Austin Stanley Rand (1932-2005), was a herpetologist and Senior Biologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). He was born on September 29, 1932, in Seneca Falls, New York. He received his B.A. in zoology from DePauw University in 1955, served in the U.S. Army from 1955-1957, and received his Ph.D. in Biology from Harvard University in 1961. In 1961 he married Patricia Rand, and they had three children, Hugh, Margaret and Katherine.
Rand began his scientific career in 1950, when he worked three summers as an Assistant in the Division of Amphibians and Reptiles at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois. In 1957, he worked as an Assistant in the Division of Mammals at the Field Museum. Upon completing his Ph.D., Rand served as a Research Assistant in Herpetology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ) at Harvard University from 1961-1962, and as a Zoologist for the Secretary of Agriculture in Sa Paulo, Brazil from 1962-1964. Rand first arrived at STRI in 1964 as a herpetologist. From 1973-1979, Rand also served as Coordinator of the Tropical Program of the Smithsonian's Environmental Sciences Program, coordinating research projects on marine and terrestrial monitoring. In 1974, Rand was appointed STRI's Assistant Director, with special responsibilities for the operation of the Barro Colorado Island field station, as well as budget and planning for STRI. In 1979, he was appointed Senior Biologist, a position which he held until his death. In 1988, he also became responsible for coordinating scientific activities at STRI's facilities in Gamboa, Panama. At STRI, Rand supervised graduate student and postdoctoral research, and consulted for the Panamanian government as requested.
Rand's research interests were primarily in studies of the behavior and ecology of tropical reptiles and amphibians, particularly social behavior and vocal communication in lizards (Iguana iguana and Anolis limifrons) and Tungara frogs (Physalaemus pustulosus). His major field work included a month or more in Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Jamaica, Haiti, Panama, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts, Santo Domingo, and Venezuela, as well as shorter visits elsewhere. He was a prolific producer of articles, both alone and as co-author, and both organized and participated in various symposia.
Rand was a member of various professional societies, including the American Society of Naturalists, the Society for the Study of Evolution, the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Association for Tropical Biology, Herpetologist's League, and Animal Behavior Society.