Jan Gulicka (1925 - 2009)
Jan Gulicka was born in Ruzomberok, Central Slovakia on 8 April 1925. After the studies at the gymnasium in Ruzomberok he attended the Faculty of Natural Sciences, the recent Comenius University, Bratislava. The university studies he finished in 1950. Already as a student he gained the position of demonstrator at the Zoological Institute of the University and later, since 1950, he worked there as assistant. In 1961 he finished the doctoral studies and shortly after that, in 1963 he became the assistant professor for systematic zoology and ecology. The theme of his theses dedicated to the "Progoneata of Slovakia" he elaborated afterwards in doctoral theses entitled "Millipedes of Slovakia", unfortunately never published. His inaugural dissertation dealing with "Blepharoceridae (Diptera) of the Central and South Europe and the Caucasus" represents the second field of his interest. Since university studies he was concerned with biospeleology and later on he actively studied the cave fauna not only in Slovakia. Already these facts demonstrate his wide spectrum of interest in zoology. Beside the millipedes and centipedes, he studied also harvestmen, terrestrial isopods, orthopteran insects, earwigs, pseudoscorpions and also small mammals, reptiles and amphibians. In addition, besides his long termed pedagogical activity at the Comenius University (until 1990) he actively worked in several scientific councils at the Slovak National Museum, Slovak Karst Museum, in government councils for nature and karst protection or as the president of the Slovak Zoological Society.
Myriapodology represented one of the main parts of his scientific interest. He published over 20 papers exclusively dealing with millipedes; he described several new millipede species and subspecies even from historically well investigated Central Europe. His descriptions of Leptoiulus mariae
and Leptoiulus tatricus
from the Slovak Carpathians and Listrocheiritium septentrionale
from the Hercynian district of Central Europe belong to the most important. He elaborated also some millipede materials from Balkan Peninsula and Russia, both with description of new genera and new species as well. He critically evaluated the up to the eighties known data about the millipede fauna of the Czech Republic, but newer summarised his surely detail knowledge of the Slovak millipede fauna. Two his papers from the fifties and sixties focused on population biology and ecology of millipedes and other groups of soil fauna represent the pioneer studies in this field from our countries.
Jan Gulicka represented the generation of the classical zoologists with a wide knowledge of invertebrates as well as vertebrates. His practical lessons during the zoological field trips were very popular not only for students. With pleasure he submitted for long discussions professional zoological, myriapodological as well as practical life themes (e.g. Italian wines etc), which I have had pass repeatedly with him during my several scarce meetings, too.
Associated Professor Jan Gulicka died on December 11, 2009.
Karel Tajovsky, March 2010
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