Herpetological Review Volume 52, Number 3 (September 2021). Our cover features the Southern Flat-tailed Gecko (Uroplatus sameiti), photographed by Jannico Kelk near Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. The charismatic gecko genus Uroplatus is endemic to Madagascar and surrounding islands, and all species contain extreme camouflage adaptations and have flattened tails. The journal has been printed and mailed. Full contents are now available online to SSAR members at https://ssarherps.org/herpetological-review-pdfs/. Natural History Notes, Geographic Distribution Notes, and Book Reviews are Open Access and are available for download at the same link. If you are not a member of SSAR, please consider joining the leading international herpetological society. Student and online-only rates available. Follow the “Join SSAR” link on the home page. Congratulations to Jannico for a great cover image!
Victor Hutchison Graduate Poster Award
The SSAR Graduate Student Poster Awards honor Victor Hutchison for his extensive contributions to herpetology and the development of future herpetologists. For the second year in a row, we held the 11th annual SSAR Victor Hutchison Student Poster competition in a novel virtual format. In 2021 we used a new platform of ePosters on 26 July. Nine students competed. This year we gave a total of two awards across categories, owing to the relatively small number of participants. The awardees received a check for US $250.
This year’s judges were Dominic DeSantis (Georgia College), Christopher Schalk (Stephen F. Austin State University), and Denita Weeks (Colorado Mesa University)
The 2021 winners of the Hutchison Graduate Poster Award are:
For Conservation, Management, Ecology, Natural History, Distribution and Behavior:
Rachel Alenius-Thalhauber (Texas Christian University), “Differential diets, growth rates, and survival of captive-bred hatchling Texas horned lizards (Phrynosoma cornutum) reintroduced at two locations in central Texas”
Click here to view a PDF of Rachel’s poster.
For Evolution, Genetics, Systematics, Physiology and Morphology:
Kyle Emerson (Duquesne University), “The effects of microbial environment and temperature on neurodevelopment in larval amphibians”
Click here to view a PDF of Kyle’s poster.
George B. Rabb Undergraduate Poster Award
SSAR’s George B. Rabb Undergraduate Poster Award is sponsored by Zoo Atlanta and honors our colleague George Rabb (1930-2017), former Director of the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, IL, and highly respected advocate and spokesman for wildlife conservation. 2021 marked the 3rd year of this competition, which was held, like 2020, in a novel virtual format owing to the coronavirus pandemic. This competition used the ePosters platform, and five students competed on 26 July 2021. The winner received a check for US $250.
This year’s judges were:
Allyson Fenwick, Chair (University of Central Oklahoma) and Ethan Royal (University of Arkansas)
The 2021 winner of the George B. Rabb Undergraduate Poster Award is:
Yucheol Shin (Nanjing Forestry University), “Distribution modeling of Onychodactylus koreanus predicts drastic decrease of suitable habitats in response to climate change”
Click here to view a PDF of Yucheol’s poster.
Seibert Award Winners for 2021
The 29th annual Seibert Awards were presented virtually at the SSAR Business Meeting held over Zoom on Aug 6th, 2021 following the 63rd Annual Meeting of the SSAR in Phoenix, AZ on July 21st – 28th, 2021. These awards are named in honor of Henri C. Seibert, an early and tireless supporter of SSAR (having served as an officer for over 20 years). Because of the unusual nature of the Annual Meeting (in-person and virtual), awards were not made in the usual categories (Physiology/Morphology, Evolution/Systematics, Ecology, and Conservation). Instead, in recognition of outstanding student presentations at the annual meeting, two awards were made for in-person presentations and one award was made for on-line presentations.
Winners: In-Person Competition
Justin Bernstein, “Muddy Systematics: The Diversity and Biogeography of Mud Snakes (Serpentes: Homalopsidae).” Co-Authors: John Murphy, Harold Voris, Rafe Brown, Sara Ruane.
Julia Joos, “Thermal Ecology and Activity Patterns of Adult and Juvenile Bolson Tortoises (G. flavomarginatus).” Co-Authors: Christiane Weiss, Scott Hillars, Donald B. Miles.
Winner: On-Line Competition
Richard Kim, “Developing Alternative Control Strategies for Invasive American Bullfrogs to Protect Threatened Giant Gartersnakes and Their Native Anuran Prey.” Co-Authors: Marissa Baskett, Sharon Lawler, and Brian Halstead
All awardees will receive a check for US $200 and a book from SSAR.
HR Volume 52, Number 2 (June 2021). Our cover features the Annam Flying Frog (Rhacophorus annamensis), photographed by Randy Babb in Ta Dung National Park, Vietnam. The Rhacophoridae includes ca. 440 species distributed from sub-Saharan Africa through southern Asia to The Philippines and Indonesia. The journal is scheduled to be mailed on or before 30 June. Full contents are now available online to SSAR members at https://ssarherps.org/herpetological-review-pdfs/. Natural History Notes, Geographic Distribution Notes, and Book Reviews are Open Access and are available for download at the same link. If you are not a member of SSAR, please consider joining the leading international herpetological society. Student and online-only rates available. Follow the “Join SSAR” link on the home page. Congratulations to Randy for a great cover image!
Congratulations to Haley Moniz, the 2021 winner of the Dean E. Metter Award!
Haley is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Biology at the University of Nevada, Reno (Chris Feldman, major advisor). Her proposal is entitled “Identifying selective pressures of dietary specialization and adaptive toxin resistance in garter snakes (Thamnophis),” and her research will add an ecological context to the co-evolutionary arms race model of Thamnophis/Taricha predator/prey interactions.
Dean (Doc) Metter was a faculty member in the Department of Zoology at the University of Missouri—Columbia and then the Division of Biological Sciences at that institution for approximately 30 years. A believer in putting knowledge to the test in the field, Doc provided frequent opportunities for students to engage in fieldwork.
Joint Meetings of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
21-25 July 2021
The abstract submission site is open until 13 May: https://app.oxfordabstracts.com/stages/2298/submitter
Please proof your abstract carefully, as this year the abstracts will not be corrected.
Meeting website (still under construction as of May 2021): http://burkclients.com/JMIH/meetings/2021/site/index.html
Notes as of May 2021:
- Cost is currently TBD based upon the response to call for abstracts, but will be reduced, and will include access to all presentations in some manner, physical and virtual.
- All aspects of the meeting will be available to access remotely, there are no parts which will be for in-person attendees only.
- The hybrid meeting mode will not favor one form of participation over another, to the best of our ability.
- Some parts of the meeting will be synchronous, and others asynchronous. We will know more once we know how many abstracts we receive.
- You are not necessarily committing to presenting at the meeting, or even in a particular modality, at this time. There is time to change/withdraw your abstract should you need to, prior to the final deadline. We understand that there are many factors that will affect your ability and decision to attend in either modality.
The participating societies are proceeding with plans for the annual Joint Meetings of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Originally planned for 21-25 July, we recognize that it may be necessary to shorten the meetings due to COVID-19 considerations. To the extent possible, plans are being made that address the safety and public health aspects of in-person attendance during the pandemic. If they can be resolved to the satisfaction of our respective boards, we will cautiously proceed. At a minimum, presentations and events will be available virtually to all participants.
The call for abstracts is now open. To assist the program organizers, authors and their co-authors are expected to carefully proof-read their abstracts prior to submission and provide four keywords that identify major themes in the presentation.
The health and safety of participants in the 2021 JMIH are of prime importance to the organizers. Our objective is to provide our members with the latest and best scientific and public health information. To do so, we will monitor the data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the risk assessment by the Harvard Global Health Institute in cooperation with the Brown University School of Public Health.
We encourage all prospective participants to use these summaries and the websites listed below to make their own informed decisions about the safest way for them to participate in the 2021 JMIH. Consider such factors such as the incidence of COVID-19 and its variants of concern in your home area relative to Phoenix (Maricopa Co., AZ) particularly if you have not been vaccinated. Regularly updated summaries of COVID-19 information will be available on the meeting website.
The safe conduct of any in-person attendance requires that we follow established public health practices.
- Members considering in-person attendance are STRONGLY URGED to get vaccinated.
- Masks will be required at the Phoenix Convention Center.
- Attendees should practice physical distancing, maintaining 6ft. between them.
- No handouts (i.e., abstract book, bags, t-shirts, beverage tickets) will be provided.
- No sponsored socials or coffee breaks will be held to minimize the risk of virus transmission. Participants and guests are advised to purchase coffee and drinks themselves.
- No childcare will be provided this year due to uncertainty of availability of vaccines for young children.
- Participants are encouraged to obey the posted maximum occupancy of meeting and hotel rooms and associated spaces.
Faculty who are recruiting students for the 2022-2023 academic year (or postdocs to begin any time) can fill out this form:
The form populates a view-only spreadsheet that prospective applicants can use to find labs that match their interests.
Prospective applicants to master’s, PhD, and postdoctoral positions can check out this spreadsheet of faculty who are currently recruiting:
The spreadsheet has five separate tabs to help you navigate:
- All advertised positions
- Master’s positions
- PhD positions
- Postdoctoral positions where the PI already has funding
- PIs who don’t currently have funding for postdocs but who are happy to help with postdoctoral fellowship applications
Check back periodically for new entries, which are added to the bottom of the spreadsheet.
Advice for students navigating the application process:
Most PhD programs will cover your tuition and pay you a stipend; master’s programs may or may not be funded (this handy spreadsheet provides information on some funded master’s programs in organismal biology). Funding situations vary wildly by department, though, so you should reach out to people whose labs interest you to ask for details.
Sending the first email to a prospective advisor can be intimidating. If you have a mentor who can help you, it’s wise to get their help. If you need to figure out how to write the email on your own, this blog post has some useful tips: https://contemplativemammoth.com/2013/04/08/so-you-want-to-go-to-grad-school-nail-the-inquiry-email/
You will want to choose a lab that not only does research you find interesting, but that will also provide a supportive environment where you can thrive. Many factors go into a good graduate school experience. Bobby Espinoza, a professor at Cal State Northridge, has prepared a list of sample questions that you might want to ask of prospective advisors, their current students (very important!), and other people in the department to collect the information you will need to make an informed graduate school decision: Questions for Prospective Advisors & Programs.
Attention pre-tenure faculty in herpetology! Are you seeking support for exciting new research in your lab? Applications are being accepted now until May 30, 2021 for the Raymond D. Semlitsch Research Award. This Herpetologists’ League award supports research on the ecology, evolution, and conservation of amphibians and reptiles, with particular interest in research on contemporary questions that helps bridge disciplines and that incorporates manipulative, experimental approaches. One award of $5000 is given each year, with the recipient announced at JMIH. See here for eligibility information and proposal instructions.
HR Volume 52, Number 1 (March 2021). Our cover features the spectacular and endangered Golden Alpine Salamander (Salamandra atra aurorae). This rare endemic was photographed in the Venetian Prealps of Italy by Simone Giachello. Simone is a naturalist who studies the impact of alien invasives on native amphibians. The journal is scheduled to be mailed on 25 March. Full contents are now available online to SSAR members at https://ssarherps.org/herpetological-review-pdfs/. Natural History Notes, Geographic Distribution Notes, and Book Reviews are Open Access and are available for download at the same link. If you are not a member of SSAR, please consider joining the leading international herpetological society. Student and online-only rates available. Follow the “Join SSAR” link on the home page. Congratulations to Simone for a great cover image!
The Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research (SABER) is hosting a spring seminar series on inclusion. All talks will be held on Thursdays at 9 am PT//10 am MT//11 am CT//12 pm ET. SSAR highly recommends you check it out!
For detailed information on all talks in the series (dates, speakers, talk titles, and Zoom links), check out their flyer: Spring 2021 SABER seminar series flyer.
This series is a follow-up to a series on racial justice that SABER hosted in the fall. You can find recordings of the fall talks on SABER’s website: https://saberbio.wildapricot.org/diversity_inclusion.