Brad Shaffer, Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, is the 2015 recipient of the Meritorious Teaching Award in Herpetology, co-sponsored by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, the Herpetologists' League and the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. Shaffer is also the director of the La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science, part of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.
The award recognizes superior teaching effectiveness and mentoring of students in the area of herpetology, and provides student members of the North American herpetological societies the opportunity to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to herpetological education, in either the classroom or mentoring student research endeavors.
Shaffer’s research interests include evolutionary biology, ecology and conservation biology of amphibians and reptiles. His recent research projects include studies of comparative phylogeography of amphibians and reptiles in California and the central U.S.; the systematics of freshwater turtles and tortoises in Australia, California, and the rest of the globe; and conservation genetics of endangered California amphibians and reptiles. Recently, his laboratory has focused a great deal of ecological and genetical work on the California tiger salamander, an endangered species native to central California grassland habitat.