Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2014-04-08

Zoo Atlanta herpetological research director Joe Mendelson will discuss the scope and scale of global amphibian declines at Samford University Tuesday, April 15.

The public is invited to the 6:30 p.m. program in Christenberry Planetarium. Dr. Mendelson is presented as a preview speaker in advance of Earth Day observance the following week. The general theme will be "Noah's Ark: Who's Still on Board?"

One of the first responders to document the crisis of global amphibian decline, Mendelson will explain the problem and the efforts underway to help prevent almost 2,000 species from being permanently lost.

"Since God has entrusted us to be good stewards, this talk will provide important information for those interested in creation care and conservation, and will make important connections as to how what we do as humans affects other animals of the creation," said Earth Day coordinator and biology professor Dr. Betsy Dobbins.

A nationally respected expert in his field, Mendelson is responsible for the naming of more than 30 new amphibian and reptile species.  In 2012, Telmatobius mendelsoni, a previously un-described species of frog native to the Peruvian Andes in South America, was named in his honor.

His research initiatives include biodiversity surveys in Latin America; natural history, ecological and taxonomic studies; and amphibian conservation research, outreach and diplomacy.   He is president of the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles and is research and fundraising officer for Amphibian Ark (Aark), which tends select species of amphibians that would otherwise go extinct.

Mendelson holds a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of California at Santa Barbara, a master's in biology from the University of Texas at Arlington and a Ph.D. in systematics and ecology from Utah State University.  His teaching appointments include service as an adjunct faculty member in the biology department at Georgia Institute of Technology.

Attention to the environment will continue at Samford on Thursday, April 24, with an Earth Day Fair on Ben Brown Plaza from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.