herps

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Update on Dormitory Housing for SSAR 2015

Still looking for a place to stay for the SSAR 2015 meetings in Lawrence? We still have space in the dormitories at prices ranging from $40-60 per person per night. All dormitory rooms must be reserved at least one week prior to the start of the meeting and will not be available for walk-ups. Because we have already sent out notices for room-mate preferences, we also may not be able to accommodate matches with preferred room-mates for late sign-ups. If you did not sign up for dormitory lodging at the time of registration you can still add a reservation to your registration by contacting the registration professionals available at (785) 864-5823 or toll free (877) 404-5823. Some photographs of the dormitory might give you a better idea of what life there will be like.

Dormitory lounge

The lounge on the first level of the GSP dormitory.

Entraceway to the dormitory rooms at GSP.

Double room in the GSP dormitory. Bedding will be provided to all attendees to sign up for a dormitory bed.

Shared bathroom in the GSP dormitory. Private baths are not available for guests in the dormitories.

Shared bathrooms in the GSP dormitory have private shower stalls.

Breakfast is included in the price of dormitory rooms and will be served in the "North College Cafe" dining area on the ground level of the GSP dormitory.

View from the porch of the GSP dormitory. The tall building in the background is the Oread Hotel, which will host numerous meeting events. The Kansas Union is just beyond the Oread. All meeting venues are a short walk from the dormitory.

View from the porch of the dormitory looking back toward downtown Lawrence. The large buildings in the middle of this frame are in downtown Lawrence.

 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Doctoral Candidate Scott Travers

Congratulations to Scott, who passed his orals yesterday!  In this picture he celebrates with Herpetology Division members at the Bird Dog Cafe.  Next week, Scott departs for a month of field work in the Solomon Islands.  What a life.   The rest of us will stay put, to take care of the many preparations leading up to the SSAR meetings at KU in late July.  Wait a minute....I see what's happening here!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Undergraduates Tackle Beetle Infestation

Led by undergraduate collections assistant Matt Buehler, other undergraduate help remove beetles and their frass from a python skin. A recent inspection of the KU Herpetology dry specimen holdings indicated that several specimens were infested with descructive dermestid beetles. The specimens in danger are being frozen to kill all the beetles and cleaned by hand.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

At the iDigBio Summit IV, Gainsville, Florida

Rafe, Robin and Matt at iDigBio Summit 

The Integrated Digitized Biocollections (iDigBio; https://www.idigbio.org/) is the national resource for digitization of vouchered natural history collections and was established by the community strategic plan for the Network Integrated Biocollections Alliance (NIBA). iDigBio is supported through funds from the NSF’s Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections (ADBC) program. The vision of the ADBC is a permanent database of digitized information from all biological collections in the United States. It is anticipated that this effort will lead to new discoveries through research, a better understanding and appreciation of biodiversity through improved education and outreach, and subsequent improved environmental and economic policies. Key partners in this effort are the Thematic Collections Networks (TCNs), which form a national grid of institutions that are digitizing specimens and associated resources. Within this context, animal vocalizations (like that of birds and anurans) and electrical signals (such as by fishes), which also form vital specimen-associated resources for research, are currently being digitized and archived by the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (http://macaulaylibrary.org/) and other institutions around the country. Avian and anuran calls recorded by researchers at KU have been being digitized and contributed to this repository, with a substantial part of the collection already accessible to the public. 

Exhibit at the Florida Museum of Natural History

The 2 day iDigBio IV summit, which was held in Gainsville between October 27–28, 2014 saw Rafe and I, along with Matthew Medler (who represented Mike Webster, Director of the Macaulay Library) as the attending members of the fledgling TCN devoted to digitizing animal vocalizations and electric signals. Eighty-four on-site attendees and nine remote attendees from TCNs, iDigBio, NSF, USGS and other biodiversity informatics initiatives convened for the summit. A series of brief presentations and demonstrations were made by representatives of the various TCNs and Matthew made a presentation of the basic components of our TCN and the progress made so far. One of the more inspired demonstrations was that of John La Salle, who showcased the Atlas of Living Australia portal (http://www.ala.org.au/), which was supported by a $45 million investment by the Australian Government. I guess I would be very inspired too, had I had that kind of money backing me. Another interesting demo was that of augmented reality for public outreach, education and research purposes, where digitized 3D images of specimens can be viewed through a device such as a mobile phone, iPad, or a desktop webcam; the following video illustrates the point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STc8Nsx36MI. Following the talks and demos, we then spread out between a set of four breakout discussion groups. The afternoon saw a poster session that was offered in a unique format, where posters were displayed on 55-inch high-definition flat screen televisions instead of the traditional posters printed on paper. The day culminated in a reception at the Florida Museum of Natural History at Powell Hall on the University of Florida campus, where a sensational Megalodon exhibition had just opened to the public. Overall, the Summit offered valuable insight into the ongoing multi-dimensional digitization and archival processes and the efforts to make them openly accessible, along with networking opportunities in this respect.

A few interesting webpages that were highlighted at the Summit:

  1. The Society For The Preservation of Natural History Collections: http://www.spnhc.org/
  2.  Digital Morphology library: http://www.digimorph.org/
  3.  Photosynth, a software application that analyzes digital photographs and generates a three-dimensional model of the photos and a point cloud of a photographed object: https://photosynth.net/preview/

 

 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Is This Treefrog a Long Way from Home?

Treefrog found on a farm in eastern Kansas.

We recently received the photograph above from Steven Hallstrom, who owns and operates a sustainable farm just north of Tonganoxie. These photographs are of a frog that Steven observed in abundance earlier this season. Steven notes this frogs apparent similarity with the Pine Barrens Treefrog (Hyla andersonii) and is wondering if this identification could be correct given that this species isn't known from anywhere even close to Kansas (it occurs only in a few isolated patches of pine barren habitat along the Gulf and eastern coasts of the United States). 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Two New Monitor Lizards from the Philippines

Photographs of the two new species of Philippine monitor lizards in life.
A team of KU herpetologists and KU herpetology alumni have just described two new species of monitor lizards from the Philippines. These impressive new species were described using an integrative taxonomic approach that combines molecular genetic, morphological, and biogeographic data. Check out their full report in ZooTaxa.