Emmons, Louise H. (Active)
United States National Museum of Natural History
Mammalian Behavior & Ecology
Louise was born on August 23, 1943, in Montevideo, Uruguay, the daughter of a career U.S. Foreign Service Diplomat. She lived abroad most of her childhood, when her father was posted to Spain, Australia, Ireland, and Malaysia before she returned to the United States to finish high school in Vermont. An inspiring high school biology teacher fostered Louise’s early passion for science and nature and helped arrange a summer job working for a researcher at Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, where her scientific career began. Louise attended Sarah Lawrence College and graduated in 1965. After college she worked for three years as a laboratory technician at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, before entering graduate school in the department of neurobiology and behavior at Cornell University. As a graduate student she spent 25 months in Gabon doing field work for her thesis on squirrels. After obtaining her PhD degree in 1975, she was awarded a one-year position as chercheur associate with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France, and spent another six months in Gabon and six months in Paris. Following a brief stint at Pennsylvania State University in 1981, she acquired a research associateship and a desk in the Division of Mammals at the Smithsonian Institution. From this position she worked on tropical rainforest mammals in many countries and regions (Neotropics, Borneo, Gabon), and produced over 80 publications. Her best known work is Neotropical Rainforest Mammals: A Field Guide published in 1990. From 1989 to 1997 she was the mammalogist for Conservation International’s Rapid Assessment Program. The purpose of the Program was to provide countries with biological information on which to base conservation decisions about poorly known regions. As part of this program she went on 12 expeditions and taught in two field courses. Louise was elected to the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 1995.