Michael Rankin Distinguished Canadian Herpetologist Award Recipients

Back to the awards page

Year Recipient Comments
2005 Dr. Francis Cook
Canadian Museum of Nature



2006 Dr. Jim Bogart
University of Guelph



2007 Dr. Ron Brooks
University of Guelph



2012 Dr. Richard Wassersug
University of British Columbia



2013 Dr. David Green
McGill University



2014 Dr. Anthony Russell
University of Calgary



Dr. Tony Russell retired in 2013 after a 40-year academic career in which he contributed greatly to the study of amphibians and reptiles in Canada. His research topics have included gecko morphology and biomechanics, dinosaur morphology and systematic, and the ecology of amphibians and reptiles, resulting in a publication list currently in excess of 350 contributions. Tony has been president of the Canadian Society of Zoologists, the International Society of Vertebrate Morphologists, and of the University of Calgary chapter of Sigma Xi, and is an active member of many other professional societies. Forty graduate students have completed their degrees under his supervision, and he has served on the editorial boards of four journals and acted as a referee for 35. Dr. Russell has been an active member of the herpetological community in Alberta. He has been involved in the production of amphibian and reptile species status reports for the provincial government and is a member of the Northern Leopard Frog Advisory Group. With Aaron Bauer, Tony produced an excellent field guide to the amphibians and reptiles of Alberta.
2015 Dr. Patrick Gregory
University of Victoria



Dr. Gregory has been a faculty member in Biology at U Vic, BC since 1974, including a term as Department Chair, and he has been carrying out herpetological research for over forty years. During this time, he has been awarded over 100 grants and contracts to support herp research, totaling well over $1.5 million. He has supervised or co-supervised 26 graduate students and 17 undergrad thesis students and has been on the graduate committees of 60 students. Throughout his career, Dr. Gregory has donated his time to countless herpetological organizations and committees in various executive roles, including President of several societies. His impressive research career and long-time contribution to the herpetological research community clearly set him aside as someone who has made an outstanding contribution to Canadian herpetological research.
2016 Michael Oldham
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry


Mike Oldham was presented with the Michael Rankin Distinguished Canadian Herpetologist Award in recognition of his life-time achievement in the study of amphibians and reptiles in Canada. Mike has been keenly interested in many facets of natural history, particularly herpetology since the early 1970s. Mike has contributed to the province's herpetological knowledge for over 20 years as the Botanist and Herpetologist with Ontario's Natural Heritage Information Centre, which tracks the status of the province's flora and fauna. Mike was co-founder of the first Ontario Herpetofaunal Atlas which started in 1985 and continued until the early 1990s. Mike has authored or co-authored multiple publications on Ontario herpetofauna and is an astute field biologist with extensive first hand and wide geographic field experience with all of Ontario's reptile and amphibian species. He has contributed many thousands of observational records into both the original atlas and the current Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas that is coordinated by Ontario Nature. Mike shares his knowledge willingly and has directly and indirectly mentored and inspired countless researchers and conservation professionals. He has been a member of a wide range of amphibian and reptile recovery teams, committees and advisory groups, including a member of the COSEWIC Amphibians and Reptiles Specialist Subcommittee and the Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario (COSSARO). Mike has authored many amphibian and reptile status reports and has contributed to the status assessments of most Canadian amphibian and reptile species.
2017 Dr. Cynthia Paszkowski
University of Alberta


Connie Brown (L) presenting M. Rankin Award to Cynthia Paszkowski (R)

Dr. Cynthia Paszkowski was presented the Michael Rankin Distinguished Canadian Herpetologist Award for significant and long-standing contributions to the study of amphibians and reptiles in Canada. Cindy has authored over 110 publications in refereed journals and 50 non-referred publications, and has given well over 100 oral and poster presentations. Her work has contributed immensely to our knowledge of monitoring techniques for anurans, movement ecology of salamanders and snakes, as well as general ecology and behaviour of a diverse array of vertebrates inhabiting Alberta. She is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, where she has supervised 39 graduate students, 7 post-doctoral fellows and ~100 undergraduate research projects, fostering a curiosity and love of learning in the next generation of ecologists. Cindy is currently the Associate Editor (Herpetology) for the Journal of Wildlife Management and she has also reviewed and published books, technical reports, and textbooks on introductory biology, vertebrate biology, and ecology. Cindy has played a large role in herpetological research and conservation by serving on many committees, including (but certainly not limited to) the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) Amphibians and Reptiles Species Specialist Subcommittee, IUNC Amphibian Specialist Group, Alberta Amphibian and Reptile Specialist Group and the Province of Alberta Endangered Species Conservation Committee.
2018 Dr. Christine Bishop
Environment and Climate Change Canada


Karl Larson (L) presenting M. Rankin award to Christine Bishop (R)

The Michael Rankin Distinguished Canadian Herpetologist award is presented to an individual in recognition of lifetime achievement in the study of amphibians and/or reptiles in Canada. With an expansive research career spanning over 30 years and across multiple provinces, we were delighted to present the award to Dr. Christine Bishop this year. Dr. Bishop is a research scientist with Environment and Climate Change Canada and is adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia. Dr. Bishop has published over 85 peer-reviewed journal articles and has co-edited books on wildlife toxicology, ecotoxicology of amphibians and reptiles, and the ecology, conservation, and status of reptiles in Canada. Dr. Bishop has been a long-standing, active member of Canada’s amphibian and reptile research and conservation community. She served on the board of directors of CARCNET (now CHS) and was president of the Hamilton Naturalist’s Club. In addition to her direct contributions to herpetology research and conservation in Canada, she has co-supervised many graduate students over the years and has helped to foster the next generation of herpetologists in Canada. By addressing questions in fields such as ecotoxicology, habitat restoration and preservation, road ecology and applied conservation techniques, Dr. Bishop’s research has been instrumental in furthering our knowledge of the threats to, and potential conservation solutions for, Canada’s amphibians and reptiles.
2020 Dr. Frederick W. Schueler





The Michael Rankin Distinguished Canadian Herpetologist award is presented to an individual in recognition of lifetime achievement in the study of amphibians and/or reptiles in Canada, and this year, CHS recognizes Dr. Frederick W. Schueler’s extensive and ongoing contributions. Dr. Schueler has authored and co-authored over 30 peer-reviewed publications of scientific research and natural history notes on reptiles and amphibians, as well as a multitude of government reports, magazine articles, newsletter articles, and local newspaper articles, contributing to the conservation and collective knowledge of reptiles and amphibians in Canada across broad and diverse audiences. Dr. Schueler is legendary for introducing local citizens, curious naturalists, and budding herpetologists to the Mudpuppy, Necturus maculosus, by hosting over 25 years of Mudpuppy Night in Oxford Mills (for which he received the Silver Salamander Award in 2005). In the early 1990’s, Dr. Schueler and his wife, Aleta Karstad, completed a Herpetofaunal Inventory of Outer Bruce Peninsula for the Canadian Museum of Nature/Canadian Parks Service. Over the years they’ve founded The Biological Checklist of the Kemptville Creek Drainage Basin, an all-taxa biodiversity database, marking the beginning of long-term monitoring of native and introduced species in the area; the Eastern Ontario Biodiversity Museum; the Thirty Years Later Expedition, revisiting previously observed sites to document ecological change; and Fragile Inheritance, launched in 2010 to encourage traditional and quantitative field observations, archive original field notes, and facilitate electronic storage, retrieval, and analysis of natural history data. Since 2015, Fred and Aleta have travelled to CPAWS’ Dumoine River art camps and bioblitzes, participated in the New Brunswick Museums’ BiotaNB, and continued local fieldwork, along with providing counsel to communities and individuals in eastern Ontario who find their surroundings threatened by ecological disruption.