongolia and developing its use in water quality monitoring.
He has published more than 90 papers on the identification, systematics, ecology, and general natural history of crane flies and other insects.
Gelhaus has served as Principal Investigator on numerous curatorial projects funded by organizations including the National Science Foundation, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Save America’s Treasures, Pennsylvania Wild Resource Conservation Fund, and many others. In addition, he has served in multiple elected roles on the executive council of the American Entomological Society, including as president.
Gelhaus teaches courses including ENVS 201 Plant and Animal Identification, ENVS 393/394 Entomology and Lab, ENVS 328/528 Conservation Biology, ENVS 480 Insects and Water Quality, and led the ENVS 864 Graduate Seminar for two years. He has two current PhD students and two undergraduate researchers, with two students receiving their PhDs in 2021-2022.