University of Central Florida zoologist William Crampton loves electric fish and that’s made him one of the world’s experts when it comes to these creatures.
At 8 p.m. Friday the world will get to know Crampton as he guides National Geographic Channel’s “Monster Fish” show host Zeb Hogan on a trip to the Amazon River in Brazil in search of electric eels.
The episode, called Amazon Shocker focuses on the power of electric eels – which are closely related to catfish. Adult eels can discharge more than 500 volts.
National Geographic describes the episode as follows:
“Dr. Zeb Hogan travels to the Brazilian Amazon to determine whether the shock of an electric eel is proportionate to the fish’s size. They’re capable of delivering a shock five times more powerful than a standard U.S. socket, making this mission particularly dangerous. Armed with local guides, high-tech electricity detectors and, of course, rubber protective pants and gloves, Zeb carefully navigates the Amazon’s black waterways where electric eels and the dreaded piranha and anaconda all reside.”
Crampton is an associate professor at UCF and conducts research in South America. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and worked as an assistant scientist at the Florida Museum of Natural History before joining UCF in 2006.
With funding from the National Science Foundation, he has conducted many expeditions in search of electric fish in South America – including Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Suriname and Uruguay. This month he leaves for Peru for another expedition. Crampton is interested in the evolution and biodiversity of electric fish and the conservation of the fragile tropical habitats in which they live.
He is no stranger to television audiences, having been involved with several other natural history film productions, including for National Geographic, The Discovery Channel, the BBC, the Smithsonian Institution and the Japanese company NHK.