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.
HR December 2020, Volume 51, Number 4. Our cover features a beautiful photo of a juvenile Tandayapa Andes Toad (Rhaebo olallai). This rare endemic was photographed in the Río Manduriacu Reserve, western Imbabura Province, Ecuador, by Ross Maynard. Ross is a researcher and photographer with The Biodiversity Group (biodiversitygroup.org) and is the director of their Biodiversity Research Program in Ecuador. The journal is scheduled to be mailed on 31 December. 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 Ross for a great cover image and thank you for your conservation efforts in Ecuador!
Largely in response to the upcoming shift away from paper copies of Journal of Herpetology, the SSAR Membership Committee was charged with updating the list of membership categories and reducing some of the redundancy. The committee produced this new list of membership categories, which was recently approved by the SSAR Board of Directors.
Subscription periods for all memberships (except Life) are for 1 year and membership renewal date is January 1st. There are no automatically recurring payments.
Regular Member – $120.00 (USD) Regular Members receive online access to the Journal of Herpetology and in print and online access to Herpetological Review. In addition, Regular Members have voting privileges, receive special prepublication discount offers on SSAR books, and a 10% discount on all SSAR publications. See below for online only membership options.
Regular Member – Online Only – $110.00 (USD) Matches Regular Membership and receives online access to the Journal of Herpetology and Herpetological Review.
Student Member – $65.00 (USD) These members receive all benefits of Regular Membership, but at a reduced rate.
Student Member – Online Only – $60.00 (USD) Matches Student Membership but receives online access to the Journal of Herpetology and Herpetological Review.
Senior Member, over 70 years old – $75.00 (USD) Senior Members receive all the benefits of Regular Membership. Must be 70 years old or older.
Senior Member, over 70 yrs old – Online Only – $75.00 (USD) Matches Senior Membership but receives online access to the Journal of Herpetology and Herpetological Review.
Sustaining Member – $150.00 (USD) Sustaining members have all the benefits of Regular membership and provide extra support to SSAR.
Sustaining Member- Online Only – $150.00 (USD) Matches Sustaining Membership but receives online access to the Journal of Herpetology and Herpetological Review.
Associate Member – $75.00 (USD) Receives Herpetological Review in print and online. However, Associate members do not receive pre-publication discounts, discounts on publications, and do not have voting privileges in SSAR elections.
Associate Member- Online Only – $70.00 (USD) Matches Associate Membership but receives access to Herpetological Review online.
Zoo Keeper Member – $55.00 (USD) Zoo Keeper Members receive online access to the Journal of Herpetology and print and online access to Herpetological Review. In addition, these Members have voting privileges, receive special prepublication discount offers on SSAR books, and a 10% discount on all SSAR publications. Available to zoo and zoo-related employees whose positions are below that of curator and veterinarian-type positions.
Zoo Keeper Member – Online Only – $50.00 (USD) Matches Zoo Keeper Membership, but receives online access to the Journal of Herpetology and Herpetological Review.
2nd Family member – $35.00 (USD) Second Family members, living in the same household as another SSAR member, receive all the benefits of Regular membership, but without an additional hard-copy of Herpetological Review. To utilize this category, one family member should register as a member of SSAR and the second family member should select this membership.
Life Member – $2,750 (USD) Membership period: Unlimited. Life Members receive all benefits of Regular Membership, including voting and all publication discounts, but without the need to annually renew. Add a 2nd Family Member for Life: $875 (USD).
Institutional Herpetological Review Subscription – $125.00 (USD) Regular Institutional Herpetological Review subscriptions receive online access to Herpetological Review (4 issues/year).
Regular Institutional Subscription – $245.00 (USD) Regular Institutional subscriptions receive online access to the Journal of Herpetology and Herpetological Review (4 issues/year).
20 October 2020
To SSAR Members:
On 12 July 2020 the Board of Directors of SSAR voted unanimously to move Journal of Herpetology to an online-only format beginning with the first issue of 2021. Herpetological Review will not be affected and will continue to be offered in print as well as online. The Board considered this decision very carefully, taking into account financial information and results from the survey of SSAR members initiated on 26 May 2020 (see below).
In short, printing costs are so expensive that the Society can no longer justify spending more than $30,000 per year subsidizing production of printed copies of Journal of Herpetology. Currently, to receive printed copies regular members pay $10 more than online-only members pay in annual dues. This amount is not sufficient to offset the ever-increasing cost of hard copy. After careful analysis, the Board accepted the reality that it would be a persistent challenge to cover costs of printing Journal of Herpetology. Offsetting the expense would have required charging a minimum $50 subscription fee on top of regular dues. If fewer than 500 members were willing to pay this cost in any given year, once again SSAR would be spending thousands of dollars for print copies while creating additional fees for storage of copies that have no commercial value.
The bulk of your membership dues continues to cover costs of producing Journal of Herpetology and Herpetological Review; the remainder is operational costs. The SSAR does not expect to lose institutional subscriptions. Most importantly, we are confident, based on the results of the survey, that this decision will not drive our members away or de-incentivize new herpetologists from joining SSAR.
The savings obtained by moving the journal to online-only should allow SSAR to continue to develop new services and to reach herpetologists across the globe. As examples, we recently held our first online Student Poster Competition, made the SSAR Audiovisual Shows available on the website, and of course continue to update and improve the entire suite of services that SSAR provides—CAAR, Herpetological Circulars, SSARHerps.org, Manuscript Review Service, and more.
In making its decision, the Board understood, and discussed at length, that some members have a strong preference for print copies and are willing to pay extra for them. To this end, we have identified a print company and have a plan that will provide print opies to those members who are willing to buy them. We are offering a “group buy”, managed by the SSAR Publications Secretary, whereby members who wish to pay for a hardcopy of each volume of Journal of Herpetology may order it annually. The Society will charge them at cost, with 50 copies being the minimum order. The price will vary by number of pages in each annual volume and by number of copies ordered by members. The Group-Buy Program option will be available only for those members who respond to the annual notice from the Publications Secretary. We are sorry, but we cannot guarantee availability of print copies to any member who fails to respond to the annual notice. There will be no ability to order any missed volumes. If the printing company changes their fee structure, or if we do not receive enough orders to make it financially tenable, we may need to cease the Group-Buy Program. Like many SSAR members, we will miss receiving the Journal of Herpetology in the mail and reading our flagship journal in printed form. At the same time, we recognize that the best decision for our Society is to accept the present-day realities of scientific publishing and the financial and environmental benefits of online publishing.
Marty Crump, President, SSAR
and the SSAR Board Members
*Interpretation of survey results
The survey conducted beginning on 26 May 2020 provided important information that informed the decisions made by board members:
- Desire for print copies of Journal of Herpetology is not strong and appears to be waning.
- Of 679 respondents, 54% were not willing to pay above $10 to receive print
- Thirty-eight per cent of respondents would pay “up to $60 additional”, but only 8% would pay >$60.
- Of 679 respondents, 54% were not willing to pay above $10 to receive print
- When we extrapolate these numbers to the Society as a whole (~1400 members), it is unlikely that subscriptions would be able to offset the costs of printing 500 copies of Journal of Herpetology over the long-term.
- The table below summarizes the data from the 26 May 2020 survey.