2019 Symposia

Citizen Science in Herpetology: Productive Past and Promising Future

Sunday, July 28, 2019
8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Ballroom 2 – The Cliff Lodge

Jointly sponsored by ASIH, HL, and SSAR.

There is a long history of non-professionals making important contributions to herpetology, but in recent decades, the increasing use of digital cameras, smartphone apps, GPS technology, social media, and the internet have fueled the rapid development and growth of citizen science projects that specifically invite participation by non-professionals. Within the field of herpetology, citizen science projects are having important conservation and research outcomes. In this symposium, presenters will discuss numerous aspects of citizen science in herpetology, from historical projects to contemporary projects that are providing new methods for conservation, biodiversity, ecology, evolution, and behavior research. A primary goal of this symposium is to generate a review article on the use of citizen science for herpetological research and to highlight future opportunities for community partnerships to enhance herpetological research. Presenters and attendees are invited to participate in break-out discussions at the end of the symposium to begin drafting this review.

Featured speakers include: Cameron Barrows, Don Becker, Russ Burke, Andrew Durso, Toby Hibbitts, Alexandra Kanonik, Travis LaDuc, Jane Li, Robin Maritz, Dillon Monroe, Greg Pauly, Todd Pierson, Bree Putman, Willem Roosenburg, Wade Ryberg, Brian Todd, John Vanek, and Amanda Zellmer.


Russ Burke: 516.463.7272; Russell.L.Burke@hofstra.edu. Professor of Biology, Hofstra University.

Greg Pauly: 213.763.3212; gpauly@nhm.org. Curator of Herpetology, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Professional Women in Herpetology:  Lessons and Insights Symposium

Saturday, July 27, 2019 
8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.        
Ballroom 1 – The Cliff Lodge

This symposium will highlight women leaders in science policy, academic administration, collections, research, and conservation. Talks by a diverse array of speakers will be followed by a moderated panel discussion on (and possible solutions to) topics that can disproportionately impact women in science and their careers, such as: a) implicit bias and gender/sexual harassment, b) family and dual-careers, and c) service, mentorship and other obligations within academic departments and units. An open discussion period will follow to provide opportunities for full audience participation and engagement. The theme of the symposium is timely at the national level because of new trends in graduate education and postdoctoral training (e.g., NIH’s Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) initiative) as well as a national emphasis on improving the retention of women in science (e.g., National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine 2018 report on sexual harassment of women in academia; new NSF award conditions guidelines). An overarching goal of the symposium is to improve the visibility of women leaders in herpetology and enhance the discussion around ways to encourage diversity and inclusivity in science.

Featured Speakers include:  Nicole Angeli, Rayna Bell, Marty Crump, Alison Davis Rabosky, Mo Donnelly, Karen Lips, Anne Maglia, Martha Munoz, Priya Nanjappa, Wendy Palen, Leslie Rissler, Bree Rosenblum, Becca Tarvin, and Nicole Valenzuela.


Leslie J. Rissler:  205-393-6054, leslie.rissler@gmail.com. Division of Environmental Biology, National Science Foundation, Alexandria, VA

The Behavior and Sensory Biology of Elasmobranch Fishes

Saturday, July 27, 2019
8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Rendezvous A&B – The Snowbird Center

2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the Donald R. Nelson symposium on the behavior and sensory biology of elasmobranch fishes.  Don Nelson imagined, proposed, or developed technology and equipment for studying behavior in the field.  He championed cutting edge technological advances that would facility study of behavior and of the sensory mechanisms that underlay those behavioral responses. Since the last symposium on sensory biology & behavior, there have been tremendous advances in technology, and the development of entirely new techniques, that now allow us to gather more data than previously imagined.  The data are of higher quality, greater resolution, and in some cases, entirely different from what was collected in the past.  In much the same way as there have been advances in the technology and techniques for the study of behavior in the field, there have been similar advances for the investigation of the sensory mechanisms that drive behavior.  These includes techniques in lab-based electrophysiology, molecular techniques, and imaging developments that were previously unavailable or prohibitively expensive.  This plethora of information provides a deeper and more robust understanding of behavior and permits us to answer questions that were previously intractable.  Due to the development of these new tools and techniques, the time is ripe for a review of the current state of knowledge and a prospective of where the the study of behavior is leading.  Therefore, we are presenting a symposium that focuses upon behavior, the sensory systems that drive behavior, and the technology that enables us to study behavior.  The symposium will review the current state of knowledge and provide a forward looking prospective to drive future research questions.

Featured Speakers include: Peter Klimley, Jayne Gardiner, Christine Bedore, Tricia Meredith, Kyle Newton, Timothy Tricas, Conner White, Chris Clark, Yannis Papastamatiou, Yuuki Watanabe, Joy Young, Emily Meese, Sarah Hoffmann, Braden Ruddy, Kara Yopak, Christopher Lowe, Stephen Kajiura


Stephen Kajiura; kajiura@fau.edu; 561-297-2677 (co-organizer)

Christopher Lowe; Chris.Lowe@csulb.edu; 562-985-4918 (co-organizer)

The Expanding Role of Natural History Collections Symposium

Sunday, July 28, 2019 
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.         
Ballroom 1 – The Cliff Lodge

Museum specimens are the bedrock of systematic and taxonomic research, provide the basis for repeatability or reinterpretation of observations, and are fundamental to fields such as ecology, behavior, and development. Recent technological advances continue to expand how specimens are used and approached in research. Mike Webster, editor of The Extended Specimen, will provide an introduction to this symposium. Other speakers will include students, collections staff, curators, researchers, and educators from across the ichthyological and herpetological spectra, and will present on four general themes: 1) collection, curation, and use of specimens, particularly non-traditional specimens; 2) the use of specimens and technological advances in morphology, ontogeny, systematics, and taxonomy; 3) specimen use in other fields of biology and ecology; and 4) specimen use in education and outreach. This symposium aims to advance the visibility of the inherent and critical value of natural history museums and the care of the specimens they protect for future generations.


Eric Hilton:  804.684.7178, ehilton@vims.edu, Professor of Marine Science, Curator, Nunally Ichthyology Collection, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William & Mary

Sarah Huber
Greg Watkins-Colwell


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