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National herpetology society honors UT Arlington professor for discoveries
Date:9/11/2012

Jonathan Campbell, a UT Arlington biology professor known for traveling into the remotest regions of Central and South America to catalog biodiversity, has received the 2012 Henry S. Fitch Award for Excellence in Herpetology, a national honor given by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists.

The annual award was announced this summer at the 7th World Congress of Herpetology in Vancouver, Canada. The prize is awarded to an individual for long-term excellence in the study of amphibian and/or reptile biology, based principally on the quality of the awardee's research; consideration is also given to educational and service impacts of the individual's career.

"Our awardee's scientific career has been one of discovery, finding and describing unknown species, and synthesizing the body of knowledge on Latin American herpetology," Jonathan Losos, Harvard professor and herpetology curator of the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, said in introducing Campbell's recognition. "He has studied the biodiversity and biogeography of Central and South America, often as faunas were going extinct. It is no hyperbole to say that, without his work, many forms would have gone extinct without even being known."

In presenting the award, the society lauded Campbell's ability to connect with the people of Latin America and his prolific published work, which includes systematic monographs and revisions, field guides and descriptions of more than 100 new species. Losos' introduction highlighted how Campbell's "facility with Spanish and his calm attitude allow him to travel into areas that are inaccessible to most scientists.

"One famous story recounts how he convinced government officials to issue permits to enter a region even they were afraid to enter. Then, two days later he persuaded guerillas to allow him to continue his work (and not shoot him) because he was 'only a scientist collecting frogs,'" Losos said.

Campbell has been a professor at Th
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Contact: Traci Peterson
tpeterso@uta.edu
817-272-9208
University of Texas at Arlington
Source:Eurekalert

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