David B. Wake is Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of California at Berkeley, where he is also Curator of Herpetology and Director of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has served on the Board on Biology and panels of the National Research Council. As an evolutionary biologist and systematist he is concerned with the description and preservation of biodiversity, and has been especially active in Middle America, where he has focused on salamanders. In recent years he has led efforts to document and gain an understanding of factors involved in the decline and disappearance of amphibians in many parts of the world. He is a former President of the Society for the Study of Evolution, the American Society of Naturalists, and the American Society of Zoologists.