Leading snake expert awarded Professorship

The University of Wolverhampton has appointed a Professor of Herpetology during graduation week.

Mark O’Shea received his Professorship at a recent ceremony held at the Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton.

Wolverhampton born and educated, Mark O’Shea graduated from Wolverhampton Polytechnic in 1985 with a degree in Applied Sciences. The University awarded him an honorary doctorate in science in 2001 for his contributions to herpetology.

Herpetology is the branch of zoology concerned with the study of Reptiles, including snakes, lizards, amphisbaenids, turtles and tortoises, and crocodilians, and Amphibians, including frogs, toads, salamanders, newts, and caecilians.

Mark is teaching on the University’s Animal Behaviour and Wildlife Conservation courses.  He has held the position of Curator of Reptiles at West Midland Safari Park since 1987. Between 1999 and 2003, Mark presented four seasons of the internationally acclaimed ‘O’Shea’s Big Adventure’ for Animal Planet and Channel 4. He also presented films for the BBC, ITV and Discovery Channel.

Mark has conducted herpetological fieldwork or made films in almost 50 countries, on every continent except Antarctica.  He has worked on numerous tropical expeditions, including snakebite research projects, including co-leading a team recording new species in Timor-Leste, Asia’s newest country. His most recent expedition was to catch and milk highly venomous snakes in Myanmar (Burma) for a snakebite and antivenom production project.

Mark said:  “I’m extremely thrilled to receive a Professorship at the University of Wolverhampton, having been a student there when it was the Polytechnic. What I learned then played a really important role in my transition from reptile enthusiast to reptile scientist.  And the most important thing is that my life experiences enable me to give back to and encourage the next generation of zoologists and herpetologists.”

In 2000 he received one of eight Millennium Awards for ‘services to exploration in zoology’ from the Explorer’s Club of New York.

Mark has recently published The Book of Snakes, a guide to six hundred species around the world. He has donated a copy of this book to the University Library. He is also speaking at forthcoming free public events being held at University of Wolverhampton in Stafford and University Centre Telford.

Stafford: 3rd October 6-8pm - Blood, Sweat and Snakebites: The making of an herpetologist 7th November 2018 6-8pm - No Fangs, No Fun: Snakebite research over three decades    5th December 2018 6-8pm - Minutes to Die (film) followed by Question and Answer session.

Telford: 4th October 6-8pm - Blood, Sweat and Snakebites: The making of an herpetologist 8th November  6-8pm - No Fangs, No Fun: Snakebite research over three decades 6th December 2018 6-8pm - Minutes to Die (film) followed by Question and Answer session.

ENDS

Share this release