Brian K. Lang, former NM Department of Game & Fish wildlife biologist and invertebrate species specialist, checks the population of Socorro Isopod (Thermosphaeroma thermophilum) at a natural spring near Socorro, Socorro Co., New Mexico. Brian monitored the health of this population, an Endangered species, on a monthly basis for many years. He passed away on March 1, 2017 and is sorely missed by his many friends and colleagues.
Coordinates are for town of Socorro and not actual location.
Excerpt from his obituary (http://obituaries.newsandtribune.com/story/brian-lang-1958-2017-889122942):
"He was born January 29, 1958 to parents Irvin and Norma Lang of New Albany, Indiana. Brian had a deep passion for biology and zoology from an early age by collecting rocks, fossils, snakes and insects and spent much of his youth exploring the woods and stream life of a neighborhood city park. One prized possession was a perfectly fossilized trilobite that he found at summer scout camp. His extensive international travels took him to the Galapagos Island, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, western Europe and Alaska.
Brian received his undergraduate biology degree from Ball State University and a Master's degree in Wildlife Management from Frostburg State University in Maryland. Upon graduation he spent several years as a Research Coordinator studying marsupial mammals in the mountains of Chile and contributed reference samples to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois. During this Chilean field work he became fluent in oral and written Spanish. His next career path leads him to Rhode Island where he served as a Senior Wetlands Biologist performing environmental reviews of sensitive areas.
His natural affinity for the outdoors continued in New Mexico where he served as a Research Assistant for the University of New Mexico Museum of Southwestern Biology, evaluating native fishes in the Pecos and Rio Grande drainages. His 20 plus year career with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish began in 1992 with the Endangered Fishes Program as a Field Technician studying native fishes in the Pecos River system. He served as a Wildlife Zoologist for approximately ten years specializing in the stewardship of 27 listed terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates. This work included captive propagation and husbandry programs for the Socorro isopod and Texas hornshell mussel. One of his many career accomplishments in this position was the discovery of a new species of land snail in New Mexico. Brian was a highly published scientist and scholar with approximately 30 peer reviewed authored or co-authored journal articles. He provided peer review for a variety of fellow researchers. Brian was instrumental in the creation of New Mexico's Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan and passage of the Aquatic Species Control Act in 2008-9. Brian was a key player in the creation of a statewide Aquatic Invasive Species program in New Mexico. He served as an Adjunct Curator for the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science from 2001-2014."
Charles W. Painter (1949-2015), herpetologist with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish in Santa Fe from 1985 to 2013.
Charlie enjoyed doing conservation education workshops like this one at the Wind River Ranch (now part of the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge), along the Mora River in Mora County, New Mexico. Here he does a show & tell with a large snapping turtle captured that morning. He was a tireless advocate for amphibian and reptile conservation, an excellent field biologist, and a great friend to many.
You can read about some of his accomplishments here: http://amphibianandreptileconservancy.org/news/allison-haskell-award/charles-painter . Interestingly, the turtle in the photo there is probably the same one as shown here but captured in a different year!
He passed away today, 12 May 2015, in Albuquerque.
Addendum: Here's a very good obituary by colleague and friend Lee Fitzgerald and published by the Center for North American Herpetology:
Tuesday, May 26, 2015 8:08:29 AM
The Center for North American Herpetology
Charles Wilson Painter, Herpetologist, Naturalist, Mentor, Author, Blacksmith, Father, Husband, Friend, Artist, passed away on 12 May 2015. We will miss Charlie as a beloved member of our herpetological community and hold the fondest memories of his vast knowledge of natural history, humor, mastery of the camp kitchen, and the exquisite care and attention he gave to all his endeavors and friendships. It seems everyone who accompanied Charlie, whether for a day or a month, returned with stories they will tell for a lifetime.
Born 23 February 1949, Charlie grew up in rural Louisiana and Arkansas. One starting point of his professional career in herpetology could be his service in the US Army in South Korea, where he amassed a collection of about 1,500 specimens. While in graduate school at University of Louisiana at Monroe, Charlie completed his master’s thesis on the herpetofauna of Colima, Mexico. He relocated to Albuquerque in the late 1970s and spent the rest of his life in New Mexico.
Charlie continued graduate work at University of New Mexico and in the early 1980s worked on several interesting projects in the Southwest and Mexico focused on herps, fishes, and some feathered reptiles. Charlie landed the job of his dreams in 1985 when he became the first herpetologist for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. The job title fit him perfectly, Endangered Species Biologist. Charlie likened his position to a show he and his brother Robert watched as kids, and said he never imagined he would “be so lucky to ride through the desert like the Lone Ranger, having one adventure after another.” Charlie spent 28 years in this position, not just sharing adventures, but initiating and completing countless studies that accumulated a vast body of critically important information on the natural history, distribution, and conservation status of amphibians and reptiles throughout New Mexico.
As Curatorial Associate at the Museum of Southwestern Biology, University of New Mexico, Charlie deposited thousands of specimens and was a central figure in the Division of Amphibians and Reptiles. Charlie lead the effort to create and publish Amphibians and Reptiles of New Mexico, which still stands as a fine example of a scholarly monograph of a regional herpetofauna. Other notable achievements include Charlie’s record of more than 80 scholarly publications, successfully pushing legislation to control wildlife trade in New Mexico, and a series of long-term studies on lizard communities in several locations, montane rattlesnakes, and the enigmatic decline of leopard frogs.Charlie’s work had direct impact on conservation of all the endemic and exploited amphibians and reptiles in New Mexico.
In the policy arena, he was a staunch defender of species and their habitats, guided by a deep conservation ethic backed by scientifically defensible arguments. In recognition of these career achievements Charlie received the Alison Haskell Award in Herpetofaunal Conservation from Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Gila Natural History Symposium.
Charlie built his career around a philosophy of embracing broad collaborations and fostering and implementing good research. In doing so, he became the hub of field-based herpetological research and conservation in New Mexico, forging new relationships, and mentoring more young biologists than we could name, including a corps of more than 20 professional field technicians who themselves have progressed in their careers at numerous universities, agencies, and private firms.
Charles W. Painter is survived by his loving wife and partner in herpetology, Lori King Painter, his daughter, Ashley Painter, stepdaughter Kelly Senyé, brother Robert Painter, and friends all over the world. We will profoundly miss him and remain thankful for legacies he left for us in herpetology and life.
Lee A. Fitzgerald, Texas A&M University
Specimen observed sunning itself amongst boulders in mixed conifer forest, at approx. 2,800 meters elevation. Temperature was in the 60 F degree range. Specimen was extremely difficult to see. Location is approximate. This was the earliest that a large C. molussus was observed at such a high elevation in Central mexico
The tortoises are on the move, following late summer rains 2 days ago. This little one was wandering down the middle of the river crossing. The back of his shell near his tail was chipped off, and I couldn't see a tail.