Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Cowles, Raymond B(ridgman) (United States 1896-1975)
herpetology, physiological ecology

Cowles spent just about all of his professional life at UCLA, but he was born and lived his early days in Zululand, South Africa--it is thus perhaps not surprising that he came to be a leading spokesperson for desert ecology. He is most remembered today for his scientific research on reptile thermoregulation in arid environments. In particular, the paper he co-authored in 1944 with his student C. M. Bogert stands as a major milepost in the history of desert ecology studies. His two charming books Zulu Journal and Desert Journal left a more personal touch, conveying his strong interests in teaching and popular communication, and giving some feeling for the level of his expertise as a field biologist.

Life Chronology

--born in Amanzimtoti, Natal, South Africa, on 1 December 1896.
--1921: A.B., Pomona College
--1921-1925: assistant and then instructor at Cornell University
--1925-1927: fieldwork in Africa
--1928: Ph.D. in vertebrate zoology, Cornell University
--1929-1930: instructor, UCLA
--1930-1939: assistant professor, UCLA
--1940-1947: associate professor, UCLA
--1944: publishes "A Preliminary Study of the Thermal Requirements of Desert Reptiles" in the Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, with C. M. Bogert
--1947-1963: professor of zoology, UCLA
--1952: publishes "Physiology of an Infrared Receptor: The Facial Pit of Pit Vipers" in Science, with T. H. Bullock
--1959: publishes his Zulu Journal; Field Notes of a Naturalist in South Africa
--1963: made professor emeritus at UCLA
--1973: receives honorary D.Sc. from Pomona College
--dies at Santa Barbara, California, on 7 December 1975.
--1977: his Desert Journal: A Naturalist Reflects on Arid California is published posthumously

For Additional Information, See:

--Copeia, (3) (1977): 611-612.
--Journal of Herpetology, Vol. 18(4) (1984): 421-436.
--University of California: In Memoriam, May 1977. [website]
--Zulu Journal; Field Notes of a Naturalist in South Africa (1959).
--Desert Journal: A Naturalist Reflects on Arid California (1977).

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Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights reserved.

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