Russell Mittermeier

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Russell Alan Mittermeier
Born (1949-11-08) November 8, 1949 (age 65)
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 and herpetologist. He has written several books for both popular and scientist audiences, and has authored some 300 scientific papers.


Russell A. Mittermeier is Executive Vice-Chair of Conservation International , and served as President of Conservation International from 1989 to 2014. Named a “hero for the planet” by TIME Magazine, Mittermeier is regarded as a world leader in the fields of primatology, biodiversity and tropical forest conservation. Trained as a primatologist and herpetologist, he has traveled widely in more than 160 countries on seven continents, and has conducted field work in more than 30 over the past 45 years – with much of his field work having focused on Amazonia (particularly Brazil, and Suriname ), the Atlantic forest region of Brazil, and Madagascar. [1]

Since 1977, Mittermeier has served as Chairman of the IUCN-World Conservation Union Species Survival Commission Primate Specialist Group, and he has been a member of the Steering Committee of the Species Survival Commission since 1982. Prior to working for Conservation International, he spent 11 years at World Wildlife Fund – U.S. (1978-1989), starting as Director of their Primate Program and ending up as Vice-President for Science. He also served as an IUCN-World Conservation Union Regional Councillor for the period 2004-2012, was elected as one of IUCN-World Conservation Union ’s four Vice-Presidents for the period 2009-2012, and then was elected a lifetime Honorary IUCN-World Conservation Union Member in 2012. He also chaired the first World Bank Task Force on Biodiversity in 1988, which was instrumental in introducing the term "biodiversity" to that institution. In addition, he has been an Adjunct Professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook since 1978 (and received an Honorary Doctorate there in 2007), a Research Associate at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University for more than two decades, and President of the Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation since 1996. Most recently, he was instrumental in the creation of the 25 million Euro Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, a new species-focused fund based in Abu Dhabi, and serves as a member of its Advisory Committee.

Mittermeier was born in New York City. He received his B.A.(summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from Dartmouth college and Ph.D. from Harvard University in biological anthropology for a thesis entitled,“Distribution, Synecology, and Conservation of Suriname Monkeys”in 1977.

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 

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