J. Whitfield Gibbons
J. Whitfield "Whit" Gibbons (born October 5, 1939) is an American herpetologist, author, and educator. He is Professor Emeritus of Ecology, University of Georgia, and Head of the Environmental Outreach and Education program at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL).
Life and work
Gibbons was born in Montgomery, Alabama. He is the son of the late Robert F. Gibbons, author, and the late Janie Moore Gibbons, professor at the University of Alabama. He received degrees in biology from the University of Alabama (B.S.-1961; M.S.-1963) and in zoology from Michigan State University (Ph.D. - 1967).
He is the author or editor of 20 books on herpetology and ecology and has published more than 250 articles in scientific journals. He has had commentaries on National Public Radio (Living on Earth, Science Friday, and others), and has had more than 1,000 popular articles on ecology published in magazines and newspapers, including a weekly environmental column distributed by the New York Times Regional Newspaper Group. His encyclopedia articles have appeared in World Book, Compton's, and for the past 25 years have included the annual summary of Zoology for the Encyclopædia Britannica Year Book. He wrote the latest edition of Reptile and Amphibian Study, the merit badge booklet for the Boy Scouts of America.
His research interests focus on the population dynamics and ecology of aquatic and semi-aquatic vertebrates and have involved detailed population studies of fish, amphibians, and reptiles, particularly turtles. One objective has been to determine functional relationships between population parameters (e.g., survivorship, reproductive output, dispersal rate) and environmental conditions. A recent focus has been on documenting and explaining the distribution and abundance patterns of herpetofauna. The ultimate goals have been to explain findings at the ecological and evolutionary levels. An emphasis has been placed on application of basic research to environmental impact and conservation issues, particularly in regard to natural and degraded wetlands.
Gibbons has received the Henry Fitch Distinguished Herpetologist Award at the national/international Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists for long-term excellence in the study of amphibian and reptile biology. He was awarded the IUCN Behler Turtle Conservation Award in recognition of long-term turtle research and conservation nationally and internationally. Other awards include the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association's First Place Award for the Best Radio Program, the South Carolina Governor's Award for Environmental Education, the Meritorious Teaching Award presented by the Association of Southeastern Biologists (ASB), the ASB Senior Research Award, and the C. W. Watson Award presented by the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies for contributions to wildlife conservation.
- Turtles: The Animal Answer Guide. 2009. (with Judy Greene). Johns Hopkins University Press.
- Lizards and Crocodilians of the Southeast. 2009. (with Judy Greene and Tony Mills). UGA Press.
- Frogs and Toads of the Southeast. 2008. (with Mike Dorcas). UGA Press.
- Turtles of the Southeast. 2008. (with K. Buhlmann and T. Tuberville). UGA Press.
- Snakes of the Southeast. 2005. (with Mike Dorcas). UGA Press. Winner of National Outdoor Book Award
- North American Watersnakes: A Natural History. 2004. (with Mike Dorcas). University of Oklahoma Press
- Ecoviews: Snakes, Snails, and Environmental Tales. 1998. (with Anne Gibbons). University of Alabama Press. Choice Outstanding Academic Book award.
- Life History and Ecology of the Slider Turtle. 1990. Smithsonian Institution Press.
- Their Blood Runs Cold: Adventures with Reptiles and Amphibians. 1983. U. of Alabama Press.
- Official website of SREL
- Faculty Page for Whit Gibbons
- SREL Herpetology
- Turtles: The Animal Answer Guide Book
- Lizards and Crocodilians of the Southeast Book
- Snakes of the Southeast Book
- Frogs and Toads of the Southeast Book
- Turtles of the Southeast Book
- North American Watersnakes: A Natural History Book
- Ecoviews Book
- Their Blood Runs Cold: Adventures with Reptiles and Amphibians Book
- Life History and Ecology of the Slider Turtle Book
- University of Georgia
- University of Alabama
- Michigan State University