It is with regret that we announce our Atlas of Living Australia Director, Dr John La Salle, recently passed away.

Vale Dr John La Salle: an enthusiastic, internationally-renowned entomologist who championed open-access to biodiversity information.

It is with regret that we announce our Atlas of Living Australia Director, Dr John La Salle, has unexpectedly passed away.

John became Director of the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) five years ago. His leadership made a profound contribution to the expansion of the ALA, and to the national and international biodiversity community more broadly.

John was involved with the ALA since its inception and played a key role in its establishment in 2006. He was passionate about unlocking the information stored in Australian biological collections and related biodiversity databases, and making this information accessible and usable online.

John was also an internationally recognised insect taxonomist, a leading figure in adopting emerging technologies to accelerate the processes of taxonomy, species discovery and description, and delivery of information from natural history collections.

John served as Director of the Australian National Insect Collection from 2001-2012. During this time, he actively integrated emerging technologies into taxonomy and collection management to bring these fields in line with 21st Century science.

Our thoughts and best wishes are with John’s family.

If you would like to make a donation in John’s memory, his family have nominated

  • Casting for Recovery – National Foundation for Australian Women at , select donate and then select ‘Casting for Recovery’. NFAW will issue a receipt.
  • MS Australia
  • St Vincent de Paul on behalf of CEO Sleepout

You are invited to share memories or condolences, by emailing All responses will be compiled for John’s family.

The Atlas of Living Australia will continue operating through the normal channels on the Atlas of Living Australia website


  1. This was a deserved tribute. Despite the priceless feeling of loss for the family and the scientific community. The legacy he left will remain present in investigations on biodiversity conservation worldwide. I currently work with one of the species he describes: Hymenoptera, Eulophidae (Leptocybe invasa Fisher & La Salle). Finally, I am grateful, in memorian, to Dr John La Salle.

Commenting on this post has been disabled.