Dr. Robert H. Cowie earned his Bachelor's degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge, England. He subsequently went on to obtain a Ph.D. at the University of Liverpool, England, under the tutelage of the late Prof. Arthur J. Cain, a world-renowned evolutionary biologist and snail specialist. After obtaining his Ph.D. working on the ecology of a European land snail that has become a serious pest in other parts of the world (California, Australia), he moved to the University of London where he continued research on the ecology and evolution of European land snails. He then moved to become head of the termite ecology and control section of what was then known as the Tropical Development Research Institute (a British Government organization), traveling to many parts of Africa and Asia and undertaking research on termites, the agricultrual problems caused by them, and the means of controlling them.

In 1990 he moved to the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii, returning to research on the evolutionary biology of land snails, and responsible for the Museum's vast and unparalleled collections of Pacific mollusks. Since then he has become widely acknowledged as an expert on Pacific island snails, authoring numerous scientific publications, and becoming involved in efforts to conserve what is left of this fast disappearing but irreplaceable fauna. He is now at the Center for Conservation Research and Training at the University of Hawaii.

Rebecca J. Rundell obtained her Bachelor's degree in Biology, focusing on ecology and evolutionary biology, from Cornell University. She then worked at the Paleontological Research Institution in Ithaca, New York as a collections assistant and subsequently as assistant to the director. Since 1998 she has been a graduate student in the Zoology Department of the University of Hawaii, where she is working on the evolutionary biology of Pacific island land snails.