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Having trained as a biomedical engineer at Kings College, London and the University of Sussex, Rohan Pethiyagoda (1955-) turned his attention to biodiversity exploration in his native Sri Lanka. His subsequent work led to the discovery of more than 150 new species endemic to the island, ranging from freshwater crabs and fishes, through amphibians, reptiles and mammals. He has worked to varying degrees on the taxonomy of all these groups and published four books and some 70 research papers on biodiversity, systematics, nomenclature and the history of natural history. He has served as an advisor on the environment to the government of Sri Lanka, and also as Deputy Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission and the Assurance Group of the British American Tobacco Biodiversity Partnership, in addition to numerous specialist groups of the IUCN. His foundation, the Wildlife Heritage Trust, has been Sri Lanka’s premier environmental publisher and supports numerous conservation projects in the island. He is presently based at the Australian Museum in Sydney and serves also as subject editor for Asian freshwater fishes for Zootaxa. His work as been recognized by the Rolex Awards for Enterprise.