Russell Mittermeier

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Russell Mittermeier
Born (1949-11-08) November 8, 1949 (age 64)
Bronx, New York, United States
Nationality American
Fields Anthropology
Institutions Conservation International
Alma mater Dartmouth College
Known for Biological Diversity and Ecosystem Conservation

Russell Alan Mittermeier (born November 8, 1949) is a primatologist, herpetologist and biological anthropologist. He has written several books for both popular and scientist audiences, and has authored some 300 scientific papers.


Mittermeier was born in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and went to college at Dartmouth, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1971. He did his graduate work at Harvard University, and received his doctorate in biological anthropology there in 1977 for a thesis entitled, “Distribution, Synecology, and Conservation of Suriname Monkeys”. Much of his early inspiration came from frequent visits to the Bronx Zoo and the American Museum of Natural History as a child, and from the Tarzan book and the Tarzan movies, based on the character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

He has conducted fieldwork for over 30 years on three continents and in more than 20 countries in mainly tropical locations, notably Brazil, Suriname and Madagascar. Mittermeier's fieldwork has been focused on primates, protected areas, and other conservation issues and he is considered an expert on such topics as biological diversity and its value to humanity, ecosystem conservation, tropical biology and species conservation.[1]

Mittermeier has formally discovered several monkey species. He was honored for his work in Madagascar in 2006 with the naming of a newly discovered species of mouse lemur Microcebus mittermeieri, or Mittermeier's Mouse Lemur. Russell Mittermeier is the author of Lemurs of Madagascar, a comprehensive field guide on the country's flagship species. He is also notable as one of relatively few scientists to argue in favor of serious study of the North American Bigfoot phenomenon.[2]

Mittermeier was named president of Conservation International in 1989. In addition to his work at CI, Mittermeier has served as Chairman of the IUCN-World Conservation Union Species Survival Commission's Primate Specialist Group since 1977, and as the Chairman of the World Bank's Task Force of Biological Diversity in 1988 and 1989. He also serves as President of the Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation and an Adjunct Professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Prior to coming to Conservation International, he was Vice President for Science at the World Wildlife Fund.


Mittermeier has been married twice and has three children, John (29), an ornithologist working on his Ph.D., Michael (22), currently a senior in college, and Juliana (18), a senior in high school.

Awards and honors[edit]

Mittermeier has received many awards, including:

Selected bibliography[edit]

Among the many books coauthored by Russell Mittermeier, Hotspots, Wilderness Areas, and Transboundary Conservation stand out. Mittermeier is also editor in chief of the book series Handbook of the Mammals of the World.


  1. ^ Mittermeier, Russell A., & Cheney, Dorothy L. (1987), "Conservation of Primates and Their Habitats", in Smuts, B.B., Cheney, D.L., Seyfarth, R.M., Wrangham, R.W., Struhsaker, T.T. (eds), Primate Societies, Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, pp. 477–490., ISBN 0-226-76715-9 
  2. ^ BFRO Media Article 328

External links[edit]