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.
SSAR is pleased to announce receipt of a major donation from Dr. William S. Parker, member of the society for more than 50 years. The funds are split 80% for the Conant Grants-in-Herpetology program and 20% for the Dean Metter Memorial Award. Both of these programs provide grants to support graduate student research. The Conant Grants-in-Herpetology program supports student research in seven categories—conservation, field research, laboratory research, travel, international, herpetological education, and undergraduate research in herpetology. The Dean Metter Memorial Award supports field research anywhere in the world, but with preference for work in his home state of Missouri. Bill’s generous donation will help to further the careers of many future professional herpetologists. When asked why he chose to donate to these two particular funds, Bill said, “Receipt of similar grant monies greatly enhanced my graduate research experiences.”
Bill Parker received his BA degree from Wabash College in Indiana in 1964. He received his MS degree from Arizona State University in 1966, working with Martin J. (“Jack”) Fouquette and Wendell L. Minckley. From 1966 to 1967 he was a Graduate Research Assistant at the University of Kansas, working with Henry S. Fitch, and from 1967 to 1970 he served as an Artillery/Air Defense Officer in the U.S. Army. Bill returned to graduate school and earned his PhD from the University of Utah in 1974 under the direction of Harold F. Hirth. He served as Professor of Biology at Mississippi University for Women from 1974 until 2007 and is currently Emeritus Professor of Biology at that university. Bill’s research interests have focused broadly on reptile ecology. Throughout his long career he has published dozens of journal articles, symposium contributions, and book chapters on the ecology of lizards, snakes, and turtles. His subjects have included horned lizards, desert spiny lizards, leopard lizards, fence lizards, desert iguanas, banded geckos, box turtles, slider turtles, whipsnakes, rattlesnakes, and more. Many of his publications were co-authored with William S. Brown on snakes and Eric R. Pianka on lizards.
From January 1991 through March 2006, Bill served as Managing Editor of Journal of Herpetology. He saw the journal through 61 issues during those years, a record-long period spanning the terms of four consecutive editors. Bill retains a certain amount of pride in having helped so many authors, including those from over 50 different countries, complete their publication experience.
Bill has long been actively involved in volunteer work, including a local crisis phoneline, local animal shelters, local arts councils, and local photography contests. His current interests include photography, travel, classical music by women, reading, and philanthropy. SSAR thanks Bill for his long-time dedication to the society, which now includes his generous support of student research.
2019 marks the 50th anniversary of Herpetological Review. The cover of this second issue takes a look back at the cover images published during the period of 2001 to 2006. Featured photographers were Steve Wilson, Jim Bridges, Will Brown, Tim Paine, Bill Love, William Lamar, Alejandro Solórzano, Michael Burger, Danté Fenolio, Masamichi Yamishita/Richard Wassersug, Michael Kern, Louis Porras, Indraneil Das, Brian Freiermuth, Lee Grismer, Nikolai Orlov, Paul Freed, Joan François Obbes (artist), and Guido Sterkendries.
This issue is scheduled to be mailed in late June, and full contents are now available online to SSAR members at https://ssarherps.org/herpetological-review-pdfs/. All Natural History Notes, Geographic Distribution Notes, Book Reviews, and other select sections 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. See here for more details: https://ssarherps.org/about-ssar/membership/.
Dr. David M. Sever passed away on 19 April 2019. David was well known in the herpetological community for over 40 years of work on the natural history of amphibians and reptiles, specifically the evolution of primary and secondary sexual characteristics. David was a long-time member of the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR), and its predecessor, The Ohio Herpetological Society, and had been attending herpetological conferences since the early 1970s. David recognized the importance of scientific societies and presenting research at conferences and encouraged all of his students to attend the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, sponsored by three societies of which he was an active member (American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, The Herpetologists’ League, and SSAR). In lieu of flowers and other gifts, Marlis Sever (David’s wife) has requested that donations be made in his name to a travel fund that SSAR has agreed to maintain and earmark for student travel to SSAR–sponsored conferences. Those donations can be made here.
The Joint Meeting of Ichthyology and Herpetology (JMIH) Meeting Management and Planning Committee (MMPC) met 11 April 2017 through 13 April 2019, and their report is available here: JMIH MMPC Report
2019 marks the 50th anniversary of Herpetological Review. The March issue features a 42-page special section that retraces the history of HR, which began as a regional society newsletter, consisting of a few pages assembled by precocious teenagers. We hope that SSAR members will take time to read this retrospective, to better appreciate the contributions of hundreds of colleagues in service to the herpetological community.
This issue is scheduled to be mailed on 29 March, and full contents are available online to SSAR members here. All Natural History Notes, Geographic Distribution Notes, Book Reviews, and other select sections 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. Read more about membership information here!
For several years, the SSAR mentorship program has paired young members with more experienced members to help them get the most out of our annual conference, the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (JMIH). Starting at JMIH 2019, the SSAR has joined forces with the Herpetologists’ League to expand the program.
Signing up for the program
The JMIH registration form will have a checkbox for students to indicate their interest in the program. If a student checks the box, then their contact information will be automatically sent to the program organizers. The program organizers will send out a questionnaire for students to indicate their research and career interests, and they will use the responses to make mentor-mentee matches.
Folks who’d like to act as a mentor for the program can check a different box on the registration form to indicate their interest. We would love to have older students, postdocs, and more established society members as mentors in the program.
How the program works
Everyone in the program meets as a group near the beginning of JMIH. This meeting gives everyone the chance to get to know each other over a meal provided by the SSAR, and it provides an opportunity for program organizers to give suggestions for making the most out of the mentorship interactions.
After the initial meeting, mentor-mentee pairs can meet up when and how they choose. Interactions often include attending poster sessions together, checking in over coffee, and/or talking over a meal. Mentors can also help their mentees to meet other researchers.
The remaining contents of the Roger Conant, Ernie Liner, and Victor Hutchison Libraries are being stored at a facility in Salt Lake City, compliments of our former Publications Secretary Breck Bartholomew. It is time to find good homes for these books, journals, and reprints. Several boxes of Ernie Liner’s books will be taken to the JMIH in Snowbird (24-28 July 2019) for the silent and live auctions. Anyone wishing to sort through the material in the storage facility in Salt Lake City is invited to do so. The storage unit is 12 x 30 feet and is full. It includes the Conant and Liner filing cabinets (also available), boxes of books, journals, and reprints, as well as various pieces of framed art, posters, and other items from the Liner collection. Please note that to get to the storage unit in Salt Lake City from Snowbird, you will need a vehicle. Breck will be available throughout the JMIH to meet at the storage unit. You can make prior arrangements with Breck by email (Breck@herplit.com) or phone (801-867-1042). Materials at the storage unit will be priced as follows: paperback books $2; hardback books $5; other items will be on a donation basis. You will need to take the library materials with you and ship them home yourself. At the end of the JMIH, the remaining books, journals, and reprints will be given to a worthy institution.
SSAR is pleased to announce the George B. Rabb Undergraduate Poster Award, sponsored by Zoo Atlanta. The award 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.
To be eligible to compete for this award, a student must be an undergraduate, or have graduated in the previous spring semester. The student must be the first author on the poster and must present the poster during the student poster competition at the annual JMIH or SSAR meeting. There can be additional authors on the poster. As is the case for the SSAR Victor Hutchison Student Poster Award, the competing student must be a current member of SSAR. Abstract submission is the same as for anyone else submitting to present at the annual meetings. See the JMIH website for information. The first George B. Rabb award will be presented at the 2019 JMIH meeting in Snowbird, Utah. The prize includes a $250 check and an SSAR book.