PhD student Scott Travers just reported back from the Solomon Islands, where he is in the midst of a National Geographic funded expedition. As you can see from the image above, Scott has already seen one of earth's most amazing lizards - the prehensile tailed skink (Corucia zebrata). Because it is so unusual, Corucia is one of those species that just about every herpetologist knows about. They have amazing tails capable of movement in nearly any dimension, a topic that was the focus of one of my first scientific papers. To the right of Scott, you can see Rafe trying to recreate Scott's moment using a plastic lizard.
KU Biodiversity Institute postdoctoral researcher Carlos Yañez-Arenas recently published a paper entitled "Predicting Species' Abundances from Occurrence Data: Effects of Sample Size and Bias" in the prestigious journal Ecological Modelling. Carlos' work was developed in collaboration with four co-authors, including KU BI alumnus Enrique Martínez-Meyer, now a professor in the Instituto de Biología of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City. The paper provides important new detail into methods under development for understanding geographic abundance patterns of species.
This week, Town Peterson's Biodiversity Informatics Training Curriculum project holds its first online course, which will focus on Public Health Applications of Biodiversity Informatics. The course is being carried out on Google+, and can be followed via its "event" page: https://plus.google.com/events/ctcg214mb5hmje4fjhi5s00nm5k. The course covers conceptual and practical aspects of biodiversity informatics as it can inform disease risk mapping, a crucial priority in public health initiatives worldwide. KU participants include Lindsay Campbell, Abdallah Samy, and Kate Ingenloff, as well as KU BI alumnus Yoshi Nakazawa.
The 8-10" long snake pictured above was just found in a basement in rural Johnson County, Kansas. Anybody know what it is?
We are having a great start with our Friday Herpetology Lunch meetings for the Fall term. Our lunch on Friday, August 29th included 18 individuals representing seven countries (USA, Brazil, India, Malaysia, China/Tibet, Ecuador, Taiwan). Curator Rich Glor discussed how to assist with development of the division's new website and curatorial assistant Matt Buehler shared some examples of problematic specimens recovered during an assessment of the snake collection.
A resident of Lenexa, KS took the photographs above of a lizard on the side of his house in mid-August of 2014. It looks somewhat like a lizard dressed in a spiderman costume. Who can identify the species? Is this a species that has ever been reported in Kansas previously? Is it likely to be a permanent resident of our state?
A friend of KU Herpetology just sent the photos above and noted that the snake in these images "fell off a roof at ocean adventure" in Subic Bay, Luzon, Philippines. Anybody know what species it is? Both photos copyright William Ross from Ocean Adventure, Subic, Luzon.
A friend of KU Herpetology in the Endowment office would like to know if we have any thoughts on the identify of the snake whose shed skin was found by some kids heading into a hole near her garage. The sender notes that while the images are reasonably well-lit and in-focus compared to the photos we usually receive that the basket weave chair may have been included to challenge us. Best guess wins a point in the KU Center for Herpetological Accuracy's Annual herp identification contest.
Undergraduate researcher Catherine Chen recently presented the results of her research at the Summer Undergraduate Research Poster Session in the KU Union. Catherine's work investigated stereotypical display behavior in the lizard Anolis distichus.
On Thursday, July 10th, KU Herpetology curator Rich Glor hosted a field trip by undergraduate students in the Kansas State Summer REU program under the direction of Drs. Bruce Snyder and Ted Morgan. The long-running K State REU program is analagous to KU's own REU program in ecology and evolutionary biology and has seen completion of a range of interesting undergraduate projects and publications, many relating to biodiversity science. The members of the K State proved an impressive and engaged group with plenty of good questions.