Please tell your friends about this grant opportunity. The Jones-Lovich Award in Southwestern Herpetology from the Herpetologists’ League is due this Friday 4 December 2020 at 5 pm PST. One award will be given to fund $1000 for graduate research on any amphibian or reptile from the Southwestern US or Northwestern Mexico. Students that wish to apply must be HL members for 2021; they can join by going to http://herpetologistsleague.org/. Award requirements and cover sheet are here. Contact Carol Spencer firstname.lastname@example.org for more information if needed.
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.
Herpetological Review September 2020, Volume 51, Number 3. Our cover features an especially colorful example of a Palestine Saw-scaled Viper (Echis coloratus), photographed in southern Israel by Matthieu Berroneau. Matthieu is a French herpetologist and wildlife photographer. Congratulations to Matthieu for his outstanding cover photo!
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.
We do not yet have a mail date for the print journals due to delays with the Journal of Herpetology.
Faculty who are recruiting students for the 2021-2022 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.
We plan to release a new form + spreadsheet for the 2022-2023 academic year in early 2021.
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:
Many programs will cover your tuition, and many will even pay you a stipend. 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.
Dear colleagues in amphibian health,
As you know, researchers and diagnosticians around the world are running PCR tests looking for the presence of emerging amphibian pathogens, particularly those notifiable to the OIE. Standardization of methodologies is difficult, and it is even more difficult for laboratories to acquire a certification such as that granted by organizations like the American Association of Diagnostic Veterinary Laboratories or ISO committees. The Diagnostics Working Group of the North American Bsal Task Force, with funding support from Environment and Climate Change Canada, is following up on an effort to provide an accessible method for quality control/quality assurance (QC/QA) to laboratories working on amphibian pathogens. We will conduct a PCR ring test (round robin) for emerging amphibian pathogens that will allow participating laboratories to confidentially evaluate the quality of their results, be it for diagnostic or research purposes. Participation is voluntary and open to all laboratories currently running tests for the target pathogens.
Briefly, a set of 16 blinded randomized samples will be shipped to each participating laboratory, at no cost, to undergo testing for Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, B. salamandrivorans and Ranavirus
We realize this may not be an ideal time to conduct this round robin, with the world in the midst of a pandemic, but we hope those laboratories who are able to continue testing will consider participating. We expect to ship the sets of blind samples in early November 2020, and expect laboratories to provide their results by early December, at the latest.
Please contact me (María Forzán, email@example.com OR firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in participating, or if you have any questions or comments regarding the way in which the ring test is to be conducted. It is CRUCIAL THAT YOU REPLY to this message BEFORE September 30th, 2020, so the total number of participating laboratories can be determined and the appropriate number of testing tubes prepared.
For information on a pilot round robin conducted in 2016, please go to our website: www.diagnostics.
The 2020 winner of the Victor Hutchison Graduate Poster Award is:
Danielle Bradke (University of Georgia), “Sensitivity of capture-recapture using seining to detect changes in Diamondback Terrapin survival in response to management”
The SSAR graduate student poster awards honor Victor Hutchison for his extensive contributions to herpetology and the development of future herpetologists. Because the coronavirus pandemic forced cancellation of the 2020 JMIH, we held the 10th annual SSAR Victor Hutchison Student Poster competition in a novel virtual format (Zoom) on 24 July 2020. This year we gave one overall award rather than multiple awards in different categories, owing to the relatively small number of participants. The winner is receiving a check for US $250 and an SSAR book.
The 2020 winner of the George B. Rabb Undergraduate Poster Award is:
Calvin Vick (University of Central Arkansas), “Female lizards alter behavior but not climbing speed while gravid”
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. 2020 marked the 2nd year of this competition, which was held in a novel virtual format owing to the coronavirus pandemic and cancellation of JMIH. The poster presentations were given via Zoom on 24 July 2020. The winner is receiving a check for US $250 and an SSAR book.
This year’s judges were:
Betsie Rothermel, Chair (Archbold Biological Station), Nicholas Caruso (Virginia Tech), Allyson Fenwick (University of Central Oklahoma), Jennifer Lamb (St. Cloud State University), Chris Thawley (Neumann University)
2020 SSAR Virtual Poster Competitions Committee: Neil Balchan, John Bellah, Jack Friend, Michelle Koo, Joe Mendelson, Calvin Vick, Greg Watkins-Colwell. With special thanks to Marty Crump (President), Jessica Tingle (Chair, Student Participation Committee), and Betsie Rothermel (Chair, Poster Awards Committee), for supporting the program.
SSAR has just released a new update on a bilingual Herpetological Circular:
Lips, K.R., J.K. Reaser, B.E. Young, and R. Ibáñez. 2020. Amphibian monitoring in Latin America: a protocol manual (Mintoreo de anfibios en América Latina). Herpetological Circulars No. 30. Vers. 2.
This and other Herp Circulars are available as free PDF downloads on the SSAR website: https://ssarherps.org/publications/books-pamphlets/herp-circulars-pdfs/
Marked declines in herpetological biodiversity are being documented worldwide. SSAR exists to advance research, conservation, and education concerning these species. Therefore, after working out complex logistics with our investment manager, SSAR is pleased to announce that it has divested from oil and gas investments to develop an eco-friendly investment portfolio in line with our mission. When you support SSAR, we want you to know that we are doing our best to spend and invest those funds wisely to support the causes that you value.