Aldemaro (Al) Romero was born in Caracas, Venezuela, on September 11th, 1951. His father was the famous musician Aldemaro Romero (Sr.), known for his vast range of productivity as a composer, arranger, conductor, and performer of many different types of music, from popular to academic. Aldemaro Romero Jr., obtained his bachelor’s degree in Biology (Zoology emphasis) from the University of Barcelona, Spain, where he met his wife, Ana, also a biologist by training. He paid his way through college working as a science writer and broadcast producer. He wrote the weekly science page of a local Spanish newspaper (El Noticiero Universal) as well as numerous popular articles in many other publications. He also wrote, produced, hosted, and directed hundreds of radio shows for two radio stations: Radio Nacional de España and Radio Peninsular. He also produced short documentaries about science that were broadcasted by the Spanish TV network Televisión Española. For this work he received the 1974 the Feijoo Prize, the Spanish Science Journalism Award, awarded by the Spanish Association for Advancement of Science. Al Romero working as a science writer while an undergraduate at the University of Barcelona, Spain As an undergraduate, Romero also did some research work first as a coordinator of the hydrozoology lab at the Museum of Zoology of Barcelona where he worked on marine bioacoustics and later at the Geology Museum of the Seminario Conciliar of Barcelona. His work included describing a number of fossils of horseshoe crabs and enigmatic invertebrates which later happened to be representatives of a new subphylum today extinct. After graduating from the University of Barcelona in 1977 Dr. Romero continued his work as a science writer in both Spain and Venezuela and, in 1981, began his career as a graduate student in the Department of Biology at the University of Miami, Florida, where he worked on evolutionary biology of cave fishes. He carried out both field work in Costa Rica and Mexico and lab work at the University of Miami. He completed his Ph.D. in 1984 with each chapter of his dissertation being a peer-reviewed article. Between 1985 and 1986 Dr. Romero worked as a Venezuela Program Director of The Nature Conservancy in Washington, D.C., and in 1986 founded BIOMA, The Venezuelan Foundation for the Conservation of Biodiversity with headquarters in Caracas, Venezuela. As a Executive Director and CEO of that organization he developed a number of land-conservation programs, biodiversity databases, fundraising activities, and outreach programs while writing extensively on environmental issues, including a textbook on environmental sciences which he co-authored with his wife, Ana. During one of his field studies he, together with his colleague Ignacio Agudo, discovered that dolphins were being killed to use their meat as shark bait. In 1994 this news was carried out in the international media including CNN after which he received death threats. He fled with his family to the U.S. and shortly after was accused by the Venezuelan government of “treason to the motherland” for denouncing the killing of dolphins. Back in the U.S. he resumed his academic career by simultaneously teaching at the University of Miami and Miami-Dade Community College and later at Florida Atlantic University, while publishing several peer-reviewed papers on cave fishes and marine mammals. From 1998 until 2003 he was Associate Professor and Director of the Environmental Studies Program, at Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota, where he continued his teaching and research work in the areas of cave fish behavior and environmental history of marine mammals in the Caribbean while revamping the Environmental Studies Program by creating new courses and emphasizing the interdisciplinary nature of that area of knowledge. Al Romero (center) with Macalester College students and other collaborators doing cave fish research in Trinidad, W.I. From 2003 until 2009, Dr. Romero was Chair and Professor of the Department of Biological Sciences at Arkansas State University (ASU) where he developed a number of new initiatives that increased grant money and the number of publications in his department by approximately 600%. He also created a host of new courses in the areas of biospeleology, marine mammals, history and philosophy of science, science in the cinema, and science communication. Dr. Romero also developed an intense outreach program: he edited and also wrote many articles for the weekly and nationally syndicated column in the local newspaper, The Jonesboro Sun. He was also the producer of the weekly radio show “Science in the Natural State”, as well as of numerous TV documentaries. By the time he left ASU more than 200 articles and 170 radio scripts had been produced. Together with Dr. John Pratte, Associate Dean for Research and External Engagement at ASU, Romero developed the idea of the “Science Flicks,” a public series of science-based movies that included panelists and later became a course. Al Romero conducting a necropsy of a sea otter in his marine mammal laboratory class at ASU Together with Dr. Joy Trauth he edited the book “Adventures in the Wild: Tales from Biologists from The Natural State” published by Arkansas University Press, which presented the field and lab experiences of the Biology faculty at ASU. He also wrote two of chapters for that book narrating his life-threatening experiences as a field biologist. During his tenure as Chair at ASU, Dr. Romero distinguished himself as a successful fundraiser that allowed his department to improve the infrastructure of several of teaching labs and to be engaged in a number of outreach initiatives such as “The Hall of Science” exhibit carried out in conjunction with the Department of Chemistry and Physics. He also was the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Integrative Biosciences, a peer-reviewed, open access electronic journal published by Arkansas State. Dr. Romero donated to the Ellis Library of ASU his 16,000-document collection on environmental issues in Latin America. This is a unique set of publications that provides researchers around the world with exceptional and extremely difficult to find materials about the state of the environment south to the U.S. border. In 2009, Romero accepted the position of Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (SIUE). Al Romero's Socratic Oath as Dean Al Romero during the 2012 Fall Commencement ceremony at SIUE Throughout his career Dr. Romero has published more than 680 pieces including numerous books, peer- reviewed publications and monographs on a wide variety of subjects including cave biology, marine mammals, paleontology, environmental studies, and history and philosophy of science. He has produced, written and, in many cases directed and hosted, about 1500 radio and 50 TV shows, including some award-winning nature documentaries. Al Romero's CV Al Romero's List of Publications His wife Ana is an Instructor of Spanish in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature at SIUE. They have two daughters: Jessica who is an attorney in Chicago and Andrea a Ph.D. student in Biology at the University of Kansas.
E-mail: Al Romero