Thursday, September 10, 2015
Jennifer Humphrey

The KU Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum seeks a Science and Public Programs Communications Intern

Position description:
This student position assists the director of external affairs. The intern will work on a variety of projects spanning the outreach programs of the museum and the research programs of KU Biodiversity Institute scientists and students. Content may span written, audio and video formats, depending on the skills the intern brings to the position. Candidates with an interest in science writing are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Specific tasks may include:
conducting interviews and developing features for;
supporting our efforts in social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; and
assisting the director with communications to  the public, media, and museum members. 

Required qualifications:
Junior, senior or graduate student level standing; 
Majoring in journalism, communications, biology or a related field; 
Strong English writing and editing skills as demonstrated by coursework, samples, resume and cover letter;
Familiarity with social media platforms as indicated in application materials; 
Experience with basic Office software skills (Word, Excel); 
Available to work 10-15 hours per week during weekdays

Preferred Qualifications:
Experience with writing about science or research; 
Proficiency with Adobe programs (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign); 
Experience with online content creation and/or video production. 

Full details and application at

Monday, August 17, 2015
Rich Glor

Curator Emeritus Bill Duellman's book on the history of herpetology at the University of Kansas is now available. From the back cover "The University of Kansas has long been recognized as having one of the world's leading centers for research and education in herpetology. This book chronicles the people - faculty and student alike - who have contributed to maintaining and expanding KU's herpetology program and details their lives, education, research, and fieldwork. The book also describes how a true institutional program, one that transcends individuals, was created and sustained over such a long period through innovative planning and social development. The KU herpetological collections comprise one of the largest and most comprehensive museums of amphibians and reptiles in existence, now numbering in excess of 332,000 alcohol-preserved specimens, together with ancillary collections of osteological preparations, color images, frozen tissues, audio recordings, and the associated scientific literature. This book provides an insider's in depth review of the many successes as well as plans that went awry or even courted disaster. Altogether this book represents a substantial and critical chapter in the history of the discipline of herpetology."

Monday, August 17, 2015
Rich Glor

Curator Emeritus Bill Duellman saw two books published in the Summer of 2015: Herpetology at Kansas: A Centennial History (published by SSAR) and Marsupial Frogs: Gastrotheca & Allied Genera (published by Johns Hopkins Press). Here, from it's back cover, is a bit more detail on the marsupial frogs book that is now available via Johns Hopkins Press: "This scientific masterpiece reveals many aspects of the lives of marsupial frogs and closely allied genera. Native to central and south America, these amphibians differ from other frogs in that they protect their eggs after oviposition by either adhering them to the female's back or placing them in a specialized dorsal pouch (thus the common name, marsupial frog). During mating, the male typically collects the eggs from the female with his feet - often one at a time and always out of water - fertilizes them, and then tucks them into the female's pouch or attaches them to her back. In some species these eggs hatch as tadpoles, but most emerge as minatures of the adults. Even among the tadpoles there is remarkable convergence, with some behaving in the typical manner (feeding and metamorphosing) and others not feeding until they metamorphose. In Marsupial Frogs, William E. Duellman's synthesis of all that is known about the  unique family Hemiphractidae is largely based on decades of his own careful laboratory and field study. He reveals the diversity of the frog's exotic color patterns and geographic distribution. More than 200 photographs, illustrations, and maps accompany the detailed text. This exceptional reference should find its way into the libraries of serious herpetologists, tropical biologists, and developmental biologists."

Thursday, July 30, 2015
Rich Glor

We are pleased to announce that this year's Herpetology Quiz will offer a total of $1800 worth of SSAR publications as prizes! The herpetological quiz comprises of 50 questions based on broad herpetological topics. Each question is worth 1 point and a total of 50 possible points. KU Herpetology Graduate Students will offer two opportunities to take the quiz: Friday and Saturday evenings from 5-6pm in the Pine room on Level 6 of the Kansas Union. The format is a multiple choice and will include many questions based on images. The prize pool will be divided among competitors in three categories: undergraduates graduate students. Winners will be announced during the auction!


Thursday, July 30, 2015
Rich Glor

Kansas has a very rich herpetofauna, with about 100 native species of amphibians and reptiles. Live specimens of nearly every species will be on display this week for the SSAR meeting, with the exception of venomous snakes. The live animal exhibit will occur in Gathering Room 1 of the Oread Hotel on Thursday 4-8pm and Friday through Sunday 8:30am-6pm ad is open to the public. Species on exhibit will include: Western Narrow mouth Toad (Gastrophryne olivacea), Western Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma mavortium), Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys temminckii), Eastern Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris), Texas Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum), Western Milksnake (Lampropeltis gentilis), and Grahamês Crayfish Snake (Regina grahami). This will be a unique opportunity to observe these animals upclose and be able to photograph them. Staff members can answer questions and assist with photography. SSAR started live displays at its meetings in 1968 as a conservation measure to offset collection of wild animals in the vicinity of meeting venues. Turning loose hundreds of eager herpetologists in one locale is bound to have negative effects on the local herpetofauna. Additionally, many species are highly seasonal or difficult to find, so having local herpetologists make a representative collection over the course of a year or more is ideal. We are most grateful to the membership of the Kansas Herpetological Society for making the herculean effort to bring all these animals together and for getting the necessary permits from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks,and Tourism to do so. Many specimens come from the live collection of the Sternberg Museum of Natural History at Fort Hays State University. In particular, we wish to thank Dexter Mardis, Curtis Schmidt, Travis Taggart, and Chris Visser. The person in charge of the exhibit is Dan Fogell ( Please contact him if you have any special needs, concerns, or questions.

Thursday, July 30, 2015
Rich Glor

The following schedule changes occurred after our program was printed.

New Talk

Alfonso et al.

Population divergence and taxonomic implications in Anolis porcus (Squamata: Dactyloidae) from the eastern Cuban paleo-archipelago

Moved from poster session to oral session (Sunday, 11:45-noon in Big 12 Room)

New Poster

Gross et al.

Habitat use, dispersal, hibernation, and survival of maternal and neonatal Copperheads (Crotalinae; Agkistrodon) in a managed southeastern forest landscape.

Added to Poster Session #2


Kawai et al.

Stable isotope analysis of trophic dynamics and terrestrial food web compartmentalization in lizard communities in Madagascar

Oral presentation cancelled from Seibert Competition session on July 31st at 2PM


Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Rich Glor

Due to a last minute maintenance issue with one of our meeting rooms, we have had to make a number of significant changes to the schedule for SSAR 2015. All of these scheduling changes are reflected in the meeting's final program, which is available for download now as a PDF (you can distinguish the final program from earlier versions of the schedule because it includes a cover sheet and an opening section on General Information for Attendees that were lacking in previously released schedules). All attendees will receive the final program in the form of a printed booklet at registration.

If you haven't paid any attention to the schedule up to this point, you shouldn't have to worry about the changes discussed below and can move directly to the current program. If you have made plans based on any version of the schedule available prior to July 29th, you should review the scheduling changes noted below, which impact several important and popular conference events, including the location for Registration and the Presidential Travelogue on Thursday evening, the location of the morning plenaries on Friday, and location for the AV shows.

1. Registration on Thursday, July 30th was originally scheduled to occur in the Union but will now take place only in the Oread Hotel from 4pm - 8pm. Please change your plans to arrive at the Oread Hotel rather than the Union if you intend to register immediately upon your Thursday arrival. The Oread is only a short walk from the Union and staff and signage will be available to assist those who arrive at the original Union location.

2. The opening Presidential Travelogue on Thursday night has been moved from Woodruff Auditorium in the Union to the Griffith Ballroom/All Season's Den at the Oread Hotel. This event will now feature snacks and a full bar (previously it had neither).

3. Plenary sessions on the morning of Friday, July 30th have been moved from Woodruff Auditorium to the Ballroom (also on Level 5 of the Union). The refreshment break between the two morning plenaries will take place in the Ballroom as previously scheduled.

4. To make way for the morning plenaries, the morning portion of Poster Session #1 has been moved to the Jayhawk Room, which is next door to the Ballroom. Poster presenters in session #1 will be able to set-up their posters prior to the start of the session either between 4 and 8pm on Thursday or on Friday morning between 7:30 and 8:30am (posters may also be set-up after the session officially starts at 9am on Friday). Upon completion of the plenary and removal of the seating required for this event, Union staff will move Poster Session #1 into the Ballroom. Poster session authors need not assist with this process. The author reception for Poster Session #1 will occur in the Ballroom as originally scheduled.

5. Exhibitor set-up will be permitted as originally scheduled on Thursday from 4pm - 8pm in the Kansas Ballroom. Exhibitor set-up may also be accomplished on Friday morning from 7:30-8:30 am. During this set-up period, each exhibitor booth will be short two tables to provide space for the stadium seating necessitated by the morning plenaries. These two tables will be restored following completion of the morning plenary and will remain in place throughout the remainder of the meeting (barring additional unforeseen complications).

6. The Harry Greene plenary on Saturday morning at 8:30am has been moved from Woodruff Auditorium to the Big 12 Room, also on Level 5 of the Union.

Sunday, July 19, 2015
Jake Kaufmann

monteverde forestI am constantly astounded by the amount and diversity of nature in Costa Rica. As I vigorously attempt to record the bright colors and structure of plants, animals and insects in my sketchpad, the group scurries along to the next feature of the cloud forest and I am left to wonder at the thriving ecosystem that surrounds me. Attempting to recreate the beautiful scenery is proving more challenging than I thought due to its impressive variety.

“[He] will go mad if the wonders do not cease,” said Alexander Von Humboldt of his fellow traveller on their journey to South America in the 19th century. I can see why upon entering forests such as Zurqui and Monteverde. The abundance of vegetation is an overwhelming indicator of life. Upon closer inspection, the inner workings of a tropical climate emerge from leaf rolls, bromeliads and other popular insect hang- outs. I have chosen to capture my experience of Costa Rica primarily through photography, rather than sketches, due to its timely and accurate sensibilities. There is simply too much to render with just pencil sketches.

This is not to say that I don’t appreciate the investigative qualities of sketching the nature around me. So much is lost behind the lense of the camera if one doesn’t stop to have an intimate understanding of the plants and insects. Dr. Chaboo encourages us to fondle the plants, which may sound peculiar, yet this practice allows us to understand the texture, taste and smell of various plants that we would otherwise not fully comprehend.

Before arriving in Costa Rica, I only had a vague understanding of what a cloud forest could be like. I did not appreciate how unique tropical areas such as Costa Rica are until I squished the damp earth below my boots, cracked open the stem of a zingiberale or collected beetle specimens. We are studying one of the most diverse areas on the planet, considered by some as the apex of creation. I may be mad with wonder, but it only motivates me to keep searching. -Jake Kaufmann

Thursday, July 16, 2015
Rich Glor

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.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Rich Glor

The Agenda for SSAR 2015 is now available in PDF format. The agenda includes information on scheduling for all of the conference's major events. Detailed schedule for oral talks will be posted shortly.