William Roy Branch

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William Roy Branch
Born(1946-05-12)May 12, 1946
DiedOctober 14, 2018(2018-10-14) (aged 72)
Port Elizabeth
ResidencePort Elizabeth
Alma materUniversity of Southampton
Scientific career
Author abbrev. (zoology)Branch

William Roy Branch (May 12, 1946 – October 14, 2018, Port Elizabeth, South Africa) was a British herpetologist. He was born in London, England on 12 May 1946.

Branch studied at the University of Southampton where he remained until completing his Ph.D. degree (‘Studies on a foetal-specific alpha-globulin [AFP] in the rabbit’). From 1972 he worked as a scientist in the Life Sciences Division of the Atomic Energy Board in Pretoria doing research on, inter alia, liver cancer, but returned to the University of Southampton in 1976 to take up a post-doctoral research fellowship in the Department of Biology studying the synthesis of chemicals in the liver of foetal rabbits.[1]

He started working at Port Elizabeth Museum in 1979 and retired in 2011, when he was appointed as Research Associate and Curator Emeritus. Over a period of almost 40 years he conducted field work in about 20 African countries and played a major role in building up the large reptile and amphibian collections at the Museum.

Branch was also an important figure in the Herpetological Association of Africa. He edited the Association’s journal in the 1980s and 1990s, and founded the newsletter (now African Herp News). He authored well over 600 publications (including over 150 major scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals), and described (as primary or co-author) about 50 species and 19 genera of reptiles and amphibians. His publications included several books and book chapters on reptiles and amphibians, and he was co-editor of the Atlas and Red List of Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland (2014). One frog and one lizard species, as well as a genus of lizards, were named after him. He also served on several conference committees, journal editorial committees, co-supervised a number of post-graduate students, examined several university theses, and refereed nearly 200 manuscripts for about 56 different journals.

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  1. ^ "In Memory of a Great Man: William Roy Branch". Zoological Society of Southern Africa. Retrieved 8 June 2019.