Our Staff

Robert T. Zappalort, Executive Director

Robert T. Zappalorti founded Herpetological Associates, Inc. (HA) in the spring of 1977. The firm specializes in the conservation and ecology of threatened and en­dangered amphibians and reptiles. Robert has conducted extensive scientific research on the bog turtle, wood turtle, red­belly turtle, timber rattlesnake, corn snake, pine snake, blue-spotted salamander, tiger salamander, southern gray treefrog, Pine Barrens treefrog, and many other species. He specializes in conservation and mitigation plans and was the first herpetologist to build artificial hibernacula for snakes and other wildlife in natural habitat areas. Robert has also conducted wildlife inventories, intensive herpetologi­cal studies, and presence or absence surveys for a variety of clients.

He has served as an expert witness and pro­vided testimony in State and County Courthouses and before numerous Township Planning Boards. Robert is a published author of many books, scientific papers, and arti­cles on herpetology. He is also an accomplished wildlife photographer, with photo credits in numerous books and magazines, including National Geographic Magazine. He has served as the official herpetological consultant to the Endangered and Nongame Species Program, Division of Fish and Wildlife, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the Division of Coastal Resources (CAFRA), the New Jersey Pinelands Commission, The Trust for Public Land, and The Nature Conservancy. Prior to starting HA, he was Associate Curator of Herpetology and Education at the Staten Island Zoological Society in New York between 1974 to1977. Robert also was a Reptile Keeper at the Staten Island Zoological Society between 1964 and 1974, and worked under the late Carl F. Kauffeld.

Michael E. Torroco, Pennsylvania Regional Manager

Michael E. Torroco is a herpetologist specializing in field surveys for Penn­sylvania’s endangered and threatened herpetofauna and works extensively with the federally threatened bog turtle. He is recognized as a qualified bog turtle surveyor in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. Also an expert in the ecology of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, Michael has assis­ted in original research on the timber rattlesnake, pine snake, corn snake, and Pine Barrens treefrog. This research has included presence or absence surveys, radiotelemetry, habitat analysis, and nesting studies. His interest in the ecology of reptiles and amphibians has led Michael to assist in inter­na­tional research on the Aruba Island rattlesnake and montane Mexican her­petofauna. Mr. Torocco received a Bachelor of Science de­gree in Natural Resource Management from Rutgers University and a Master of Science degree in Biology from Sul Ross State University. He has been with Herpe­tological Associates since 1994.

Quillyn “Quill” Bickley,
Pennsylvania Assistant Regional Manager

Quill Bickley is a graduate of Drexel University where she studied environ­mental science and policy. Quill has been involved with presence/absence surveys, assisting in the research of some of Pennsylvania’s threatened and endangered species, as well as habitat management practices. Interested in flora and fauna everywhere, she was drawn to herpetofauna during her time spent in Costa Rica working with the leatherback sea turtle. She began work­ing for Herpetological Associates as a seasonal field biologist in the spring of 2005 and has been with the company ever since.

David Burkett,

Herpetologist/Wildlife Biologist, New Jersey

David Burkett has been with Herpetological Associates since 2006. Based out of the New Jersey office, David participates in surveys for endangered and threatened reptiles and amphibians in the northeast United States. He has been involved in an intensive seven-year radio-telemetry study of northern pine snakes, a state-listed species, in the Pine Barrens of southern New Jer­sey. David also assists in presence or absence surveys for other state-listed species, including timber rattlesnakes, corn snakes, Pine Barrens treefrogs, and southern gray treefrogs, as well as the federally listed bog turtle. Be­sides reptiles and amphibians, David has developed a deep interest in birds and spends much of his spare time photographing the bird diversity of New Jersey. David Burkett studied Wildlife Science and Recreation and Park Management at Pennsylvania State University.

William “Bill” Callaghan,

Field Technician and Herpetologist

William Callahan is our key field herpetologist/biologist and has been with HA for the past 25 years. He has assisted with research on the gopher tor­toise, bog turtle, wood turtle, timber rattlesnake, northern pine snake, corn snake, and indigo snake. He has assisted with numerous endangered and threatened reptile and amphibian surveys in New Jersey, New York, Pennsyl­vania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland and Florida. In 2002 Bill retired from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Fish and Wildlife, after 20 years of service. He now divides his time, six months each year, between New Jersey and Florida. In the spring and summer months he is available for work on projects in the northeast such as bog turtle surveys and drift fence monitoring projects. In the winter he works on gopher tortoise and indigo snake projects in Florida.

Raymond Farrell,
New York Regional Manager

Raymond Farrell is a herpetologist and turtle ecologist. He has worked for Herpetological Associates for over twenty-five years. Ray’s specialty is with the ecology of endangered and threatened turtles of the Northeast, and is recognized as a qualified bog turtle surveyor in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. He has assisted with research on the bog turtle, wood turtle, timber rattlesnake, pine snake, and corn snake. Radiotelemetry and moni­toring snake movements, plotting animal locations with GPS, presence or ab­sence surveys, and habitat analysis were included as part of these pro­jects. Ray graduated from the American Institute of Banking and majored in Ac­counting and Finance at Pace University.

Ted Gordon,
Senior Staff Botanist

A graduate of Rutgers University and a past president of the Philadelphia Bo­tanical Society (1988–2000), Ted Gordon is a leading authority on the habitats and flora of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Ted is a research spe­cialist in rare and endangered plant species with more than 35 years exper­ience in botani­cal studies, including contributions to major plant studies of endangered spe­cies in the Pinelands. Equally competent in the vegetation of the entire state and the northeastern United States, Ted primarily conducts rare species sur­veys and research, monitors habitats, and designs manage­ment plans for the conservation and enhancement of rare plants. He has experience in testifying as a botanical expert in court and at administrative hearings. Since 1990, Ted has been an instructor in the Rutgers University Short Course, teaching wetland plant species identification to professional consul­tants. After chairing the Forestry Advisory Committee of the Pinelands Commission for ten years, Ted served as a Pine­lands Commissioner from 1999 to 2002. He has been with HA since May 1994.

Dave W. Schneider,
New Jersey Regional Manager

Working out of the New Jersey office, David W. Schneider conducts surveys and oversees various tasks dealing with the study of endangered and threat­ened reptiles and amphibians in the northeast and southeastern United States. David has 30 years experience with New Jersey Pine Barrens species and is an expert in the ecology of this region. David is also recognized as a qualified bog turtle surveyor by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in New Jersey. David has been employed by Herpetological Associates, Inc. since 2000, and has earned an Associate of Science degree in Biology from Burling­ton County College and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Richard Stockton College.

Robert Zappalorti Jr,

Assistant Field and Office Technician

Robert Jr assists with the study and conservation of threatened and endan­gered reptile and amphibian species in New York and New Jersey. This in­cludes environmental monitoring and habitat evaluations, herpetological surveys and monitoring reptile and amphibian populations. He conducts pres­ence or absence surveys for State and Federal Threatened and Endan­gered reptiles and amphibians, including Bog and Wood Turtle surveys, Tim­ber Rat­tlesnake, Corn and Pine Snake surveys. He also assists with assess­ments of development projects and mitigation plans. This work has included erecting drift fences and building and installing snake traps. In HA’s office, he maintains telecommunication and computer equipment and manages voice and data cable systems within HA’s network.