Brian Keith Lang, 59, of Bernalillo, New Mexico passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, March 1, 2017.
He was born January 29, 1958 to parents Irvin and Norma Lang of New Albany, Indiana. Brian had a deep passion for biology and zoology from an early age by collecting rocks, fossils, snakes and insects and spent much of his youth exploring the woods and stream life of a neighborhood city park. One prized possession was a perfectly fossilized trilobite that he found at summer scout camp. His extensive international travels took him to the Galapagos Island, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, western Europe and Alaska.
Brian received his undergraduate biology degree from Ball State University and a Master's degree in Wildlife Management from Frostburg State University in Maryland. Upon graduation he spent several years as a Research Coordinator studying marsupial mammals in the mountains of Chile and contributed reference samples to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois. During this Chilean field work he became fluent in oral and written Spanish. His next career path leads him to Rhode Island where he served as a Senior Wetlands Biologist performing environmental reviews of sensitive areas.
His natural affinity for the outdoors continued in New Mexico where he served as a Research Assistant for the University of New Mexico Museum of Southwestern Biology, evaluating native fishes in the Pecos and Rio Grande drainages. His 20 plus year career with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish began in 1992 with the Endangered Fishes Program as a Field Technician studying native fishes in the Pecos River system. He served as a Wildlife Zoologist for approximately ten years specializing in the stewardship of 27 listed terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates. This work included captive propagation and husbandry programs for the Socorro isopod and Texas hornshell mussel. One of his many career accomplishments in this position was the discovery of a new species of land snail in New Mexico. Brian was a highly published scientist and scholar with approximately 30 peer reviewed authored or co-authored journal articles. He provided peer review for a variety of fellow researchers. Brian was instrumental in the creation of New Mexico's Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan and passage of the Aquatic Species Control Act in 2008-9. Brian was a key player in the creation of a statewide Aquatic Invasive Species program in New Mexico. He served as an Adjunct Curator for the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science from 2001-2014.
Brian was a very talented and skilled soccer player. His senior year high school team won the Indiana State Championship and he received the tournament MVP. At Ball State University he lettered four years on the varsity soccer team and was team co-captain. His favorite international team was Brazil. He loved to nutmeg other players.
Brian was deeply loved by his family, friends, neighbors and scientific co-workers. He is survived by his daughter Angelita Rodrigues (Houston, TX); his former wife Julie McGaharan (Bernalillo, NM); siblings Linda Breeding (New Albany, IN) and Randy Lang (Zionsville, IN). Brian is also survived by three nieces (Shannon Breeding, Cari Lepping, and Katelin Lang) and one nephew (Nathan Lang). He is preceded in death by his parents and all grandparents.
A memorial service is planned for Brian in New Albany, Indiana and Bernalillo, New Mexico at undetermined future date following his cremation. Friends and family are encouraged to share their stories and appreciation for Brian. His memorial service arrangements will be posted at a later date.
Published on March 10, 2017