Blogs

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Costa Rica 2015 blog: Introducing Alex

Alex BarbourMy name is Alex Barbour, and I would like to take the time to tell you a little bit about myself, my interests, and my family. Upon first meeting me, you will find that I am quite shy and quiet. As I get to know people and open up, you will find that I am laid-back person who likes to joke around. In my spare time I love to listen to a wide range of music, follow soccer (Chelsea and Sporting KC), and hang out with my friends. I listen to almost every type of music out there ranging from EDM to classical. I just enjoy good music, and I try not to write songs off just because they fall into a certain genre. As for soccer, the BPL has just finished its season, so I have shifted my focus to our hometown team and the women’s national team. The day that we leave for Costa Rica the women’s world cup will begin, so if the games are broadcast in Costa Rica you will probably find me watching them. 

My future interests lie with healthcare. I am currently working in the laboratory of Drs. Mary and Elias Michaelis on West Campus. The goal of the group is create a therapeutic for Alzheimer ’s disease. Thus far the group has developed a seemingly non-toxic drug that appears to decrease neuropathology. I am very excited to have joined this group, and I look forward to helping them progress towards creating an effective drug for the debilitating disease. After KU I will either join a lab to pursue a PhD or head to medical school.  My family consists my father, mother, and one little brother. My father is an investor, my mother is an accountant at Sprint, and my little brother is pursuing music producing. All of this information should aid you in getting to know me at least briefly. -Alex

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Costa Rica 2015 blog: Introducing Kaitlin

Kaitlin Hello!  My name is Kaitlin Neill.  I am participating in the 2015 Field Biology Study Abroad to Costa Rica!  I am a junior at KU majoring in Organismal Biology, minoring in astrobiology and chemistry and am in the UKanTeach program.  My plan after college is to teach middle school or high school biology and chemistry.

This is the first time that I will be leaving the country.  It’s exciting and scary at the same time. though it is comforting to know that I already know two of the other people going because we went to the same high school.  I booked the flights all by myself and felt very much like a grown up.  Everyone assures me that I will love Costa Rica, which makes it scary that it won’t live up to expectations, thus I have refrained from looking up any beautiful pictures on the internet.  I expect my first post after arrival will mostly consist of “Oh my goodness, this place is awesome!” then a list of cool stuff we see.  Keep a lookout for it :)  

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Costa Rica 2015 blog: Introducing Vickie

Victoria GrotbeckMy name is Vickie Grotbeck and I am a junior at KU, studying Organismal Biology. I hope to learn all about the aspects of field research while in Costa Rica. This will be my first time leaving the US, so I am looking forward to not only gaining scientific knowledge, but some cultural knowledge as well. I can apply what I learn from this trip to future life experiences, since when I graduate I want to do tropical field research. - Vickie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Look out on the patio! A snake!

is that a copperhead??
It's that time of year.  In the late Spring every year we receive calls and alarmed emails from residents with reports of "Copperheads," and "Massasauga Rattlesnakes."  Occasionally these reports contain details of snakes vibrating their tails, apparently reinforcing the "rattlesnake" identification.  Here's an image from a Lawrence resident who reported a colorful snake, length of about 18 inches, on their patio (photographed from safety behind the patio door).  Like most of these Spring reports, the snake species involved here is a non-venomous prairie rat snake, Pantherophis emoryi.  This species is brightly colored when they emerge as "young-of-the-year" juveniles in Spring—and their blotched color pattern superficially resembles the general color pattern of a few species of rattle snake, but generally doesn't look much like a copperhead.  Often, they even vibrate the tip of their tail, in apparent mimicry of a rattlesnake (smart, huh?). Although it is wise to avoid contact with snakes unless one's positive of the identification, even vaguely interested parties can benefit greatly by purchasing a basic field guide and checking out the illustrations. Most local Lawrence "rattlesnake" reports are misidentifications, usually ending badly for the unfortunate animal.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Free Commemorative Posters with New Art by David Dennis


We are pleased to announce that all attendees of SSAR 2015 will receive an 11-by-15–inch commemorative poster featuring a spectacular new watercolor of a male collared lizard by natural history artist David M. Dennis. Dennis's artwork is well-known to herpetologists and has been reproduced in many books including Bill Duellman's "Hylid Frogs of Middle America." The posters are high quality printings on card stock and are laminated for durability. Posters will be available at registration and throughout the meeting to all registered attendees.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Abstract Submission Deadline Rapidly Approaching

The May 15 deadline for submitting titles and abstracts for oral presentations and posters for SSAR 2015 is now only one week away!  We have already received a large number of submissions, so be sure to submit as soon as possible to ensure that we don't run out of space for your presentation. If you are a student, we encourage you to consider signing up for one of the student presentation competitions sponsored by SSAR. The option to join these competitions is available via the abstract submission portal.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Post Rock Country

Several members of the KU herpetology division joined the Kansas Herpetological Society recently for their biannual herp survey which took place near Russell, Kansas from April 24th to the 26th. Russell is in the heart of post rock country. This term comes from the presence of many old limestone fence posts built by the early settlers to this prairie. With few trees, the abundence of limestone just beneath the surface provided an excellent resource for building barbed wire fences. Much of this same rock, having been exposed, cracked and weathered, provides excellent hiding spots for an array of snakes, lizards, and frogs not found in Lawrence, KS.

 

Rafe Brown and Jackson Leibach search beneath exposed rock along a hillside

 

Just one of the many neat finds. This milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum) from just a couple of hours drive to the West looks a bit different than the ones we are used to finding around Lawrence. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Expanded Availability of Fitch Reserve Tours

The previously scheduled tours of the eastern Kansas field sites of legendary snake ecologist Henry Fitch on the afternoon of Thursday, July 30 have already filled to capacity. We were pleased with the outpouring of enthusiasm for this very special SSAR 2015 event and are now pleased to announce that George Pisani has agreed to open up four additional Fitch Reserve tour time slots at 9:00 and 2:00 pm, on both Friday and Saturday; with transportation provided from the meeting venue. Sign up now by contacting the conference organizers via e-mail (ssar2015@ku.edu)!