- Senior Sustainability Scholar, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability
- Professor, Mathematics and Natural Sciences, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
- Affiliated Faculty, Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability
Sullivan has spent 40 years investigating the behavior, ecology and evolution of amphibians and reptiles of the Sonoran Desert. He is a leading herpetologist in the Southwest with active research projects designed to increase our understanding the distribution and abundance of amphibians and reptiles in landscapes ranging from urban parks and preserves to absolutely pristine desert areas. As a natural historian, Sullivan has been gathering data in Arizona since 1970, recorded in highly detailed daily field notes, a practice he learned from his first mentor, one of the most famous naturalists of the western US, R. C. Stebbins at Cal. Sullivan’s field notes, with entries from the late 1960s through today, comprises thousands of pages of detailed information on various species, photographs of habitat, combined with information gleaned from dozens of his former undergraduate and graduate students, and current and past colleagues. Over the past five years, as a result of the massive data set accumulated over the previous four decades, Sullivan’s collaborators have provided the opportunity to formulate dozens of contributions that allow us to understand the evolutionary relationships among treefrogs, various toads, whiptailed lizards, and even the venomous Gila monster. Sullivan has been called upon to summarize the influence of cattle grazing on plant and animal communities of Arizona, and characterize how human mediated change has allowed some herps to increase in abundance while other close relatives have declined. When the solar industry proposed to simply move federally protected desert tortoises from harm’s way in southern California, it was Sullivan’s original research, and recent review that was cited as the reason the practice was re-evaluated. He has been called upon to advise urban planners as the structure of future Phoenix area parks and preserves—to suggest how designs might better encompass all the habitats required to conserve the greatest diversity and abundance of herp species in the coming years. It is by these contributions that Sullivan’s work as a natural historian with special interest in reptiles and amphibians has brought much needed attention to these little known organisms, and with continued effort, will lead to their conservation.
- PhD, Arizona State University, 1983
- BA, University of California-Berkeley, 1979
Chafin, T., B. K. Sullivan, M. R. Douglas, J. W. Walker, J. E. Cordes, M. A. Davis, W. J. Anthonysamy and M. E. Douglas. Conservation and management of polytypic species: the tiger whiptail complex (Aspidoscelis tigris). Copiea
Sullivan, B. K. and T. Cahill. Seasonal timing of caliche consumption in Sonoran desert tortoise (Gopherus morafkai. Chelonian Conservation and Biology
Wooten, J., B. K. Sullivan, M. R. Klooster, T. D. Schwaner, K. O. Sullivan, A. D. Brown and M. Takahashi. 2019. Thirty years of hybridization between toads along the Agua Fria River in Arizona: II. Fine-scale assessment of genetic changes over time using microsatellites. Journal of Herpetology 53(2):104-114. DOI: 10.1670/18-101. (link )
Wooten, J., M. R. Klooster, A. D. Brown, P. R. Bradford, T. D. Schwaner and B. K. Sullivan. 2018. Characterization of eight microsatellites markers for use in studies of genetic diversity and hybridization in Bufo microscaphus and Bufo woodhousii (Anura: Bufonidae) in Arizona, USA. Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science 47(2):45-53. DOI: 10.2181/036.047.0204. (link )
Sullivan, B. K., D. J. Leavitt and K. O. Sullivan. 2017. Snake communities on the urban fringe in the Sonoran Desert: influences on species richness and abundance. Urban Ecosystems 20(1):199-206. DOI: 10.1007/s11252-016-0577-6. (link )
Sullivan, B. K. and S. Weinstein. 2017. Foraging and prey-handling in the western patchnosed snake (Salvadora hexalepis), and consideration of venom use in non-front-fanged colubroid snakes. Herpetological Review 48(1):21-27.
Sullivan, B. K., A. K. Owens, K. O. Sullivan and E. A. Sullivan. 2016. Spatial ecology of Sonoran Desert tortoises (Gopherus morafkai): I. fidelity in home range, refuge use, and foraging behavior. Journal of Herpetology 50(4):509-520. DOI: 10.1670/15-148. (link )
Ackley, J. W., M. J. Angilletta Jr., D. DeNardo, B. K. Sullivan and J. Wu. 2015. Urban heat island mitigation strategies and lizard thermal ecology: Landscaping can quadruple potential activity time in an arid city. Urban Ecosystems DOI: 10.1007/s11252-015-0460-x. (link )
Ackley, J. W., J. Wu, M. J. Angilletta, S. W. Myint and B. K. Sullivan. 2015. Rich lizards: How affluence and land cover influence the diversity and abundance of desert reptiles persisting in an urban landscape. Biological Conservation 182:87-92. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2014.11.009. (link )
Goldberg, S. R., C. R. Bursey, K. O. Sullivan, R. W. Bowker and B. K. Sullivan. 2015. Old World nematodes in the ocellated skink, Chalcides ocellatus (Squamata: Scincidae) now established in Mesa, Maricopa County, Arizona, U.S.A. Comparative Physiology 82(2):304-305. DOI: 10.1654/4768.1. (link )
Sullivan, B. K., E. M. Nowak and M. A. Kwiatkowski. 2015. Problems with mitigation translocation of herpetofauna. Conservation Biology 29(1):12-18. DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12336 . (link )
Sullivan, B. K., J. Wooten, T. D. Schwaner, K. O. Sullivan and M. Takahashi. 2015. Thirty years of hybridization between toads along the Agua Fria River in Arizona: I. Evidence from morphology and mtDNA. Journal of Herpetology 49(1):150-156. DOI: 10.1670/14-011. (link )
Walker, J. M., J. E. Cordes, G. J. Manning and B. K. Sullivan. 2015. Aspidoscelis tigris septentrionalis (Burger 1950), plateau tiger whiptail, in the western United States: Individual, ontogenetic, and geographic variation in color pattern. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 10(3):935-947. (link )
Sullivan, B. K., R. Averill-Murray, K. O. Sullivan, J. R. Sullivan, E. A. Sullivan and J. D. Riedle. 2014. Winter activity of Sonoran desert tortoise (Gopherus morafkai) in central Arizona. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 13(1):114-119. DOI: 10.2744/CCB-1056.1. (link )
Sullivan, B. K., M. R. Douglas, J. M. Walker, J. E. Cordes, M. A. Davis, W. J. Anthonysamy, K. O. Sullivan and M. E. Douglas. 2014. Conservation and management of polytypic species: The little striped whiptail complex (Aspidoscelis inornata) as a case study. Copeia 2014(3):519-529. DOI: 10.1643/CG-13-140. (link )
Sullivan, B. K., E. M. Nowak and M. A. Kwiatkowski. 2014. Problems with mitigation translocation of herpetofauna. Conservation Biology 29(1):12-18. DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12336. (link )
Sullivan, B. K., K. O. Sullivan, D. Vardukyan and T. Suminski. 2014. Persistence of horned lizards (Phrynosoma spp.) in urban preserves of central Arizona. Urban Ecosystems 17(3):707-717. DOI: 10.1007/s11252-014-0353-4. (link )
Sullivan, B. K., D. Vardukyan and K. O. Sullivan. 2014. Historic and current composition of lizard communities in urban preserves of central Arizona, USA. Urban Naturalist 2014(2):1-18. (link )
Walker, J. W. and B. K. Sullivan. 2014. Ontogeny of color pattern in Aspidoscelis tigris punctilinealis (Dickerson), Sonoran tiger whiptail, in central Arizona. Herpetological Review 45(3):398-401.
Loughran, C. L., E. M. Nowak, J. Schofer, K. O. Sullivan and B. K. Sullivan. 2013. Lagopmorphs as prey of western diamond-backed rattlesnakes (Crotalus atrox in Arizona. The Southwestern Naturalist 58(4):502-505. DOI: 10.1894/0038-4909-58.4.502. (link )
Sullivan, B. K., J. M. Walker, H. L. Taylor, J. E. Cordes, M. A. Kwiatkowski, K. O. Sullivan, J. R. Sullivan, M. R. Douglas and M. E. Douglas. 2013. Morphological diagnosability of Aspidoscelis arizonae (Squamata: Teiidae) as an indication of evolutionary divergence in the Aspidoscelis ornata complex. Copeia 2013(3):366-377. (link )
Gunn, J., R. W. Bowker, K. O. Sullivan and B. K. Sullivan. 2012. An Old World skink, Chalcides ocellatus, with a long history of anthropogenically assisted dispersal, now established in Mesa, Arizona, USA. Herpetological Review 43(4):551-553.
Sullivan, B. K. and K. O. Sullivan. 2012. Common chuckwalla (Sauromalus ater) in an urban preserve: Persistence of a small population and estimation of longevity. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 7(3):437-441. (link )
Walker, J. M., B. K. Sullivan, K. O. Sullivan, M. R. Douglas and M. E. Douglas. 2012. Evolutionary, ecological, and morphological distinctiveness of an endemic Arizona lizard, Pai striped whiptail (Aspidoscelis pai). Herpetological Conservation and Biology 7(3):265-275. (link )
Ackley, J. W., J. Wu, B. K. Sullivan, M. J. Angilletta, S. W. Myint and D. DeNardo. 2015. Rich lizards: How affluence and land cover influence the diversity and abundance of desert reptiles persisting in an urban landscape. Poster presented at the Seventeenth Annual CAP LTER All Scientists Meeting and Poster Symposium, 16 January 2015, Skysong, Scottsdale, AZ. (link )
Ackley, J. W., J. Wu, M. J. Angilletta, D. DeNardo and B. K. Sullivan. 2013. Heat islands, landscaping, and the thermal ecology of urban lizards. Poster presented at the Sustainable Pathways: Learning from the Past and Shaping the Future, 98th Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, 4-9 August 2013, Minneapolis, Minnesota. (link )
Ackley, J. W., J. Wu, D. DeNardo, M. J. Angilletta, S. W. Myint and B. K. Sullivan. 2013. Heat islands, backyard landscaping, and the thermal ecology of urban lizards. Poster presented at the 11 January 2013, 15th Annual CAP LTER Poster Symposium and All Scientist Meeting 2013, Skysong, Scottsdale, AZ. (link )