Dr. William S. Brown
Dr. William S. Brown, Ph.D., is a vertebrate zoologist and herpetologist; he holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Arizona State University (1965, 1968) and a Ph.D. degree in Biology from the University of Utah (1973). From 1974 to 1997 he was an Associate Professor of Biology (now emeritus) at Skidmore College in New York, teaching a variety of courses (Field Zoology, Comparative Anatomy, and others). Over the past twenty-one years (1997–2017), he was a part-time lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences, State University of New York at Albany, where he taught Field Biology, Comparative Anatomy, and Histology. He is currently an Adjunct Research Biologist at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Darrin Fresh Water Institute in upstate New York. In 1990, he served a one-year elected term as President of the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR). He has served as a consultant for New York State in evaluating development projects impacting reptiles and amphibians and other wildlife. He has also provided evaluations for conservation groups and landowners concerning developments that may impact endangered or threatened species.
In 1979, Brown began a long-term study of the life history and ecology of Timber Rattlesnakes, a widely occurring North American species of the eastern deciduous forests. Brown's study—now in its 43rd year—involves capturing and marking Timber rattlesnakes in the southeastern Adirondack Mountains of northern New York. His field research is one of the longest continuous capture-recapture studies of any rattlesnake species, and his results are providing new information on longevity, reproduction, and population dynamics. Bill publishes actively on this work in periodicals (e.g., NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, 1987) and peer-reviewed journals. He is an author for a national group of research biologists producing a "Conservation Action Plan" for Timber Rattlesnakes throughout their North American range, and he serves on New York’s Timber Rattlesnake Recovery Team of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Brown was a recipient of The Nature Conservancy's (Eastern New York Chapter) annual Oak Leaf Award in 2003 citing his "many years of study and efforts toward preservation of Timber Rattlesnakes."
Timber Rattlesnakes: After 40 Years, What Have We Learned?