Robert F. Inger's association with the museum began as a volunteer for Karl P. Schmidt in the Division of Amphibians and Reptiles during the 1940s. After studying Zoology at the University of Chicago, Inger was hired by Schmidt as Assistant in the Division of Amphibians and Reptiles. He held this position until he was appointed Assistant Curator of Fishes in 1949. Inger succeeded Clifford Pope as Curator of Amphibians and Reptiles on January 1, 1954.
Early in his career Inger began to specialize in the ecology, systematics and zoogeography of the herpetofauna and ichthyofauna of Southeast Asia, especially the amphibians. Since 1950 his research has concentrated on the ecology of communities of amphibians and reptiles in Bornean forests, a project that continues to the present. Robert Inger's fieldwork began in 1950 with his first trip to Borneo. Since that trip he has returned to Borneo over sixteen times. He has also conducted fieldwork in peninsular Malaysia, Thailand, India, China, Brunei, and Zaire. A substantial part of the Division's collections consists of specimens Inger has collected. His Bornean fieldwork alone has added over 41,500 specimens. Inger's collections contain extremely large series accompanied by detailed field notes. Though Inger retired in September 1994, he continues a full-time schedule of lab and field work as Curator Emeritus.
Inger has described more than 75 species of herps, mostly frogs. Over forty species including reptiles, amphibians, fish and crustacean honor Inger by bearing the name stem "inger" in either the species or genus name. He has authored 7 books and has had 136 papers published in refereed journals.
- Biogeography of amphibians and reptiles of Southeast Asia
Areas of Field Work
Borneo 1950, 1956, 1962-63, 1970, 1984, 1986-2007
Peninsular Malaysia 1970
Curator, Division of Amphibians and Reptiles, Field Museum 1954-1970, 1979-1995
Assistant Director, Field Museum, 1971-1978
Curator Emeritus, Division of Amphibians and Reptiles 1995- present