Blogs

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Costa Rica 2015 blog: Introducing Vickie

Victoria GrotbeckMy name is Vickie Grotbeck and I am a junior at KU, studying Organismal Biology. I hope to learn all about the aspects of field research while in Costa Rica. This will be my first time leaving the US, so I am looking forward to not only gaining scientific knowledge, but some cultural knowledge as well. I can apply what I learn from this trip to future life experiences, since when I graduate I want to do tropical field research. - Vickie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Look out on the patio! A snake!

is that a copperhead??
It's that time of year.  In the late Spring every year we receive calls and alarmed emails from residents with reports of "Copperheads," and "Massasauga Rattlesnakes."  Occasionally these reports contain details of snakes vibrating their tails, apparently reinforcing the "rattlesnake" identification.  Here's an image from a Lawrence resident who reported a colorful snake, length of about 18 inches, on their patio (photographed from safety behind the patio door).  Like most of these Spring reports, the snake species involved here is a non-venomous prairie rat snake, Pantherophis emoryi.  This species is brightly colored when they emerge as "young-of-the-year" juveniles in Spring—and their blotched color pattern superficially resembles the general color pattern of a few species of rattle snake, but generally doesn't look much like a copperhead.  Often, they even vibrate the tip of their tail, in apparent mimicry of a rattlesnake (smart, huh?). Although it is wise to avoid contact with snakes unless one's positive of the identification, even vaguely interested parties can benefit greatly by purchasing a basic field guide and checking out the illustrations. Most local Lawrence "rattlesnake" reports are misidentifications, usually ending badly for the unfortunate animal.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Free Commemorative Posters with New Art by David Dennis


We are pleased to announce that all attendees of SSAR 2015 will receive an 11-by-15–inch commemorative poster featuring a spectacular new watercolor of a male collared lizard by natural history artist David M. Dennis. Dennis's artwork is well-known to herpetologists and has been reproduced in many books including Bill Duellman's "Hylid Frogs of Middle America." The posters are high quality printings on card stock and are laminated for durability. Posters will be available at registration and throughout the meeting to all registered attendees.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Abstract Submission Deadline Rapidly Approaching

The May 15 deadline for submitting titles and abstracts for oral presentations and posters for SSAR 2015 is now only one week away!  We have already received a large number of submissions, so be sure to submit as soon as possible to ensure that we don't run out of space for your presentation. If you are a student, we encourage you to consider signing up for one of the student presentation competitions sponsored by SSAR. The option to join these competitions is available via the abstract submission portal.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Post Rock Country

Several members of the KU herpetology division joined the Kansas Herpetological Society recently for their biannual herp survey which took place near Russell, Kansas from April 24th to the 26th. Russell is in the heart of post rock country. This term comes from the presence of many old limestone fence posts built by the early settlers to this prairie. With few trees, the abundence of limestone just beneath the surface provided an excellent resource for building barbed wire fences. Much of this same rock, having been exposed, cracked and weathered, provides excellent hiding spots for an array of snakes, lizards, and frogs not found in Lawrence, KS.

 

Rafe Brown and Jackson Leibach search beneath exposed rock along a hillside

 

Just one of the many neat finds. This milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum) from just a couple of hours drive to the West looks a bit different than the ones we are used to finding around Lawrence. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Expanded Availability of Fitch Reserve Tours

The previously scheduled tours of the eastern Kansas field sites of legendary snake ecologist Henry Fitch on the afternoon of Thursday, July 30 have already filled to capacity. We were pleased with the outpouring of enthusiasm for this very special SSAR 2015 event and are now pleased to announce that George Pisani has agreed to open up four additional Fitch Reserve tour time slots at 9:00 and 2:00 pm, on both Friday and Saturday; with transportation provided from the meeting venue. Sign up now by contacting the conference organizers via e-mail (ssar2015@ku.edu)!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Field Trips Filling Up Quickly

We are still early in the registration process, but space in all of our tours and field trips is filling quickly. We are offering tours of KU Herpetology and a field trip to the Henry Fitch Natural HIstory Reserve on the afternoon of the meetings' first day (Thursday, July 30th) and a tour of Allen Press on the day after the meeting (Monday, August 3rd). Capacity for all of these trips is limited due to space and transportation issue, and all of them are already at least half full. Be sure to sign up soon if you want to go on a tour or field trip! You can book a spot in any on of these trips or tours at the time of registration. If you are already registered and would like to book a spot on one of the trips please contact the conference coordinators via e-mail (ssar2015@ku.edu).

Monday, April 13, 2015

Picnic Option is Popular, Join the Crowd

SSAR 2015 will close with an outdoor picnic in a field directly behind the main meeting venue and adjacent to KU's football stadium. This location is beautiful and centrally located. In addition to easy access to the main meeting venue and nearby lodging (e.g., The Oread Hotel and the GSP Dormitories), the picnic location also features several turtle ponds and a small forested area. The price of a picnic ticket will get you admission to the picnic tents as well as two drink tickets and a full buffet. The picnic option is very popular among early registrants, so we urge everyone to get a ticket while you still can. Due the events popularity and the need to confirm total attendance prior to the day of the event, picnic tickets must be purchased in advance (ideally at the time of registration) and will not be available on-site after the meeting begins.