April 30th, 2015 is the deadline for submission to the 2015 SSAR Student Travel Awards. Please see here for more information.
I am pleased to announce that the United States Department of Defense (DoD) recently accomplished what no other department of the U.S. government has… the development of a Strategic Plan for Amphibian and Reptile Conservation and Management on Department of Defense Lands. Endorsed on February 19, 2015 by the acting Assistant Secretary of Defense, this plan is focused on amphibians, reptiles, and their habitats. Occupying just over 24 million acres, DoD has more threatened and endangered species per acre of American lands than any other federal landowner. Through this strategic plan, the testing and training capabilities of America’s military will be enhanced while simultaneously protecting the nation’s amphibian and reptile heritage.
This plan is the outcome of years of planning and efforts including members of all the military services. The endorsed version is a text document, and DoD Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (DoD PARC) will soon complete limited copies of a printed version that will include photographs.
For updates or to be added to the DoD PARC mailing list, please contact me at email@example.com, and also take a moment to visit our websites at:
Lovich, R.E., C. Petersen, P. Nanjappa, E. Garcia, A. Dalsimer. 2015. Department of Defense Natural Resources Conservation Compliance Program. Strategic Plan for Amphibian and Reptile Conservation and Management on Department of Defense Lands. 12 pages.
To be released just in time for the 2015 SSAR meeting at the University of Kansas, SSAR is proud to present a new book by William Duellman, Herpetology at Kansas: A Centennial History.
This book chronicles the arrival of E.H. Taylor as a student at KU in 1908 and the subsequent generations of herpetology researchers and students, both undergraduate and graduate, who have shaped and created one of the leading centers for herpetological research and collections. Accounts include the careers of Edward H. Taylor, Henry Fitch, William Duellman, Linda Trueb, and more recently Rafe Brown and Rich Glor. An insider’s viewpoint and not to be missed!
Clothbound and with over 400 photographs; SSAR membership discount.
The private foundation established by the late Carl Gans is continuing his legacy in herpetology and biology through the dissemination of his works and offering grants to students within his fields of study.
The fund has announced that it will support two types of awards available to both graduate and undergraduate students who are attending this summer’s Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles meeting at the University of Kansas (30 July – 3 August 2015). The award types are: registration awards, which will cover the full student registration fee of US $150, and travel awards, which will support student travel expenses. All students are eligible for both awards, regardless of nationality. Applicants must present a paper (oral or poster) at the meeting within the broad spectrum of research conducted by Gans on the biology of reptiles and amphibians to be eligible. The application deadline for both awards is 15 February 2015. See here for more information: http://carlgans.org/grants/
Professor Gans was considered one of the preeminent specialists on the biology of reptiles and made contributions to their systematics, comparative and functional morphology, physiology, biomechanics, and behavior in over 600 publications. The fund consists of a Board of Trustees led by Leo Gans, Dr. Ronald Gans, and Eva Lynn Gans, and a Scientific Advisory Board, which is under the direction of Drs. Kraig Adler, Aaron Bauer, Amos Bouskila, Herb Rosenberg, and Linda Trueb.
The Gans Collections and Charitable Fund has recently published Gans’ Biology of the Reptilia series online, freely available at carlgans.org. The series consists of 22 volumes and approximately 14,000 pages, covering the morphology, behavior, development, ecology, neurology, and physiology of reptiles. The webpage provides the complete table of contents and index of the series, as well as direct access to the full content of every volume. The Fund hopes that access to this valuable resource will enable and inspire further study in these fields.
The following new officers were elected for 2015:
President Elect – Rick Shine
New Board Members:
Kim Lovich (2018, Conservation)
Robin Andrews (2018, Regular)
Emily Taylor (2018, Regular)
Tony Gamble (2018, Member-at-Large)
New Committee Chairs:
Jeremy Feinberg has replaced Dawn Wilson as Student Participation Committee Chair
Jeff Ettling has replaced Marina Gerson and Ann Paterson as Membership Committee Chair
Congratulations to our new President-Elect, Board Members and Committee Chairs!
The Jones-Lovich Grant for Southwestern Herpetology is available for 2015 and awards $1000 to one student working in the southwestern US or NW Mexico. Applications are due 9 January 2015 (Friday) at 5 pm. For more information and to download the application see the Herpetologists’ League Student Awards page.
In case you hadn’t heard, The Chicago Field Museum is host to a new kind of employee… the Chief Curiosity Correspondent. The position was created after Emily Graslie’s YouTube channel, The Brain Scoop, based on her work at the Phillip L. Wright Zoological Museum at the University of Montana, bringing thousands of YouTube subscribers into the world of natural history and taxidermy.
The Brain Scoop takes viewers through the process of skinning a wolf and the bat caves of Kenya. This past month, however, Emily and her coworkers completed a trip to Peru for the Field Museum. The first video is out, and if you’re interested in Amazonian amphibians and reptiles, along with bugs and bats, Emily has a treat for you.
Emily brings a refreshing attitude to the natural sciences, and her passion for nature and its preservation shines throughout the videos. I personally cannot wait until she enters the Field Museum’s amphibian and reptile collection and am hoping a Chinese Giant Salamander makes the show!
This first video is only the first in a series highlighting the group’s trip to Peru. Check it out below! Access The Brain Scoop social media pages below.
–Joint Society Letter to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service–
The Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, the Herpetologists’ League, and the Canadian Herpetological Society have submitted a joint letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in response to recent discoveries that Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans could have a significant effect upon some North American salamander species.
That letter is here: Letter to USFWS
Pit-vipers of the genus Protobothrops distribute in East and Southeast Asia, and many species live in mountain areas with high elevations. Recently, a new species of genus was discovered along the Himalaya Mountain Ranges in southern Tibet, China and Sikkim, India in 2012. The new species, Protobothrops himalayanus, was named after its type locality, the Himalayas Mountain Ranges. It can be diagnosed from its congeners by the combination of large body size (reaching up to 1.5mm in total length), distinct scale counts (dorsal sacles 25-25-19, subcaudal scales 65-76, supralabials scales 7-8, and infralabials scales 11-13), and its unique color patterns.
Despite the recent discovery, herpetologists have very little information regarding the snake’s ecology, behavior, distribution range, and population size. With the potential threats posted by habitat degradation, population assessments of the species are urgent and conservation efforts need to be made accordingly soon.
Photographs by Zhang Liang from South China Institute of Endangered Animals.
Pan H., Chettri B., Yang D., Jiang K., Wang K., Zhang L., and Vogel G. 2013. A new species of the genus Protobothrops (Squamata: Viperidae) from Southern Tibet, China and Sikkim India. Asian Herpetological Research, 4(2): 109-115.