Ross Kiester, Ph.D.

Ross serves as the Chief Program Officer for the Turtle Conservancy. He attended the University of California at Berkley conducting field work in various locations including, Mexico, Costa Rica, the Lesser Antilles, and the Galapagos Islands with colleagues such as Ted Papenfuss and George Gorman. Ross also worked as a Research Assistant teaching herpetology under the famed Robert Stebbins. Ross obtained his PhD from Harvard University, conducting his graduate work at the Museum of Comparative Zoology under E. E. Williams. After receiving his Ph.D. Ross taught at the University of Chicago and Tulane University before moving over to the U.S.D.A Forest Service where, when no one was looking, he worked on a variety of turtle and tortoise-related projects.

His passion for turtles and tortoises started at a young age, growing up in Southern California during the 1950s. At that time California was a wonderful place to be interested in herpetological field work, with the coast range, Mojave Desert, and Anza Borrego Park all within driving distance. By the time Ross was 16 he had a living collection of 21 species and subspecies including a Pancake Tortoise (Malacochersus tornieri), a Parrot-beaked Tortoise (Homopus areolatus), a Black-knobbed Sawback (Graptemys nigrinoda) and five kinds of box turtles (Terrapene) all living in his backyard. When not travelling for the Conservancy, Ross makes his home in Corvallis Oregon.