TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- To those in the conservation movement, Archie Carr was one of the great heroes of the 20th century. A pioneering biologist, ecologist and nature writer, he launched an international campaign to protect various species of migratory sea turtles all over the world. In so doing, Carr, who died in 1987, created the template for many successful environmental campaigns that followed.
Now, a Florida State University historian has documented Carrs life and analyzed his lasting impact in a new biography. Frederick R. Davis, an assistant professor of history at FSU, has written The Man Who Saved Sea Turtles: Archie Carr and the Origins of Conservation Biology, recently published by Oxford University Press.
Like so many others, I was inspired by Archie Carrs efforts in science and conservation, Davis said. Ive always spent a lot of time outdoors, studying birds and other wildlife. Ive also enjoyed reading naturalists accounts of their travels. So I found him to be something of a kindred spirit.
What made Carr particularly interesting to me was the way his 50-year career mirrored the overall evolution of naturalist tradition, biology and conservation during the 20th century. As someone whose main research interests are environmental history and the history of science, I found Archie Carr to be the perfect subject for exploring these topics.
Born in Mobile, Ala., in 1909, Carr grew up in Savannah, Ga., where the familys backyard was filled with cages of snakes, lizards and turtles. He earned a doctorate in zoology from the University of Florida in 1937, and remained on the UF faculty for the rest of his life.
Early in his career, Carrs work was predominantly in the field of taxonomy -- the systematic classification of plants and animals. He described numerous species and subspecies that were new to science. However, he went on to teach biology in Honduras from 1945 to 1949. This gave him the perfect opportu
Contact: Frederick R. Davis
Florida State University