Dr. E. Durant McArthur

Science & Technology

Dr. E. Durant McArthur (1941-)

oldest of Eldon and Denise Dalton McArthur’s eight children, grew up in St. George, graduating from Dixie High School with honors and Dixie College as co-valedictorian. He subsequently attended the University of Utah, where he received three degrees, culminating with a Ph.D. in Plant Genetics in 1970. After a postdoctoral stint at the University of Leeds (England), he began a USDA Forest Service research career in 1972, as a research geneticist at the Great Basin Experimental Range in Ephraim, Utah.

Since 1975, he has been at the Forest Service’s Shrub Sciences Laboratory on the Brigham Young University campus, in addition to serving as a research leader since 1983, and spent the last three years with research administrative responsibilities in six states for the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station. His research has contributed critically to the understanding of biological resources in the semi-arid Western United States, particularly to the population genetics, ecology, and systematics of the dominant shrubs and associated plants. This work is documented by some 430 publications, more than any other Forest Service scientist. He is noted for his collegiality, ease of working with, and team leadership skills, which contribute to attracting students and visiting scientists from around the world to his research program. By invitation, Dr. McArthur has traveled the world.

As the recognized authority on all aspects of shrubland biology and restoration (after disturbances such as fires and weed infestations) his decisions and recommendations are readily accepted by land managers. He has substantively assisted more than 30 graduate students from more than a dozen U.S. and foreign universities in natural resource studies. His contributions have been recognized by numerous awards from the Forest Service, including the preeminent Chief’s Superior and Distinguished Scientist Award and awards from other agencies, professional societies, and academia. He has served his church in many capacities, including a full-time mission and as a bishop and stake leader. His community service includes activity in Rotary International (including a term as president of the Utah Valley Sunrise Club) and work by professional society leadership and committee assignments. His foundation for success lies, in part, at Dixie College, where he gained a rigorous science and humanities education. While there he was active in student government, the X-Club, and intramural sports. He and his wife, the former Virginia Johnson, have four children and 13 grandchildren.