Dr. Donald Taphorn is the aquatic team leader for the GWC-WWF Expedition team who will be heading to Guyana in September. Follow Don and his teammates as they document the amazing biodiversity of Guyana starting September 9th.
He obtained a Bachelor in Science degree (cum laude) in 1972, from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, and won the Outstanding Senior Award from the Biology Department. He then enrolled in the Zoology Department of the University of Florida at Gainesville to study fish taxonomy with Dr. Carter Gilbert, and obtained a Masters Degree in 1976, based on a taxonomic revision of the genera Austrofundulus and Rachovia (Rivulidae).
Next he moved to Venezuela, to work as a researcher for the Venezuelan ministry of the environment in a biological control project that attempted to use fish as predators to control malaria vectors (Anopheles mosquitoes). This was followed by a year teaching systematic ichthyology at the University of Zulia in Maracaibo, Venezuela.
In 1978, he moved to Guanare, Portuguesa State Venezuela to take a position at the newly founded UNELLEZ (the University of the Western Llanos) where he became a faculty member of the Environmental Engineering Department. There he founded a Natural History Museum, and the Fish Collection of which he remains curator. The Fish Collection is one of the finest in South America, fully computerized with almost 50,000 catalogued lots.
In 1990 he obtained a PhD from the University of Florida based on a annotated catalog of the Characiform fishes of the Apure River drainage in Venezuela. He has published over 100 scientific papers, mostly in the field of taxonomy of freshwater Venezuelan fishes, as well as the impact of man’s activities on aquatic ecosystems.
He retired in 2007 and is now living in the US, but remains active in ichthyology.
Follow this link to the GWC-WWF Guyana Exploration page where you can read his blog and more about the team's upcoming expedition.