David Watts, who died of a stroke on 13 November 2003, was among a talented group of geographers appointed at the University of Hull, UK, in the 1960s. David came to the Hull Geography Department in 1963 and was promoted to Reader. He served as Dean of the School of Geography and Earth Resources 1988-1991. He retired in 2002.
Born in 1935 in Derbyshire, David Watts held degrees from University College, London, the University of California at Berkeley, and McGill University, Montreal. His doctorate on the introduction of plants and landscape change in Barbados began a love affair with the Caribbean, which culminated in 1987 the remarkable study The West Indies; patterns of development, culture and environmental change since 1492. It was later translated into Spanish.
David was a pioneer in the promotion of biogeography, and his Principles of Biogeography (1971) became a standard text. A significant achievement was the establishment of the Journal of Biogeography, for which David was the founder-editor. In the 1990s David’s interests in island ecosystems and the Caribbean were extended to China, Korea and the Middle East.
David Watts was a scholar of genuine international repute and a congenial colleague, a courteous and sensitive man with a wide circle of friends. He leaves a widow, Nancy, and a son, Chris, from his first marriage.
David Watts (Necrology). 2004. AAG Newsletter 39(1): 15.