Mission Statement


ASIH Programs
Annual Meetings
Special Publications
Graduate Student Grant Funds
Helen T. and F. M. Gaige Fund
Edward C. and Charlotte F. Raney Fund
Student Awards
Frederick H. Stoye Awards
Tracy I. Storer Awards
Honorary Foreign Members
Distinguished Fellows
Robert H. Gibbs, Jr. Award
Areas of Special Concern
Goals for Century 21
Grant Programs
International Cooperation and Scientific Exchange
Student Support
Award in Systematic Herpetology
Award in Conservation The General Endowment Fund


The American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists is dedicated to the scientific study of fishes, amphibians and reptiles. The primary emphases of the Society are to increase knowledge about these organisms, to disseminate that knowledge through publications, conferences, symposia, and other means, and to encourage and support young scientists who will make future advances in these fields. The programs of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists are part of a global effort to interpret, understand, and conserve the Earth's natural diversity and to contribute to the wise use of natural resources for the long-term benefit of humankind.


In 1913 John Treadwell Nichols, perceiving the need for a publication devoted to scientific papers on fishes, amphibians and reptiles, established the journal COPEIA, named in honor of one of the most distinguished American scientists of the 19th Century, Edward Drinker Cope. The first COPEIA was four pages in length and contained five short articles. It and the next 124 issues were financed by Nichols from personal funds. Slightly over two years later Nichols, Henry W. Fowler and Dwight Franklin at a meeting in New York City created the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (ASIH.) to increase communication among ichthyologists and herpetologists and to oversee editing of COPEIA. Inspired by Nichols' vision, the infant Society gradually increased in size and influence. By 1923 ASIH had a membership approaching 50, while COPEIA, then issued as 10 or 12 individual numbers per year, ran to a total of 120 pages. In 1924 ASIH assumed the responsibility for editing and publishing COPEIA to make it the official organ of the Society. From these modest beginnings ASIH has become the premier organization dedicated to the scientific study of fishes, amphibians and reptiles, and their conservation and role in the environment. Similarly COPEIA is internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious scientific journals of its kind.

Today, ASIH has a membership of 2,400 and COPEIA is issued as a quarterly containing about 1,200 pages per year. In addition, COPEIA is found in over 1,000 institutional libraries worldwide.


Currently major activities of the Society involve the following:

COPEIA - an internationally respected, widely-cited quarterly that publishes original research on fishes, amphibians and reptiles, emphasizing systematics, ecology, behavior, genetics, morphology and physiology.

ANNUAL MEETINGS - conferences bringing together scientists from throughout the world to present original research in the form of papers, posters and symposia that review broad areas of interest to the advancement of knowledge and relating to the diversity, conservation and utilization of ichthyological and herpetological resources. These meetings have been held in Canada and Costa Rica, as well as well as the United States.

SPECIAL PUBLICATIONS - results of symposia presented at the annual meetings.

GRADUATE STUDENT GRANT FUNDS - two special bequests from members of ASIH to aid young scientists in their research activities include:

Helen T. and F. M. Gaige Fund (herpetology)

Edward C. and Charlotte F. Raney Fund (ichthyology)

STUDENT AWARDS - two awards for high scholarly achievement also have been established by generous gifts:

Frederick H. Stoye Awards - for the most meritorious papers presented orally by student members at the annual meeting.

Tracy I. Storer Awards - for the best posters presented by student members at the annual meeting.

HONORARY FOREIGN MEMBERS - recognition of eminent distinction in research bestowed upon ichthyologists and herpetologists who are located outside Canada, Mexico and the United States.

DISTINGUISHED FELLOWS - members of ASIH who have attained special distinction as investigators and/or have made noteworthy contributions to the Society.

ROBERT H. GIBBS, Jr. AWARD - A prize given in recognition of an outstanding body of published work in systematic ichthyology by a citizen of the Western Hemisphere. Recipients include: Bruce B. Collette, John E. Randall, Stanley H. Weitzman, J. Gareth Nelson and Victor G. Springer.

AREAS OF SPECIAL CONCERN - ASIH has an active volunteer committee program that focuses on issues of special concern for science and society as they relate to knowledge of ichthyology and herpetology in a number of areas including: 1) Animal Welfare, 2) Biodiversity and Conservation, 3) Environmental Quality, 4) Nomenclature, 5) Scientific and Public Education, and 6) Scientific Research Collections, Resources and Practices.


During its first 79 years of existence, ASIH has established an enviable reputation as a scientific society through its publications, meetings, encouragement of international and young scientists and responsiveness to biological diversity issues. During the next decade ASIH plans to build on these successes more fully to interpret, understand and conserve the diversity of life on our planet for the consequent benefit of humanity. In order to do so, ASIH has launched an ambitious campaign to increase the Society's endowment fund to enhance or initiate expanded efforts in the following areas:

Symposia - provide funding for symposia that include international scholars on the frontiers of research in ichthyology and herpetology and on the conservation of fishes, amphibians and reptiles.


Grant Programs

International Cooperation and Scientific Exchange Student Support - increase funding for support of travel to the annual meeting by students giving papers or posters.

Award in Systematic Herpetology - establish a fund parallel to the Robert H. Gibbs, Jr. Award in ichthyology to be named in honor of the donor.

Award in Conservation - establish a fund to honor individuals making outstanding contributions to conserving the diversity of fishes, amphibians and reptiles.


ASIH invites everyone -- scientist, student, amateur, nature lover, interested citizen, foundations and corporations -- to contribute to our better understanding of fishes, amphibians and reptiles through a financial contribution to ASIH Your support will help the Society meet the many challenges it faces in expanding our knowledge base and applying it to meet societal needs. As continuing intense human impacts threaten many species with extinction, ASIH will address the key issues of how best to protect these species and maintain them and others of scientific, economic, cultural or aesthetic value against further onslaughts.

If you have an interest in these organisms and would like to help ASIH meet these challenges, we encourage you to join us in this effort! Please contact the Secretary's Office for further information.

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Last Modified
© 2001 ASIH