Joseph Bruno Slowinski, Editor of Contemporary Herpetology and Curator
of Herpetology at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco,
died on the morning of September 12th, 2001, from the bite of a
Multi-Banded Krait (Bungarus multicinctus) in the mountains
of northern Myanmar (Burma), despite extraordinary efforts to save
him by his field companions.
Born in New York City on November 15th, 1962, Joe received his
Bachelor's Degree from the University of Kansas in 1984, and was
awarded his Doctoral Degree from the University of Miami (Coral
Gables) in 1991, working under his major professor, Jay Savage.
Other academic appointments included a Postdoctoral Fellow (morphological
systematics of elapid snakes), National Museum of Natural History
(1991-92); Postdoctoral Research Associate (molecular systematics
of elapid snakes), Museum of Natural Science, Louisiana State
University (1992-94); Instructor of Biology, Louisiana State University
(1994-96); Instructor of Biology, Southeastern Louisiana University
His principal research interests were herpetology (especially
venomous snakes), molecular evolution, and phylogenetic analysis.
He authored numerous scientific articles as well as one book,
Introduction to Genetics, published in 1998 by NTC. He was editor-in-chief
and co-founder (in 1997) of the first online herpetological journal,
Contemporary Herpetology, and a member of the editorial board
of Systematic Biology. Prior to his death, he was collaborating
with Robin Lawson, Director of the Academy's Osher Laboratory,
on several studies of the molecular phylogenetics of snakes, incorporating
both mitochondrial and nuclear genes. He was conducting a comprehensive
survey of the herpetofauna of Myanmar. In addition, Joe was part
of a large project involving a number of other Academy scientists
and several institutions in Yunnan, China, to survey the biodiversity
of the western part of the Yunnan Province, specifically a mountain
range known as the Gaoligongshan. Joe had previously taped two
National Geographic specials (during which, he received a dry
bite from a monocled cobra and had venom streamed into his eyes
by a new species of spitting cobra that he ultimately described).
Joe had recently been awarded a two million dollar grant from
the National Science Foundation, to extend his work across the
Myanmar border, into China.
The Joseph B. Slowinski Award for Excellence in Venomous Snake
Systematics has been established by the Board of Directors
of The Center for North American Herpetology (CNAH) as a trust
in perpetuity in recognition of the scientific achievements of
the late Joseph B. Slowinski. CNAH expresses its sympathy and
support to the family and friends of Joe Slowinski. Our young
and well established colleague will be missed by all of the herpetological
Joe is survived by his parents, Martha Crow of Brooklyn, New
York, and Ron Slowinski of Kansas City, Missouri, and his sister,
Rachel Slowinski of Los Angeles, California.
|Joseph B. Slowinski