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!
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.
On 7 October 2020, the SSAR Board of Directors unanimously voted to postpone the stand-alone meeting in Ann Arbor planned for August 2021. The uncertainties surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic have made ongoing planning for the meeting untenable. The organizers for the meeting, Alison and Dan Rabosky, as well as the SSAR officers, editors, and Board members, are deeply disappointed at the postponement, but our utmost concern is for the safety and welfare of prospective meeting participants. We are postponing the Ann Arbor meeting to the summer of 2024, and we hope to see everyone there. The SSAR Long-Range Planning Committee members are working on alternate plans for our 2021 meeting, which we will announce in time. Thank you one and all for your understanding.
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.
In this installment of the SSAR leadership profiles, Student Participation Committee Chair Jessica Tingle interviewed a current SSAR Director, Dr. Jenn Deitloff to better understand the activities of SSAR Directors. Note that a Director is not the same as the Board of Directors; the Board of Directors consists of several elected officers, including the officers known as Directors.
The Directors are eight elected officers who serve on the Board of Directors along with the President, President-elect, Immediate Past President, Treasurer, Secretary, Trustee, and Publications Secretary. One Director position is reserved for someone whose work relates to conservation, and another is reserved for someone from outside the United States. The Board of Directors is responsible for managing SSAR’s affairs, including publications (journals, books, and more). An individual Director’s term lasts for four years, and half of the Directors are replaced every other year. A person may serve multiple terms as a Director, and consecutive terms are allowed.
Activities throughout the year, including at the annual meeting
Throughout the year, items arise that require the Directors’ attention, which normally involves discussion and sometimes a vote (via email). For example, when SSAR began considering whether the Journal of Herpetology should move to online-only, the Board of Directors discussed options and voted on how to proceed. Similarly, when the COVID-19 pandemic jeopardized the 2020 Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (JMIH), the Board of Directors had to determine whether to cancel JMIH, when to cancel, and what options might be available to offset the financial repercussions.
Members of the Board of Directors normally gather together in person at the annual conference (JMIH or SSAR stand-alone meetings), where they attend the Board of Directors meeting and the SSAR Business Meeting. At the Board of Directors meeting—usually held on the first day of the conference—elected officers, editors, and committee chairs discuss the Society’s activities over the previous year, plans for the coming year, and the annual budget. Approval of the annual budget as well as any amendments of the SSAR constitution and bylaws require a vote by a quorum of the Board of Directors.
In addition to their duties on the Board of Directors, the Directors are expected to participate in SSAR committees. The President may sometimes ask or assign Directors to be on specific committees, as the need arises.
Interactions with other SSAR officers and committees
Directors maintain frequent email contact with the President and Secretary in order to carry out their duties throughout the year. They also tend to interact frequently with each other as they generate new ideas for SSAR. Additionally, because Directors often participate in committees or other Society activities, they may interact with various other individuals involved in SSAR.
Path to becoming a Director
Like other elected officers, the Directors must be nominated. When Tiffany Doan, current Chair of the Nominations Committee, first notified Deitloff that she had been nominated, Deitloff wasn’t sure she would be available for the job, and turned down the nomination. Deitloff had often volunteered to judge posters and oral presentations at the annual conference, but she had never been involved in a larger role, such as on a committee. Sometime later, Doan and Deitloff met to discuss ways Deitloff could get more involved in SSAR. That conversation, and conversations with people who had held the Director position, convinced Deitloff that a Director position would be manageable, so the next time she was nominated, she accepted and was voted into office.
Although Deitloff worried about the Director workload prior to her election, she discovered that her fears were unfounded. During her time as a Director, she’s never felt overwhelmed with the workload, and the work has always felt in line with her professional goals and goals for the field. The position holds a lot of intrinsic value, since Directors have the power to help shape SSAR. Not only has Deitloff found the position inherently valuable, but she has also discovered a side benefit in that it has caused her to branch out in the Society, leading to a much richer experience at the annual meetings.
Future of the Director position
Because the Board of Directors has so much power to shape the present and future of SSAR, Directors’ activities evolve along with the Society’s priorities. Individual Directors also have the power to pursue their own goals. For example, Deitloff joined the Board after an incident at JMIH 2018 in Rochester that provided a wake-up call for the herpetological societies to do more work for inclusion. Noticing that graduate students and other young members provided some of the loudest voices calling for change, Deitloff decided that it was time for her to stop taking a back seat in SSAR business. Therefore, she has devoted much of her work on the Board of Directors to making SSAR more inclusive, work that will continue indefinitely.
In January 2021, half of the current Directors will step down, to be replaced by four newly-elected Directors. These new Directors will work with the rest of the Board to bring new ideas and perspectives to SSAR.