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Leading snake expert dies at 38

for informing conservation decisions could be collected on an ongoing basis. Burmese students were scheduled to study under the guidance of Dr. Slowinski at the Academy of Sciences in November for training in DNA, systematics, and museum curation techniques.

Myanmar is the largest country in southeast Asia and is isolated from neighboring countries by an arc of jungle-clad mountains. The herpetofauna of this country is one of the least studied in all of Asia and is home to many species of venomous snakes.

Working in isolated and rugged regions of this country, Dr. Slowinski has discovered approximately 18 new species of amphibians and reptiles since he began this project. For over ten years, he was studying snakes in the family Elapidae which includes highly venomous species such as cobras, coral snakes, taipans, and sea snakes.

In a California Wild magazine article last year, he wrote "For a herpetologist, finding a new species is always exciting; for me, finding a new cobra species is the ultimate discovery." This was his 11th expedition to this region.

Dr. Slowinski was one of two principal researchers on a project for which the California Academy of Sciences was very recently awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation, the largest grant ever awarded to the California Academy of Sciences.

The project, a survey of the biodiversity of the western part of the Yunnan Province, involves a number of Academy scientists and several institutions in Yunnan, China. Dr. Slowinski has also conducted fieldwork in the United States, Mexico, Peru, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Jamaica, and the Bahamas.

Dr. Slowinski has authored and co-authored more than 40 academic papers in herpetology and is the author of Introduction to Genetics. His field work in Myanmar was twice featured in National Geographic Television series, in California Wild magazine, San Francisco Examiner Magazine, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He also se
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Contact: Amy Cramer
acramer@calacademy.org
415-750-7391
California Academy of Sciences
18-Sep-2001


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