H. Brad Shaffer, Ph.D.
Brad is an evolutionary biologist, geneticist, and conservation biologist who focuses his attention on reptiles and amphibians, particularly turtles and salamanders. He was an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Brad has spent his career at the University of California, first for two years at UC Irvine, followed by 24 years on the faculty at UC Davis, and as of 2012, at UCLA (Go Bruins!) where he is a Distinguished Professor with joint appointments in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Institute of Environment and Sustainability. He is also the first faculty director of the La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science at UCLA.
Brad had that childhood obsession with turtles that, as with most of us, never left him. His research utilizes the tools of molecular biology, particularly the analysis of DNA sequence data, to study the evolution, ecology and conservation biology of reptiles and amphibians, always with a strong focus on how field studies can be augmented by cutting edge laboratory analyses. His work on turtles has ranged from detailed, in-depth analyses of species boundaries of the Western Pond Turtle to his nearly-completed Turtles of the World project that seeks to build a family tree for every named species of turtle and tortoise on earth.
In 2013, Brad led a team of 59 international biologists to publish the first complete turtle genome, an important milestone for both academic and conservation scientists.