Dr Caroline Pond

Research Interests

Caroline Pond read Zoology at Oxford and, supported by a Christopher Welch Scholarship, did a D.Phil. (1971) on the mechanics and neurobiology of insect flight (supervised by Professor J.W.S. Pringle, FRS). She was also a Departmental Demonstrator in comparative physiology 1971-5 and tutor in Zoology & Human Sciences at St Hilda's College. After periods in USA, including teaching gross anatomy at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School, she returned to Britain in 1979 to work for The Open University in Milton Keynes. She wrote science courses on a variety of topics in general, comparative and evolutionary biology and investigated the functional and phylogenetic basis of the organisation and anatomical relations of white adipose tissue in terrestrial vertebrates, becoming Professor of Comparative Anatomy in 2002. Comparative studies included naturally obesity in polar bears, arctic foxes, Svalbard reindeer and other high-latitude mammals. From the mid-1990s, experimental research concentrated on the mechanisms and functions of paracrine interactions between perinodal adipocytes surrounding lymph nodes and lymphoid cells in mammals and their human pathological defects, notably Crohn's disease.

She retired in 2010 and now lives in Oxford where she continues to write and do odd jobs on a voluntary basis, including leading tours for visitors to the Oxford Museum of Natural History. In 2013-15 she transcribed into digital form 38 volumes of manuscript Field Notes, many about Wytham Wood and the surrounding estates, that were compiled in 1942-1965 by Charles S. Elton, FRS, CBE (1900-1991) while he was Director of the Bureau of Animal Population, a research group affiliated to the Department of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy (from 1963, Department of Zoology), Oxford University. They had been stored in the University Museum (now Oxford Museum of Natural History) since Elton retired in 1967. Using manuscripts loaned by the Elton family, she also transcribed his accounts of his activities on three expeditions from Oxford University to Spitsbergen (now Svalbard) in 1921, 1923 & 1924, a research visit to the Caribbean and Amazon rainforest in 1968, and lectures describing the work of the Bureau of Animal Population, one by Elton himself (1962) and one by his collaborator, Dr John Clarke (1993). All these transcripts are available in .pdf form on the Bodleian Library website here

In 2017-8, she donated her collection of preserved vertebrate remains, mostly skulls and skeletons, to the Zoology Department and funded the conversion of derelict garages (formerly stables) behind WildCRU's Tubney House into a study room where students and researchers can examine them. A comprehensive catalogue of The Pond Collection at WildCRU plus the Introduction and Terms of Use for the material can be viewed here.

Scientists may, following approval of requests, use the Collection for any biologically-relevant physical or chemical procedures including those involving removal, defacement or partial destruction of the specimens. Artists are welcome to draw, photograph, trace or scan any item, but permission will NOT be granted for removal or defacement of specimens for collages, installations or other non-scientific purposes.