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Professor Charles Peterson earns 2009 Jerome Bigelow award

Posted May 22, 2009

 Idaho State University biological sciences Professor Charles R. Peterson has been honored with the Jerome Bigelow Award for outstanding service to scientific research by the ISU chapter of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society.

Each year at its annual spring banquet Sigma Xi presents the Bigelow Award to a scientist or engineer who embodies Sigma Xi’s mission in science and engineering education, research ethics, public understanding of science, international research cooperation and the health of the research enterprise. The Bigelow Award is named in honor of Jerome Bigelow, late ISU chemistry professor.  Bigelow was one of the founding members of the ISU chapter of Sigma Xi, and was a dedicated chemistry researcher and outstanding educator.  Charles R. Peterson

Peterson received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in zoology at the University of Illinois-Urbana, his doctorate in zoology at Washington State University, and conducted his postdoctoral work at the University of Chicago. He is currently a zoology professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and a member of the geo-technologies program faculty at Idaho State University.

He is also curator of herpetology in the Idaho Museum of Natural History and coordinator of Idaho Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation. Peterson's teaching responsibilities at ISU include Introductory Biology, Conservation Biology, Herpetology, Environmental Physiology, and GIS Applications in Ecology.

Since coming to ISU in 1988, Peterson has had five doctoral, four Doctor of Arts and 14 Master of Science students complete their degrees under his supervision. He is currently supervising three master's students. He has conducted herpetological training sessions for many agencies and corporations and teaches field-based short courses in herpetology during the summers.

Peterson's research interests include the ecology and conservation biology of amphibians and reptiles. He has authored, or co-authored, 22 journal articles, two books, 12 book chapters, and numerous notes and technical reports on topics such as temperature and water relationships, movements, describing and modeling habitat and distribution, the effects of various disturbances on populations (e.g., fire, roads, and introduced species), and the development of techniques for surveying and monitoring populations.

Much of his work has focused on reptile populations on Idaho’s Snake River Plain and amphibian populations in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Peterson received the Outstanding Herpetologist Award from the Idaho Herpetological Society in 1997, the Professional Wildlifer Award from the Idaho Chapter of the Wildlife Society in 1997, ISU Master Researcher Awards in both 1999 and 2002, an ISU Master Public Service Award in 2000, and the 2001 ISU Distinguished Public Service Award.      

It is in recognition of Peterson's dedication to the scientific research enterprise, and his public outreach and educational activities, that the Idaho State chapter of Sigma Xi has chosen him as the recipient of  the 2009 Jerome Bigelow Award.