ANURANS: tailless amphibians- frogs and toads


NATURAL HISTORY: the study and description of organisms and natural objects, especially their origins, evolution, and interrelationships


ZOOGEOGRAPHY: the biological study of the geographic distribution of animals, especially the causes and effects of such distribution

Julian Kenny (27th Jan 1930 - 9th Aug 2011)

Caribbean Icons in STI Vol 1

Professor Julian Kenny was a zoologist and expert on the natural history of the Caribbean. He lectured at the University of the West Indies (UWI) for 29 years and led research on the ecology of the savannas, wetlands, cave systems, marine systems, and coral reefs of Trinidad and Tobago. He has helped to protect sensitive ecosystems, manage fish stocks, and create a National Trust in his homeland.

Julian Stanley Kenny was born in Woodbrook, Trinidad on January 27th 1930. He attended Belmont Intermediate School and St. Mary’s College. He completed Grade 13 in Canada and pursued a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Toronto. After graduating in 1951, he worked at a fisheries laboratory in Toronto and this experience stimulated his interest in fisheries research.

On his return to Trinidad, he worked as a Scientific Officer at the forerunner of the Fisheries Division. During his 9 years there, he helped to build the flying fish industry in Tobago and developed systems to evaluate fish catch and to identify registered fishing vessels. He later obtained his doctorate from Birkbeck College, London (1963).

At the Zoology Department, UWI St. Augustine, Kenny lectured in all aspects of zoology , but was best known for his interest in ecology and specifically zoogeography. He researched the distribution of freshwater fish species in Trinidad and Tobago and added vital information on anuran species.

He supervised postgraduate research on many local ecosystems, notably the Tamana Caves, the Caroni Swamp, and the Aripo Savannas.

Due to his vast expertise, he was called to serve on many national committees. He was an Advisor to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Law of the Sea Convention; Chairman of the Board of the Institute of Marine Affairs; member of the Cabinet appointed Committee with responsibility for drafting National Park legislation; and an Independent Senator in the Senate of Trinidad and Tobago.

An underwater diver and nature photographer, Kenny has extensively photographed native wildlife, coral reefs, and natural landscapes. He authored several books that feature these photographs, including “Views from the Ridge” and “The Native Orchids of the Eastern Caribbean”.

He has donated his vast collection of photographs and scientific publications to the National Library Information System (NALIS) of Trinidad and Tobago. He served as the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Guardian Life Wildlife Trust, which supports environmental education and protection. He died August 9, 2011.