Biologist Dennis A. Demarchi co-authored the biography of zoology professor Ian McTaggart-Cowan for Ian McTaggart-Cowan (Harbour 2014), the first comprehensive biography of one British Columbia's most distinguished scientists--a renowned biologist, educator and conservationist.

A major influence on David Suzuki when Suzuki was a student at UBC, McTaggart-Cowan was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on June 25, 1910 and came to Canada in 1913. He taught in the zoology department of UBC from 1945 to 1975, serving as head of the faculty from 1953 to 1964. He was Dean of Graduate Studies from 1964 to 1975. He wrote many books and papers concerning mammals, birds, parasites, diseases and conservation,

McTaggart-Cowan was the scientific forefather of prolific naturalist and bird expert R. Wayne Campbell, one of the three co-authors of the McTaggart-Cowan biography, along with Ronald D. Jakimchuk and Dennis A. Demarchi. He served as an inspiration for David Suzuki's populist approach to science and environmental activism by hosting two widely-seen programs on national television in the 1960s, The Living Sea and The Web of Life, thereby prompting Suzuki to subsequently create The Nature of Things. Ian McTaggart-Cowan died on April 18, 2010, at the age of 99. The co-written biography was commenced as a project to mark his hoped-for 100th birthday that never came.


Ian McTaggart-Cowan: The Legacy of a Pioneering Biologist, Educator and Conservationist (Harbour, 2014) $49.95. 978-1-55017-623-0.

[BCBW 2014]