A UF professor will take his fossil fascination to new heights after being nominated president-elect of the Paleontological Society.

Bruce MacFadden, a curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, found out in August that he would be serving as the international organization’s next president-elect. On Sunday, he will be begin his official role.

“It’s a great honor and a big responsibility. I’m happy to serve the society,” MacFadden said.

The Paleontological Society, founded in 1908, works toward the advancement of the study of paleontology.

In his new role, MacFadden will be in charge of organizing and coordinating the activities of the society and thinking about its future, he said.

“I’d like to move the society forward in doing what the society does by advancing the science of paleontology,” MacFadden said. He also wants to expand the teachings of paleontology to the general public.

His interest in paleontology began when he was just a child who loved dinosaurs, fossils and visiting museums, he said.

“Collecting fossils on some of my family’s farms in upstate New York was something that got me interested as a kid,” MacFadden said.

Jonathan Bloch, the other curator of vertebrate paleontology at the museum, started working there 12 years ago, but knew about MacFadden’s work long before that.

“Twenty years ago, he was well-known as being one of the leading figures in vertebrate paleontology,” said Bloch. “That hasn’t changed.”

“What Bruce is really excited about these days - and he’s sort of a leader in it - is how we communicate the science of what we do,” he said.

Bloch said that in addition to working as curators at the museum, he worked under MacFadden for about five years on the editorial board for a journal published by the Paleontological Society.

“I think through leadership in that, plus his communications with other leaders in the Paleo Society, that he was sort of a no-brainer for a choice going forward,” Bloch said.

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