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Harvard University
Environmental Health & Safety
Environmental Biologist

Phone: 617-495-1983

Gary Alpert


Environmental Biologist on staff in the Environmental Health & Safety Department, Environmental Affairs Office, of Harvard University. Manager of the MWRA program and the pest control program. Research on Integrated Pest Management for urban pest control and on ant biodiversity in Madagascar. Development of database systems for Museum Entomology and MWRA Management Programs.


  • B.S. Psychology (with distinction), Washington State University, 1969.
  • M.S. Entomology, Washington State University, 1972.
  • Researcher, University of Madrid, Spain, 1973.
  • Special Student, University of Washington, 1974
  • Ph.D. Biology, Harvard University, 1981. (Ph.D. thesis on the study of social insects)

Environmental Biologist, Environmental Affairs Office, E.H.& S. Harvard University 1996-Present. Responsible for the MWRA program management.

  • Develops information to characterize environmental program status and effectiveness, and tracks implementation of environmental program requirements. This task includes development and maintenance of databases necessary to characterize program status for hazardous waste, wastewater discharge, permit inventories and similar areas.
  • Provides direct assistance to clients at the University with the understanding and implementation of environmental programs associated with hazardous waste management, wastewater discharge and related issues. Implementation methods include training, assistance with self-assessments, evaluation of data, and participation in the development of site-specific environmental programs.
  • Assists with problem identification, diagnosis and remediation activities related to hazardous waste and wastewater discharge issues.
  • Provides operational support to EH&S personnel working in environmental programs on the implementation of hazardous waste and wastewater discharge issues.
  • Provides technical expertise in government regulations and evaluates impact on the University and communicates requirements to clients. Assists in development and implementation of compliance programs as needed.
  • Undergraduate Honor Roll (5 semesters)
  • Undergraduate teaching assistantship in Pschology
  • Psi Chi (Psychology honor society), 1968.
  • Phi Beta Kappa (Washington Chapter), 1969.
  • Teaching Assistant in General Entomology, 1970.
  • President, Washington State Entomological Club, 1971
  • N.D.E.A. Fellowship Title IV, 1969-1972.
  • E.O. Holland Scholarship, Spain, 1972.
  • President, Cambridge Entomological Club, 1978.
  • NSF Fellowship for doctoral research, 1978-1980.
  • Teaching Fellow, Harvard University, 1976-1980.
  • Danforth Teaching Award, Harvard University, 1980.
  • Anderson Fund Grant, Harvard University, 1976.
  • Richmond Fund Grant, Harvard University, 1977.
  • Member of the Cambridge Entomological Club
  • Member of the International Union for the Study of Social Insects
  • Member of the Entomological Society of America
  • Appointed to the Pesticide Board Industrial Advisory Council for the state of Massachusetts
  • Member of environmental summit to the Soviet Union (Armenia)
  • Consultant to government of Indonesia on Museum Pest Control under World Bank Global Environmental Facility program.
  • National Geographic member to French Guinea for tropical forest canopy research.
  • Member of research conference in Bahia, Brazil on ant biodiversity.
1989-1997 Research in Madagascar on ant biodiversity and conservation.  
1988 Research in Ecuador on tropical field ecology and conservation  
1987 Research in the Peoples Republic of the Congo on ant biodiversity  
1981-Present Research on Integrated Pest Management of urban pests, control of ants, cockroaches, and public health pests.  
1978-1980 NSF Fellowship, Doctoral dissertation research in desert ants and symbiosis.  
1975-1981 Research on social insect behavior.  
1973-1975 Research on the development of insects, culture and transplantation of imaginal discs, and ligation and culture of embryos of Drosophila.  
1972 Research on ants in the Sierra Madre mountains of Spain.  
1969-1972 Research on symbiosis between ants  
1968 Research on control of face flies in eastern Washington.  
1967-1968 Research on imprinting in chickens.


Alpert, Gary D. 1972. Aggregation of Perothops witticki LeConte. Coleopterists Bull. 26(2):73-74.

Alpert, Gary D. and R.D. Akre 1973. Distribution, abundance, and behavior of the inquiline ant Leptothorax diversipilosus. Ann. Ent. Soc. America 66(4):753-760.

Akre, R.D.and G.D. Alpert and T. Alpert 1973. Life cycle and behavior of Microdon cothurnatus in Washington. J. Kansas Ent. Soc. 46:327-338.

Schubiger, G. and G.D. Alpert 1975. Regeneration and duplication events in a temperature sensitive homeotic mutant of Drosophila melanogaster. J. of Devel. Biology 42(292-304).

Alpert, G.D. and P.O. Ritcher 1975. Notes on the life cycle and myrmecophilous adaptations of Cremastocheilus armatus (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). Psyche 82(3-4):283-291.

Moglich, M. and G.D. Alpert 1979. Stone dropping by Conomyrma bicolor (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). A new technique of interference competition. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 6:105-113.

Alpert, Gary D. 1987. The role of the odd beetle, Thylodrias contractus, in the biodeterioration of museum objects. Biodeterioration Research, vol. 1. Ed. Llewellyn and O'Rear. Plenum Publishing Corp. New York.

Alpert, Gary D. and L.M. Alpert 1988. Integrated Pest Management: A Program for Museum Environments. In a Guide to Museum Pest Control. Ed. Zycherman and Schrock. Assoc. of Systematics Collections, Wash. D.C.

Alpert, Gary D. 1989. Integrated Pest Management Program for Research Facilities. In Biohazards Management Handbook. Ed. Liberman and Gordon. Marcel Deker, inc. N.Y.

Alpert, Gary D. 1992. Observations on the genus Terataner in Madagascar. Psyche, 99(1): 117-127.

Alpert, Gary D. 1994. A Comparative Study of the Symbiotic Relationship Between Beetles of the Genus Cremastocheilus (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) and their Host Ants (Hymenoptera:Formicidae). Sociobiology 25(1).


  • I am a partner with Conservation International to produce a Field Guide to the Common Ants of the Eastern United States. My collaborators are Piotr Naskrecki and Leeanne Alonso. We are negotiating with Harvard University Press as a publisher for this field guide.
  • The Ants of Massachusetts, a web based electronic field guide is under development with Rob Stevenson from University of Massachusetts, Boston and Stefan Cover of the MCZ. I am collecting ants, writing text and partially assisting with field photography.
  • Current research project with Noah Whiteman, NIH postdoc in Naomi Pierce's lab on the evolution of Microdon (Diptera: Syrphidae) and their host ants. This is a comprehensive study involving co-evolutionary symbiosis, using ecology, natural history, morphological and molecular tools to understanding the unique relationship between these unusual predatory fly larvae and ant brood.
  • Current position as Entomologist and Environmental Biologist at Harvard University. This is a full time position I have held at Harvard University for more than 25 years.
  • Collaboration with myrmecologists to create country lists and identify ants. Ivory Coast (Below Ground Biodiversity), Kenya, Indonesia, Malaysia, Uganda, Israel, New Caledonia, India, Philippines, Cambodia and Dominican Republic. This project is in collaboration with John Pickering of Georgia and is a series of country ant lists listed posted onto a Discover Life web site.
  • Imaging of MCZ Types. I pioneered the use of Automontage to image ant specimens in collaboration with Synchroscopy and Leica. I set up a fully automated high resolution color, 3D imaging system and exchanged this information with other scientists at the MCZ. I helped to write grants, reviewed proposals and acted as a consultant for the Entomology Department and other departments within the MCZ in their efforts to image museum specimens.
  • Contributions of ant specimens to the MCZ (Madagascar, United States, Congo, Philippines, Nepal, Irian Jaya, Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Kenya, Mozambique, Java, Dominican Republic (Amber, ants), St. Lucia, French Guiana, Brazil, Canada (New Brunswick) and South Africa.
  • I am included in the recent NSF Biodiversity Grant awarded to Jim Wetterer, of Florida Atlantic University. This is a biodiversity survey of the ants of the Lesser Antilles, and includes collecting, mounting, labeling, identifying and photographing ants. I traveled to St. Lucia where I collected ants that are deposited in the MCZ ant collection and I have authorization to continue to collect ants on other islands of the Lesser Antilles. I have a major role in producing high quality images of ants for the web.
  • I have an adjunct faculty position at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. I am working with Robert Stevenson and Bob Morris to produce EFG for ants. I was provided with a Cannon 20D digital camera and macro lens to photograph ants of Massachusetts and elsewhere.
  • Madagascar research project. I spent 10 years at my own expense, collecting, mounting labeling and identify more than 25,000 ants of Madagascar. All specimens have been donated to the MCZ. Publications from this research include scientific papers with Bert Holldobler, Jergen Heinze and a recent taxonomic paper in a Festschrift monograph in honor of Ed Wilson. These specimens have been made available to other taxonomists as a contribution to their work.
  • I am in the third year of a five year permit to collect ants from the northern Philippines. Approximately 30,000 ant specimens have been collected along a transect as part of an altitudinal research study on the island of Luzon.
  • In March of 2007 I joined Mark Moffett, national geographic photographer, and traveled to Cambodia to conduct ant research. I am now collaborating with a Belgian scientist, Stefan De Greef to study the biodiversity of Cambodian ants with assistance and collaboration from Conservation International. The ants are being deposited in the MCZ.
  • I traveled to Nepal and participated in a Rapid Assessment Project (RAP) for Conservation International in 2006. Ants have contributed to the scientific understanding of the ants of the Himalayas and new ant species are being described by collaborators in England and Russia.
  • Taxonomic monograph on the ant genus Terataner in collaboration with Brian Fisher from the California Academy of Science. This is a culmination of 10 years of study on this ant genus in Madagascar.
  • Harvard University Press has recently published, an Ants of the World Catalogue by Bolton, Alpert, Ward and Naskrecki. This is a CD catalogue and database that involved an intense four year effort of data entry on my part.
  • Ph.D. Harvard University in Biology 1981. Bert Holldobler and Ed Wilson committee members and advisors.
  • Phi Beta Kappa.
  • Scholarships: NDEA Title IV and Holland fellowship to Spain.
  • Co-instructor in the Ant Course taught in Arizona. This is a select group of 25 students and 10 faculty members who conduct a 10 day intensive ant course.
  • Recipient of a grant from Massachusetts to create information on the common urban pests of New England. Set up a web site driven by a FileMaker database in collaboration with Piotr Naskrecki.
  • Collaboration with international researchers Australia (Steve Shattuck, Rudy Kohout, Simon Robson), Japan (Katsuyuki Eguchi), New Caledonia (Herve Jordan) and other researchers in other countries. Many of these scientists stay at my home during research visits to the MCZ.
  • Computer Technology. FileMaker Database, Digital Imaging, Automontage, collaboration with Leica. Collaboration with others to improve digital imaging.
  • Scientific published papers; Metapone, Mystrium, Terataner, Eutetramorium, Microdon, Formicoxenus and Cremastocheilus.
  • Faculty member of the Harvard Foundation under the direction of Allen Counter.
  • I have been a host for many years for foreign students from Chile, Madagascar, Africa and other countries. This year I am a host for a Chinese international student at Harvard (Yungkee Wu).
  • I have created a web page for Harvard University, Environmental Health & Safety on common urban pests that gets more than 60,000 visits each month.

Updated: 25 July, 2007

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