California Academy of Sciences - To Explore, Explain, and Protect the Natural World

Alan E. Leviton

Department of Herpetology

A.B., M.A., Ph.D. Stanford University (1949, 1953, 1960). Curator, California Academy of Sciences (1957--); Chairman, Department of Computer Services (1982--). Lecturer, Biological Sciences, Stanford University (1962-70). Adjunct Professor, Biological Sciences, San Francisco State University (1969--). Executive Director, Pacific Division, American Association for the Advancement of Science (1975--). Past President, Herpetologists' League; Vice-Chair, Geological Society of America's History of Geology Division; Secretary-Treasurer, Forum for Historians of Science in America; Editorial Consultant, Biological Abstracts. Fellow, California Academy of Sciences; AAAS; Explorers Club of New York. Member: American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Sigma Xi, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, Society of Systematic Zoology, History of Science Society, History of Earth Sciences Society, Geological Society of America.

For more than 30 years my research interests have centered on reptiles and amphibians of Asia, from the island arcs of eastern Asia west through southwestern Asia to North Africa. Specifically, I deal with problems in systematics and especially the biogeography of reptiles from this area in the context of plate and accretionary tectonics, vicariance and dispersal, and cladistic paradigms. During the past few years, I have dealt mostly with the fauna of the Arabian Peninsula, This is an attactive region in which to study the interaction between evolutionary processes and geologic and climatic history because of the time frame in which many critical events occurred (such as fragmentation of the Arabian Plate, formation of the Red Sea, flooding of the Persian-Arabian Gulf, increasing aridity, and overfarming by early agriculturists, which contributed to the present-day aridity of the area). Many of these studies are done cooperatively with colleagues both in the United States and elsewhere, especially the Soviet Union.

An interest in the history of science led me to begin compiling a history of the Academy's early years. The basis for the history is a manuscript by historian Theodore Hittell that survived the 1906 fire and earthquake. We have also published biographical sketches on several nineteenth-century naturalist-scientists, some of whom were intimately associated with the early years of the Academy.

The Academy has more than 200 installed microcomputers, many of which are networked both within and between departments. These systems are used extensively within the Research Division for a variety of tasks including collection database management, manuscript wordprocessing, statistical and phylogenetic analyses, and graphics. Having worked with microcomputers for nearly two decades (starting in 1972), I was asked to head the Academy's Department of Computer Services and administer computer activities for the institution.

L.W. Swan and A.E. Leviton. 1963. The herpetology of Nepal: a history, checklist, and zoogeographical analysis of the herpetofauna. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 32(6):103-147

_____. 1963. Remarks on the zoogeography of Philippine terrestrial snakes. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 31(15):369-416.

_____. 1971. Reptiles and amphibians of North America. New York: Doubleday. 251 pp.

_____. 1982. John Boardman Trask: California's Physician- Geologist, 1849-1879. Pp. 37-69 in Frontiers of geological exploration in western North America. A. E. Leviton, P. Rodda, E. Yochelson, and M. Aldrich, editors. Pacific Division, AAAS, San Francisco.

_____. 1982. Computer applications to collection management in herpetology and ichthyology. Washington, D.C. 109 pp. (with R. H. Gibbs, Jr., R. K. Johnson, and R. McDiarmid).

_____. 1984. John Anderson (1833-1900): A zoologist in the Victorian Period, including a checklist and bibliography to the amphibians and reptiles of the Arabian Peninsula. Pages v-xxxv in (reprint of) John Anderson, A contribution to the herpetology of Arabia. Society for the Study of Amphibians & Reptiles, Athens, OH. (with M. L. Aldrich).

_____. 1986. The "Report" of the 1868 Hayward earthquake. Bull. Seismological Soc. Amer., 76(1):71-76 (with M. L. Aldrich, B. A. Bolt, P. U. Rodda).

_____. 1987. Description of a new species of Coluber (Reptilia: Serpentes: Colubridae) from the Southern Tihama of Saudi Arabia, with comments on the biogeography of Southwestern Arabia. Fauna of Saudi Arabia, 8:436-446.

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