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Conservation Biologist to Speak on Campus Oct. 20

|Dr. Thomas Rainwater

Last updated October 5, 2016

By Tina Underwood

Thomas Rainwater, Ph.D., a noted conservation biologist and Furman alumnus (Class of 1989) who has worked around the world on projects relating to the conservation of crocodiles and turtles, will share anecdotes from his life and work in a presentation Thursday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. in Watkins Room of the Trone Student Center on the Furman University campus.

Dr. Thomas Rainwater

Dr. Thomas Rainwater

His talk, “Reality Bites: Cultural Challenges in Conserving the World’s Endangered Crocodiles and Turtles” is free and open to the public. The CLP talk is sponsored by the Friends of the Furman University Libraries, Tri Beta Biological Honor Society, and the Furman Environmental Action Group.

Loss of biodiversity is one of the most important issues facing the Earth. Multiple stressors are responsible for the decline in biodiversity—a reality directly correlated with human culture. In his presentation, Dr. Rainwater will speak to the plight of some of the world’s most endangered crocodilians and turtles, and how different human cultures can influence conservation efforts.

He will also provide a personal perspective on how culture can both hinder and aid in wildlife conservation, sharing the highs and lows of a life spent studying imperiled reptiles. Rainwater’s talk will provide the audience a unique opportunity to learn about the intersection of science and culture as well as a glimpse into life on the front lines of wildlife conservation.

Rainwater has spent the last 20 years studying the biology, ecotoxicology, and conservation of wildlife, particularly endangered crocodilians and turtles. He has published over 185 scientific articles, book chapters, and papers on these topics stemming from field projects in Belize, Costa Rica, India, South Africa, and the United States. He is Research Scientist and Wildlife Research Coordinator at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center and Clemson University’s Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science, both in Georgetown, S.C.

For more information, contact Kathy Hamlin at, or 864-294-2191.

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