Please see this sign-up sheet or contact one of the above committee members for more information.
The logo for JMIH 2019 was created by visual science communicator Diana Marques (www.dianamarques.com), drawing on Utah’s iconic landscape and endemic fauna. Images of the Humpback Chub (Gila cypha), Utah Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum utahensis), Utah Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis pyromelana infralabialis), and the skeleton of an Eocene freshwater stingray from the Green River Formation (†Heliobatis radians) are integrated into the landscape of southern Utah. The two mesas, known as Bears Ears, are the natural and cultural focus of Bears Ears National Monument (BENM) and are sacred to the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, and Ute peoples. Established in 2016, BENM protects over 1.3 million acres rich in herpetofaunal, paleontological, and archeological resources. A recent proposal to reduce its area by 83% leaves the future of BENM in doubt.
The Local Host Committee welcomes our colleagues to Snowbird, Utah for the 2019 Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Located at about 8,000 ft (2,400 meters) elevation in the Wasatch Range, Snowbird provides a self-contained conference venue with comfortable lodging and meeting facilities only about 30 mi (48 km) from Salt Lake City International Airport and metropolitan SLC. This spectacular setting in the Northern Rockies is nestled in a beautiful montane basin, with abundant hiking trails and family-friendly activities on site.
As always, attendees can look forward to outstanding plenary presentations, many contributed papers and posters, the SSAR President’s Travelogue, live auction, and other annual events. In addition, this year’s JMIH will host four exciting symposia. Three are jointly sponsored by ASIH, HL, and SSAR: (1) Empowering #HERpers in Academia and Beyond; (2) Citizen Science in Herpetology: Productive Past and Promising Future; and (3) The Expanding Role of Natural History Collections. An additional symposium, (4) The Sensory Biology of Elasmobranch Fishes, is sponsored by AES.
The Local Host Committee invites attendees to come early or stay longer at Snowbird, which is offering conference lodging rates for several days before and after the meeting. In addition to the many outdoor activities available to visitors (such as hiking, climbing, mountain biking, and fly fishing), there are myriad attractions in the Salt Lake City area. These include the new Natural History Museum of Utah, Red Butte Garden, the Hogle Zoo, The Leonardo (an interactive science and art museum), and the Tracy Aviary. To the east of Salt Lake City is Dinosaur National Monument and a short distance south is the Living Planet Aquarium, the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point, and, in Provo, the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum at Brigham Young University, which features modern museum displays and outstanding research collections of fishes, amphibians, and reptiles.
Dining options on the grounds of Snowbird, range from fine cuisine to informal eateries, and a tram takes visitors to a mountaintop restaurant at 11,000 ft (3,300 m). In the nearby Cottonwood Heights and Fort Union communities, there are a variety of restaurants, including multiple brewpubs, all featuring outstanding, locally crafted beverages. The diversity of Utah beers and distilled spirits often go unrecognized outside of our region, but they are among the finest available anywhere in the country. In SLC proper, dining, drinking, and entertainment venues are plentiful. To the east of SLC is Park City, home to the annual Sundance Film Festival. This town is a figurative feast for the eyes, with over two dozen art galleries, and also a literal feast, as an oasis of fine dining.
Beyond the Salt Lake City region, one can travel a short distance north to Antelope Island State Park, with herds bison, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, and mule deer. A bit farther north lie the rural college town of Logan and beautiful Bear Lake on the Idaho border. Farther north are the Wind River Range, the Grand Tetons, and Yellowstone National Park, still only a 5-hr drive away. Many visitors, however, may choose to extend their visit by heading south into Utah’s famed red rock country, home to our “Mighty Five” national parks. Arches National Park and the resort town of Moab are only a 4-hr drive away, while Canyonlands, Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Capitol Reef National Parks will repay the additional driving effort they require. Finally, we encourage our colleagues to visit our two most recent national monuments, Grand Staircase Escalante and Bears Ears, both featuring spectacular scenery, an abundance of desert fauna, and countless archeological and cultural sites – and both the subject of current political controversy.
The vast and environmentally diverse state of Utah welcomes visitors with abundant opportunities for travel and outdoor recreation. We hope that participants in the 2019 JMIH will take some additional time to enjoy the Northern Rockies, Canyon Country, and the Intermountain West.
Alan Savitzky, Utah State University
Catherine Malone, Utah Valley University