Ron & Maya boyRon Caldwell is a retired biology professor having taught college for 38 years. Founder and first Director of Cumberland Mountain Research Center (CMRC) at Lincoln Memorial University, he also established the Powell River Aquatic Research Station.

The CMRC has been instrumental in promoting undergraduate research at LMU and has been awarded several grants to that end including National Science Foundation funding. The aquatic station was founded to encourage research on the Powell River and make undergraduate research opportunities and training available.

The BFREE lab was a cooperative effort between CMRC and BFREE coming out of a “what if” meeting between Ron and Jacob.

Ron taught invertebrate zoology, field botany, desert ecology and coastal ecology. Latter two involved 10-14 day excursions into the field. Hatteras to Key West and Sonoran Desert of Arizona and Mexico. Lots of learning the fun way.

His research has been mostly ecology, distribution, and status of rare animals with specialty in land snails. He worked extensively on Magazine Mountain Shagreen (Inflectarius magazinensis). Research allowed delisting of this species. This was the first invertebrate to be delisted by USFWS. The USFWS awarded Ron an Endangered Species Champion Award for 2012 in recognition of his work. He is now actively involved in post-delisting monitoring of this species.

Research at BFREE

Ron, Jessica M, Sara the great

Ron and two students

He has worked on land snails of Belize for several years with his very good friend and colleague Dan Dourson. Dan and Ron are currently putting together “Land Snails of Belize”. He also organized the first land snail training workshop in the BFREE lab with Dan. Ron’s research both in Belize and the U.S. also explores the use of micro-snails as indicators of forest health.

Contact Ron at snailsrule123@gmail.com


Dourson, D.C., Caldwell, R.S., Garcia, W. & Loukes, K. (2011). Land snails of the Maya Mountains with notes on significance to other organisms in Southern Belize (Toledo District), Central America. Mesoamericana 15(3): 31-42.

Rollins, A. W. & Caldwell, R. S. (2013). Rapid ecological assessment of land snails (Gastropoda) across a disturbance continuum in a southern Belize lowland rainforest. Brenesia, 79: 64-71.


Rollins, A.W., J.C. Landolt, R.S. Caldwell, and S.L. Stephenson. 2010. Preliminary report of dictyostelid cellular slime molds from southern Belize. Inoculum 61(4):71.

Rollins, A.W., S.L. Stephenson, and R.S. Caldwell. 2010. Myxomycetes from southern Belize. Inoculum 61(4):72.

Rollins, A.W., R.S. Caldwell, J.C. Landolt, and S.L. Stephenson. 2010. Dictyostelid cellular slime molds of southern Belize. Proceedings of the West Virginia Academy of Science 82(1).


Rollins, A.W. and R. S. Caldwell. 2009. Southern Belize and the Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education. Inoculum 60(3):57-58.


Rollins, A.W., J.C. Landolt, S.L. Stephenson, and R.S. Caldwell. (In preparation). The dictostelid cellular slime molds of southern Belize.

Rollins, A.W., S.L. Stephenson, and R.S. Caldwell. (In preparation). Myxomycetes associated with three forest types in southern Belize.


Dourson, D. and R. Caldwell. 2014. Land Snails of Belize. Part of Symposium: Terrestrial Mollusks of the Americas: Diversity and Relationships in Vanishing Habitats. Joint Meetings: Sociedad de Malacologia de Mexico and American Malacological Society. Meeting in Mexico City in the summer of 2014.



Dourson, D.C. & Caldwell, R.S. (nd) Land snails of Belize. Poster.