Announcement and Call for Nominations

The HL Award for Distinguished Service to Herpetology recognizes the lifetime contributions of senior herpetologists to both the Herpetologists' League in particular and to herpetology in general. Contributions include:

  • research excellence in the field of herpetology;
  • leadership in scientific organizations devoted to herpetology;
  • promotion of the science of herpetology through organization of symposia and conferences;
  • dedicated participation in herpetological education and outreach;
  • encouragement and mentoring of students;
  • activities promoting achievements of colleagues or general advancements in the field of herpetology.

With this announcement, we seek nominations for the first HL Award for Distinguished Service to Herpetology, to be awarded in 2019. Nominations of candidates to the society must be made by a third party (i.e. self-nominations will not be accepted). Nominations must be accompanied by at least one letter of support from the nominator(s), addressing the candidate's suitability for the award in terms of the above criteria, as well as a current Curriculum vitae (or equivalent document providing details of the nominee's career highlights and accomplishments, including their publication record). Nominations should be sent by e-mail to the chair of the HL Distinguished Service to Herpetology committee (Emily Taylor, by March 31 2020.

Nominations normally will be kept confidential; nominators therefore are asked not to inform nominees of their nomination unless necessary for obtaining the CV or other information. However, unsuccessful nominations will be kept under active consideration for a maximum of three years; after that period, nominators, if they so choose, can submit a new and updated nomination of the candidate. Although nominations are to be kept confidential, winners will be notified of their award in advance of the annual meeting to give them the opportunity to attend the meeting to receive their award; however, we encourage winners to not reveal their award to others ahead of the annual meeting.

The award winner will receive a plaque and $1500. A photograph and short biography of the award winner will be published in Herpetologica and posted on the HL website. HL also will cover the awardee's registration for the meeting at which they will receive the award.

Professor Rick Shine (at left) with Cane Toad, Rhinella marina (at right).

Rick Shine is a Professor of Biology at the University of Sydney. He has conducted field-based research on reptiles in many parts of the world and has played leadership roles in several national and international groups, including as president of the Australian Society of Herpetologists. He is currently president of the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, and is the first person from outside North America to serve in this role in any of the three major US-based herpetological societies. Rick has organized symposia at several meetings and has devoted major effort to communicating research results to the general public. He has supervised more than 100 research students, many of whom have gone on to stellar careers in their own right.

Rick has published more than 1,000 scientific papers, that have been cited more than 50,000 times. His primary research focus has been on the ecology and conservation of snakes including studies in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and the Pacific Islands. His most extensive work has been on the snakes of tropical Australia, and on the impact and control of the invasive cane toads that arrived at his research site in tropical Australia in 2005. The work of Rick’s team has made the cane toad an iconic symbol of biological invasions, and of what we can do to buffer the impact of invasive species. His book “Cane Toad Wars” was recently published by the University of California Press.

Rick’s current research addresses conservation challenges from an evolutionary perspective, embedded within a detailed understanding of reptile and amphibian biology. He has won many national and international awards for research excellence within his field.