Samuel M. McGinnis is professor emeritus of biology at California State University, East Bay. After receiving a degree in zoology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, he migrated west to work with Robert C. Stebbins on his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley. While there, he pioneered the use of miniature radio transmitters to study temperature regulation and behavior in a variety of lizard, snake, and turtle species in their natural habitats. In addition to his university teaching, he has served as a consultant on endangered and threatened amphibian and reptile species for a variety of state and federal agencies. In addition to numerous scientific papers and technical reports, he wrote Freshwater Fishes of California and co-authored A Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of California with Robert C. Stebbins.