Siddhesh Joshi

Michael J Tyler

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Name  Michael Tyler

Books  Field Guide to the Frogs of, Australian Frogs: A Natural H, It's True! Frogs Are Cannibal, The Reaper, Field Guide to Frogs of Western

Professor Michael J. Tyler (born 1937) generally known as "Mike Tyler", dubbed "The Frog Man", was a South Australian academic, noted for his research on frogs and toads, chiefly with the University of Adelaide.



Mike was born in Britain, and early developed an interest in herpetology. While working as a volunteer at the British Museum, he was advised to go to Australia and Papua New Guinea if he wanted to do any ground-breaking research on amphibians. Around 1958–1959 he hitch-hiked to Australia.

He joined the University of Adelaide staff as a laboratory technician in 1961, studying and researching part-time, and by 1971 had been promoted to Laboratory Manager, Department of Human Physiology and Pharmacology. In 1974 he qualified M.Sc., and in 1975 won a position as Lecturer, Department of Zoology. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1979, and was appointed Associate Professor of Zoology in 1984. In 2002 he was awarded D.Sc. and appointed Visiting Research Fellow.

His research into amphibians both in Australia and overseas has been continuous and extensive, with support from organisations as diverse as the South Australian Museum (in 1965, his first overseas travel grant), the Mark Mitchell Foundation, Rotary International, Australian Geographic magazine, Hamilton Laboratories, Australian National University, Mount Isa Mines and the World Wildlife Fund. Apart from descriptive, habitat, behaviour, identification and taxonomic work, which includes identification of new species, his research has investigated novel chemicals which have found, or may find, pharmaceutical and industrial uses such as fluid balance medications, sunscreens and adhesives. He has investigated frog populations as an indicator of environmental health of aquatic systems and frog mutations as an indicator of pollution. He is one of many who have worked on Australia's Cane toad (previously Bufo marinus, now Rhinella marina) pest problem.

He has been prominent in research into the world-wide phenomenon of disappearance of frogs, even entire species, notably in Australia the two species of gastric-brooding frog (Rheobatrachus vitellinus and Rheobatrachus silus), which were declared extinct shortly after their discovery). He has been in the forefront of research into Australia's fossil frog record.

He has been very public in the promotion of frogs as pets, as sources of potentially useful substances, and as an indicator of environmental quality, arguing that a species useful to humans will necessarily be protected. He has been involved in a variety of nature documentaries, notably Nature of Australia (1988), ABC Natural History Unit in association with the BBC and WNET, broadcast within their Nature series, and David Attenborough's Life on Earth series (1979).

He was a longtime member of the board of the South Australian Museum and its Chairman 1982-1992. He has been president of the Royal Zoological Society of South Australia.


  • Royal Society of South Australia - Verco Medal 1980
  • Field Naturalists Club of Victoria - Australian Natural History Medallion 1980
  • Elected Fellow, Australian Institute of Biology 1988
  • City of Adelaide Citizen of the Year, Australia Day 1993
  • Order of Australia 1995 "for service to zoology, particularly through the research and conservation of Australian amphibians"
  • Michael Daley Eureka Prize for Science Communication 1997
  • Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science 1998
  • Riversleigh Society - Riversleigh Medal 1998 "for contributions to Australian Palaeontology)"
  • Ig Nobel Prize 2005 for research into frog odours
  • References

    Michael J. Tyler Wikipedia

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