Jonathan Campbell, a UT Arlington biology professor known for
traveling into the remotest regions of Central and South America to catalogue
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,
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 American
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
“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
The University of Texas at Arlington since 1983 and chair of the College of
Science’s biology department since 2002. He is also director of the Amphibian
and Reptile Diversity Research Center at UT Arlington. The Amphibian
and Reptile Diversity Research Center houses more than 130,000 specimens of more
than 4,000 species collected from more than 90 countries.
"It is no surprise to see Dr. Campbell honored by his peers,”
said Pamela Jansma, dean of the UT Arlington College of Science. “Here at UT
Arlington he has been instrumental in building the Amphibian and Reptile
Diversity Research Center into a nationally-known resource and providing
valuable field experiences and mentoring for biology faculty members, graduate
students and undergraduates."
Campbell is an outstanding
representative of the faculty at UT Arlington, a comprehensive research
institution of nearly 33,500 students in the heart of North Texas. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.
The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.