A Short Tribute to Edwin J. Crossman (21 September 1929, 21 December 2003).

The photo shows Ed in June 2000 in Duluth, Minnesota, USA being presented with the Jack Christie & Ken Loftus Award for Distinguished Contributions to Healthy Great Lakes Ecosystems. At that time Ed was Curator Emeritus at the Royal Ontario Museum and Professor Emeritus in the Zoology Department at University of Toronto.




To their shock, many Canadians interested in fish learned of Ed Crossman’s sudden death at home on Sunday morning, 21 December 2003.

Dr. E.J. (Ed) Crossman, PhD, was born in Niagara Falls, Ontario and received his early education there.  He went to Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario where he received a BA in 1952.  From there he went on to graduate work with F.E.J. Fry at the University of Toronto and received his MA in 1954. Ed completed his PhD in 1957 at the University of British Columbia with Peter Larkin. He then immediately joined the University of Toronto in 1957 as Assistant Curator in the Department of Ichthyology and Herpetology at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). Dr. Crossman worked mainly with freshwater fishes and particularly the group that includes the pike and muskellunge.  His studies included the relationships and evolutionary history of the group, their distribution, and the biology of individual species.  He was actively involved in a study of the biodiversity of the fishes of the Great Lakes, and had a special interest in the phenomenon of introduced fishes.  He carried out expeditions and studies in various parts of Canada, the United States, Europe, Cuba, Malawi, and Far Eastern Russia. Dr. Crossman served as scientific advisor to a number of Provincial, Federal, Angler and international organizations, in Canada, the United States, England, and Germany. Up until the time of his death Ed was Curator Emeritus of Ichthyology at the ROM Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Biology and Professor Emeritus, Department of Zoology, University of Toronto. Although officially retired, he regularly occupied his office at the ROM where he continued his studies and involvement in the curation of the important reference collection of fishes housed there.

Ed is the author or coauthor of approximately 180 publications, both scientific and interpretive, including “the” major text published in 1973 and co-authored with W.B. (Bev) Scott, entitled Freshwater Fishes of Canada. This comprehensive book continues to be one of the most important and informative works on freshwater fishes in Canada.  The concept of the book had its birth in 1960 in Newfoundland where Ed and Bev spent the summer there making the first formal collection of the freshwater fishes of Newfoundland. According to Bev, they had many nights that summer to discuss the concept of the book and argue the many points of interest. In the end it was the synergy that developed between them, Ed’s knowledge of the west, Bev’s knowledge of the east, their combined new knowledge of Newfoundland and their mutual willingness to learn about the prairies that eventually led to the book that has had two editions. Ideas for a 3rd edition had been evolving between Ed and Bev over recent years, but the future of those ideas is now unclear.

Ed will be sorely missed.