Allison Alberts, PhD
Dr. Allison Alberts is a conservation science leader with more than 30 years experience working globally to save endangered species. In 2020, she retired from San Diego Zoo Global, where she served as Chief Conservation and Research Officer. Allison is co-founder of the IUCN Iguana Specialist Group and serves on the IUCN Conservation Planning Specialist Group, Conservation Translocation Specialist Group, and Snake and Lizard Red List Authority. She serves on the boards of the Turtle Survival Alliance, Center for Plant Conservation, and International Iguana Foundation. In addition, she serves on the Advisory Board of the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund. Allison has extensive experience in the implementation and management of reintroduction and recovery programs, as well as species conservation action planning. As a reptile and amphibian specialist, she has worked with endangered iguanas in Costa Rica, Cuba, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Fiji, as well as komodo dragons, sea turtles, desert tortoises, and native California plants, frogs, lizards, and snakes. In 2015, she was honored with the Athena Pinnacle Award for excellence in recognition, promotion, and mentorship of women in STEM. Allison is a graduate of UC Berkeley, and obtained her in PhD in Biology from UC San Diego. She is an adjunct professor at San Diego State University, and has authored over 130 scientific articles and three books. What excites her most about the Turtle Survival Alliance is the focus on direct conservation action, the deep emphasis on partnership, and the attention given to species at high risk of extinction.
JJ Apodaca, PhD
Dr. JJ Apodaca is a conservationist and geneticist. He received his B.S. in Biology at the University of South Florida in 2004 and his Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Alabama in 2010. His dissertation work focused on prioritizing areas important to the conservation of amphibians in the southeast at both the macro and micro scales. He has worked on numerous conservation projects across the country, but is primarily focused on amphibians and reptiles. Many of his projects concentrate on some of the most imperiled species in the country, including the Red Hills salamander, bog turtles, green salamanders, hellbenders, and several other species of conservation concern. His research combines multiple fields and methods (i.e. conservation genetics, habitat-modeling, life history studies, etc.) in order to develop and inform optimal conservation and management decisions. He has also been at the forefront of developing genetic databases that serve to get confiscated turtles back into the wild. JJ served as the national chair for Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) for 4 years, working with various partners to push forward amphibian and reptile conservation. He is currently the Executive Director for the Amphibian and Reptile Conservancy (ARC). He is also a conservation geneticist and founder of Tangled Bank Conservation, which focuses on conserving rare species worldwide.
Heather Barrett is Deputy Director for the BFREE Biological Field Station and Privately Protected Area located in southern Belize. She received an M.A. from the University of Florida and then spent several years exploring possible career choices: from representing artisans in the Bahamas to teaching aspiring public health professionals in New Orleans to farming biodynamic foods in northern California. She found BFREE while traveling through Belize en route to Guatemala. Within a year of her first visit, she was hired to help lead the organization. As one of BFREE’s primary administrators, Heather has been deeply involved with the TSA and BFREE collaboration to save the critically endangered Hicatee turtle,Dermatemys mawii. She manages all of BFREE’s educational programs and much of her energy is dedicated to empowering future conservation leaders through work training, outreach and professional development opportunities. With the help of an amazing team, she designed and launched a countrywide campaign in 2017 to #savethehicatee which continues to gain traction each October during Hicatee Awareness Month. Heather believes wholeheartedly in the power of the human potential and strives to connect individuals to opportunities that will allow them to flourish.
Becca received her Masters from the University of Georgia for investigating health and disease in translocated gopher tortoises. She is currently a research biologist at Nokuse Plantation, a private conservation preserve in the Florida panhandle, where she primarily works with translocated gopher tortoises and restoring longleaf pine habitat. Becca is also heavily involved with and holds leadership positions in several herp conservation organizations (such as Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC), Southeastern PARC, and Gopher Tortoise Council), where she has focused much of her energy on mentoring programs and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Andy Daneault has a long-standing interest with reptiles and amphibians and has worked with them professionally in zoologically managed settings for over 20 years. Andy is currently Animal Operations Manager/Curator of Ectotherms at Disney’s Animal King-dom where he focuses his efforts on managing the living collection, staff, and conservation initiatives. He also serves as a steering committee member for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Chelonian Taxon Advisory Group, and is the Species Survival Plan (SSP) co-ordinator for African Pancake tortoises and Co-chair for the Radiated Tortoise SSP. In addition, Andy participates with several non`governmental and governmental organizations dealing with a wide range of conservation projects for various species.
Bill began his 33 year zoo career as a Keeper at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1972 and then moved to the Toledo Zoo in 1975 as the Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians. He became the Zoo's Executive Director in 1981 - a position he held until retiring in late 2005 and now is the Director Emeritus. He has a Masters in Business Administration and has served on the boards of the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA). His passion is, and always has been, turtles and tortoises and he is excited to be "going back to his roots."
Marc Dupuis-Désormeaux, PhD
Marc Dupuis-Désormeaux is conservation biologist, researcher, and a lecturer at York University’s Glendon College in Toronto where he studies turtle communities, demographics, and road mortality. He also helps organize citizen-science efforts to mitigate turtle mortality and protect turtle nesting sites. Marc works across various landscapes and also has field sites in Kenya, where he studies lion and hyena behaviour, landscape prey-traps, and human-wildlife conflicts and has recently discovered a new population of critically endangered pancake tortoises. He holds a Ph.D. in Biology, a Master of Environmental Studies and a Master of Business Administration. Marc is the Chair of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Canada, a Canadian charity that supports various community conservation projects in Kenya, focusing on education, community development and protection of endangered species. He is also a board member of the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre, a member of the Turtle Survival Alliance’s Field Conservation Committee, a member of the IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Species Specialist Group, a member of the Royal Canadian Institute for Science, a research member of Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observation System (GLATOS), and a board member of the Canadian Herpetological Society. You can read more about his projects on his website: www.marcdupuisdesormeaux.ca
The Fort Worth Zoo’s Executive Director, Michael Fouraker, has been with the Zoo since 1993 and has more than 40 years of animal, conservation, and zoo management expertise. He has focused his career on building partnerships that support global conservation initiatives. Michael’s field experience includes work in Africa, India, South America, North America and throughout the Caribbean. An advocate of sustainability and active wildlife management, Michael is a founder and board officer of the International Elephant Foundation boardpresidentof the International Iguana Foundation and Caribbean Wildlife Alliance, and a board member of the International Rhino Foundation. These organizations have contributedtens ofmillions of dollarsin support of these rare species and their habitat. Michael has served on various committees for the World Conservation Union (IUCN), as a board member of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, the American Zoo Association and the scientific advisory board for UNESCO.
KIM GRAY is currently San Diego Zoo Global’s Curator of Herpetology & Ichthyology where she manages one of the world’s largest and most diverse living herpetological collections. Kim has over 27 years’ experience working at Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) facilities. Kim has managed and helped establish head-start programs for green sea turtles and tailed frogs in Canada, Fiji iguanas in Fiji, West African Slender-snouted crocodiles in Cote d’Ivoire, and Mountain yellow-legged frogs and Western Pond Turtles in California. Kim is an accomplished scientific illustrator and has published drawings, book chapters, and papers, all relating to reptile and amphibian taxonomy, husbandry standards, and field monitoring techniques. She manages the Fijian Banded Iguana SSP and conservation fund and is actively involved in crocodilian conservation initiatives as well, serving in leadership roles for both the Gharial and the West African Slender-snouted Crocodile and in the IUCN’s Iguana and Crocodile Specialist Groups. Kim’s primary focus continues to be on the managed care of herpetological collections with emphasis on head-start and assurance colony capacity building with the ultimate goal of recovery of endangered and threatened species.
Tim Gregory, PhD
TIM GREGORY retired in 2007 after 24 years in the biopharmaceutical industry. His primary area of research was vaccine development for the prevention of HIV infection and AIDS, and he has more than 75 peer reviewed publications to his name. He was progressively promoted to positions of increased responsibility, to Staff Scientist and Senior Director of Process Sciences at one of the nation’s leading biotechnology companies, Genentech, Inc. Since 2007, Tim has been an entrepreneur in the biopharmaceutical industry and was an initial investor and active advisor in StemCentrx, Inc., focusing on development of oncology drugs designed to eliminate cancer stem cells.
But Tim has two true passions in life: chelonians and plants. He has botanical expertise in multiple plant groups with special emphasis in the cycads, having described five species from Mexico. He is an advisor on cycad taxonomy and horticulture to the U.C. Botanical Garden (UCBG) and is a founding member of the Directors Advisory Board for UCBG and Chairman 2011-2015. He is a principal Scientific Advisor on botanical research at The Huntington Library and Botanical Garden, San Marino, CA. Tim loves Mexico and since 2004 has participated in numerous botanical exploration trips there. He has been a member of the IUCN Cycad Specialist Group since 2000 and is Chairman of the Conservation Committee. Tim currently serves on the BOD of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America and is Chairman of their Conservation Committee. Most importantly, Tim has loved turtles since age eight.
Rick Hudson earned a degree Biology from the University of Richmond in 1977 and has been employed by the Fort Worth Zoo for the past 42 years. He was a Curator in the Fort Worth Zoo's renown Department of Herpetology for twenty years, before moving to the zoo's Conservation & Science Department in 2000 as Conservation Biologist. In 2001, Rick organized an IUCN Asian Turtle Workshop - Developing Conservation Strategies through Captive Management - that led to the formation of the TSA which has grown into a global organization that is widely recognized as a strategic force for turtle conservation. Today Rick serves as President of the TSA which has programs in over twenty countries and a Turtle Conservation Center in South Carolina.
He is also well known for his work with endangered iguanas and played a leading role in the organization of the IUCN Iguana Specialist Group and the International Iguana Foundation, for which he serves as Executive Director.
In 2007 his turtle conservation work was recognized when five zoos working through the TSA received the AZA International Conservation Award for Strategic Partnership for Asian Turtle Conservation. He was twice nominated for the one of the world’s most prestigious conservation awards - the Indianapolis Prize, and in in 2012 was the recipient of the Behler Turtle Conservation Award which honors excellence, outstanding contributions, and leadership in the international chelonian conservation community.
In 2021, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium named Rick as the recipient of the Zoo's Commitment to Conservation Award in recognition of over 20 years of working to ensure the survival of endangered iguanas and turtles.
John Iverson, PhD
John B. Iverson holds a PhD in Biology from the University of Florida and is Biology Research Professor at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. Because of his interests in the natural history, ecology, and evolution of iguanas and turtles, he is currently on the steering committees (and founding member) of the IUCN/SSC Iguana Specialist Group, and the Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. He has been involved with the Turtle Survival Alliance since its inception in 2001, and serves on the Board of the Turtle Conservation Fund. He has been active in several herp societies, serving as editor and president of the Herpetologists League. He has maintained long-term field research sites since 1980 for rock iguanas in the Exumas in the Bahamas, and for turtles at the Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge in western Nebraska. His hobby is restoring a 76 acre woodlot/cornfield (now in a Conservation Easement) to a mature hardwood forest.
Cristina A. Jones
Cristina’s lifelong interest in reptiles was cultivated through the numerous hiking and camping trips throughout Arizona where her parents taught her that wildlife is wondrous and worthy of study. Her passion with turtles was ignited when she encountered her first Sonoran desert tortoise on a hike at age four, and began her fascination with natural history and conservation of desert reptiles. Cristina earned her B.S. in wildlife science and M.S. in wildlife ecology at the University of Arizona. For her M.S. thesis research, she evaluated the prevalence ofMycoplasma agassiziiin wild and captive Sonoran desert tortoises in Arizona. Cristina held the position of Turtles Project Coordinator with the Arizona Game and Fish Department from 2006 - 2021, where she led multiple inter-agency/inter-organizational working groups, and collaborated with turtle biologists and citizen scientists within Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC), Desert Tortoise Council, and the Turtle Survival Alliance Foundation to identify, coordinate, and conduct priority research and implement conservation actions for turtles in Arizona and the southwest. In 2021, Cristina accepted a position as a Biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service within the Southwest Region. She serves as a Project Manager and leads Species Status Assessment Teams to gather, analyze, and report on the best available scientific information for use in making decisions on whether or not a species warrants listing protection under the Endangered Species Act. Cristina is a co-chair and a founding member of Southwest PARC, a co-founder and co-chair for the PARC Turtle Networking Team, serves as a Board Member at Large and chair of the Training Committee for the Desert Tortoise Council, a Board Member of the Turtle Survival Alliance Foundation, on TSA’s Field Conservation Committee, and program co-chair for the annual Symposium on Conservation and Biology Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles. Her professional goal is to maintain a position in wildlife conservation and management which utilizes her knowledge, leadership, organizational skills, and enthusiasm to encourage and promote innovative ideas to assure the survival of viable populations of native turtle species throughout their range.
Patricia Koval, Chair
Patricia A. Koval is a corporate director and lawyer based in Toronto, Canada. She recently retired as a Senior Partner of Torys LLP, where she practised as a corporate, securities and governance lawyer. As well, Pat was an Adjunct Professor at University of Toronto Law School, and she currently serves on its Environmental Finance Advisory Council. Pat has a long history of volunteering in the conservation sector where, among other things, she is a Past Chair of the Board of World Wildlife Fund Canada, the current board Chair of The Living City Foundation and Turtle Survival Alliance, and serves on the boards of Rainforest Trust, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Canada, and the Chelonian Research Institute and on the Advisory Council of Wildlife Conservation Society. Pat is also a member of the Board of Directors of Trans Mountain Corporation, of the Independent Electricity System Operator (Ontario), and of several real estate and construction companies in the Tridel Group; she is the Chair of the Board of Directors of The Canada-India Business Council and of The Canadian Performance Reporting Board of CPA Canada, and a member of the GTA Executive of the Institute of Corporate Directors. In 2019 Pat was appointed by the Government of Ontario to its Advisory Panel on Climate Change. She is the author and co-author of a legal textbook and a number of studies on liability and disclosure related to climate change. Pat graduated from the joint MBA/J.D. program at Schulich School of Business and Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Canada.
Jackie Litzgus, PhD
Jackie Litzgus received her Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology from the University of South Carolina (USA) in 2003. She received both her B.Sc. and M.Sc. from the University of Guelph (Canada). Between obtaining her M.Sc. and Ph.D., Jackie worked as a Research Lab Coordinator at Miami University (USA), investigating the physiological-ecology of overwintering by turtles and frogs. She is currently a Full Professor of Biology at Laurentian University (Canada). Jackie has had the rare privilege to turn her childhood fascination into a career; she grew up catching snakes, turtles and toads in the forests and creeks near her house. Now as a professor, she has the opportunity to share her passion for these animals and their conservation with students in the classroom and in the field.
Jackie’s research program investigates geographic variation in the life history and behavior of freshwater turtles and snakes, and provides opportunities to train the next generation of conservation professionals in collaboration with numerous partners, including government agencies, NGOs, and First Nations. Much of her career has included studies of spotted turtles (Clemmys guttata) from two populations at opposite extremes of the species’ distribution, Ontario and South Carolina, to test hypotheses related to adaptive variation in body size and reproductive output. Jackie is also interested in variation in seasonal activity patterns, habitat and temperature selection, and home range size as they relate to management plans designed to conserve populations of at-risk turtles. Her research findings have been incorporated into policy and recovery documents for turtles in Canada.
John is an Adjunct Scientist at the New York Botanical Garden and Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institution – National Museum of Natural History. He is the former Chairman of the Beneficia Foundation and now serves on the Board of Directors of Bat Conservation International, Rainforest Trust, (where he is also Chair Emeritus), Global Wildlife Conservation, and the Turtle Survival Alliance. John belongs to a wide variety of scientific and environmental organizations and has special interests in conservation and birding, having pursued these activities worldwide from the Antarctic and Africa to Borneo and South America. He is a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London and a member of the Explorers Club. He has a B.S. in biology from Muhlenberg College and pursued Ph.D. studies in ecology at Rutgers University. John has authored and co-authored many scientific papers, publications, and books dealing with tropical vegetation, tropical tree identification, and the taxonomy of the Cashew – Poison Ivy family.
Russell A. Mittermeier
Russell A. Mittermeier is currently Chief Conservation Officer of Re:wild. Prior to this position, he served for three years as Executive Vice Chair at Conservation International and as President of that organization from 1989 to 2014. Mittermeier was born in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and received his doctorate in biological anthropology from Harvard in 1977. Since 1977, Mittermeier has served as Chairman of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Primate Specialist Group, and he has been a member of the Steering Committee of the Species Survival Commission since 1982. Named a “Hero for the Planet” by TIME magazine, Mittermeier is regarded as a world leader in the field of biodiversity and tropical forest conservation. Trained as a primatologist and herpetologist, he has traveled widely in 169 countries on seven continents, and has conducted field work in more than 30 − focusing particularly on Amazonia (especially Brazil and Suriname), the Atlantic forest region of Brazil, and Madagascar. In addition, Mittermeier has placed considerable emphasis on publishing. His output now includes 38 books and more than 700 scientific and popular articles. He has also been particularly interested in the discovery and description of species new to science, three of those being species of turtles. Russ has been with the TSA since its inception and was instrumental in supporting the group during its formative years. He also serves on the governing boards of both the IUCN–Tortoise and Freshwater Specialist Group and the Turtle Conservation Fund.
Vivian Páez, PhD
Dr. Vivian Páez is a Colombian conservation biologist who works with amphibian and reptile species, especially freshwater turtles. She has just retired from the Biology Institute of the Universidad de Antioquia in Medellín, Colombia, where she mentored many undergraduate and graduate thesis students, and saw many of them obtain positions in other Colombian universities, NGOs, and government environmental institutions. She also created the Herpetology Museum of the Universidad de Antioquia, now the third largest biological collection of amphibians and reptiles in the country. She was elected president in 2010 of the Colombian Association of Herpetologists, and while in this role she edited the bookBiología y Conservación de las Tortugas Continentales de Colombia. She was also an editor of the 2015 Libro Rojo de Reptiles de Colombia. At the International level, Vivian has been a long-term member of the Steering Committee of the IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, a member of the Review Board of the Turtle Conservation Fund, and more recently also of the Congdon-Dickson Turtle Ecology Fund. She has been an editor for Chelonian Conservation and Biology for many years, and more recently has taken on the role of assistant editor for turtles for Herpetological Conservation and Biology and Revista Latinoamericana de Herpetologia. She also has recently accepted the task of becoming the new IUCN Red List Coordinator of the TFTSG. Vivian is a graduate of the Universidad de los Andes and obtained her Ph.D. from Ohio University. She has published over 70 scientific articles in her career, many on turtles, and edited three books. She has received both the Sabin Turtle Conservation Prize for her career dedicated to turtle research and conservation, and more recently the Behler Turtle Conservation Award, being the first Latin American recipient of this distinction. She is excited about becoming a member of the board for the Turtle Survival Alliance, especially as a member of its Field Studies Committee, in the hopes of further stimulating conservation efforts for turtles directed at the population level.
Hugh Quinn, Ph.D.
Hugh Quinn holds a PhD in Biology and has spent his career in zoos: as Supervisor of Education at the Fort Worth Zoo, Zoological Curator at the Oklahoma City Zoo, Curator of Herpetology at the Houston Zoo, Director at the Topeka Zoo, and finally as General Curator at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (retired). Hugh currently resides in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and serves on the Board of Directors and Animal Management Committee of the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA), on the Steering Committee of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group (TFTSG), as Co-Chair of the Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF), and as Research Associate at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota. He has been very active in the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR), and served as president of that organization.
Anders G.J. Rhodin, M.D.
Anders G.J. Rhodin is an orthopedic surgeon as well as a turtle researcher and conservationist. Born in Sweden, he immigrated to the USA in 1958, received a B.A. from Dartmouth in 1971, an M.D. from the University of Michigan in 1977, did orthopedic surgical residency training at Yale, and was in private medical practice in Massachusetts from 1982 to 2019. He is now retired and lives in Vermont with his wife, Carol Conroy. He has been doing research on turtles since 1972, initially at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, and currently has over 300 publications. He has described six new species of turtles, including three with Russ Mittermeier. He is the Founder and Director of Chelonian Research Foundation, a philanthropic nonprofit organization established in 1992 for the production, publication, and support of worldwide turtle and tortoise research. He is Founding Editor and Publisher ofChelonianConservation and Biology, a peer-reviewed scientific journal devoted exclusively to turtles and tortoises inaugurated in 1993, andChelonian ResearchMonographs, a book-length series focused on turtle and tortoise research and conservation established in 1996. Since 2017, both of these publications are co-published with the Turtle Conservancy. Anders was Co-Chair or Chair of the IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group (TFTSG) from 2000 to 2012, and is currently Executive Vice Chair. In 2012 he received the Sir Peter Scott Award for Conservation Merit from the Species Survival Commission of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the Behler Turtle Conservation Award from the Turtle Survival Alliance and the TFTSG. He serves as Board Chair of Turtle Conservancy, is Founding Co-Chair of Turtle Conservation Fund, Turtle Taxonomy Fund, and Congdon-Dickson Turtle Ecology Fund, as well as a Founding Board Member of Turtle Survival Alliance and African Aquatic Conservation Fund.
Frank Slavens retired in 2001 as Curator of Reptiles from the Woodland Park Zoo (WPS) in Seattle WA where he worked for 30 years. While at the WPS, Frank produced numerous editions of his book Reptiles and Amphibians in Captivity, a series of annually produced inventories of the world's reptiles and amphibians in captive collections. Each volume represented almost 500 collections, both public and private, with contact phone numbers and addresses. Sections on longevity and breeding were invaluable tools for those interested in the captive breeding of reptiles and amphibians. In 1990 he started the Western Pond Turtle Head-start & Recovery program at WPZ in cooperation with the Washington Dept of Fish & Wildlife. The program eventually expanded to include the Oregon Zoo. The main turtle site is in the Columbia River Gorge area along the Washington/Oregon border. After retiring from the zoo, Frank and his wife Kate moved down to the Gorge to continue their work with pond turtles. Frank and Kate have generously supported the TSA in recent years.