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

Cancelled

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.

Monday, July 13, 2015
Caroline Chaboo

Anyone wanting to participate in a field expedition must have a spirit for adventure, adaptability, and curiosity. Any travel takes one out of the familiar comfort zone; but if a participant is not happy, it negatively affects the entire group.  My task in selecting participants is tough, trying to determine the above qualities and the fit with the group (both for travel and in teams collecting data).  The biggest test comes usually with the first day of hiking —are you physically fit to hike for several hours?  Or, with the first rainfall—will you complain when we get caught in the rain?  Some students daydream of doing international fieldwork, but only when we try it out can we be sure that long hours with wet clothes and a soggy lunch are trivial compared to the exhilaration of being in the field, doing field research.  Fieldwork is not for every biologist; it is okay.....and okay to learn this sooner than later.

Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
Fieldwork goes on, rain or shine!
Daneil taking a break for lunch, during a shower
KU students in thermal spring pool, Costa Rica

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Monday, July 13, 2015
Caroline Chaboo

Well-marked trails at Monteverde
Cloud and mist define "cloud" forest
The 2015 KU class at Monteverde

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Friday, June 26, 2015
John Kaiser

Note: this post is one of dozens written by students participating in a 2015 field course in Costa Rica. The entire series is here

As an Army brat, the concept of home is an idea that differs drastically from the views held by many of my classmates. Since the day I was born, my family has moved around to countless different locations, stayed a few months to possibly a few years, then packed up everything and left. As such, a single location that I can call home is completely foreign to me.

Take, for example, this new place that I am living at now. It’s an army base in Wiesbaden, Germany, a place that I have never seen before in my life. My dog is here, all the stuff that I decided not to bring to college is here, and even my family whom I have not seen in over ten months is here. I’ve lived here for less time than I’ve lived in Costa Rica, yet I already consider this place to be my home. When I told this to several of my classmates, they found this to be absolutely implausible. How could a home be a place I’d never seen before? To me, I’ve always found a home to be a place that makes me comfortable, a place that I can come home to after a hard day and just relax.

This brings me to my trip in Costa Rica. 

Every single day I would undergo some new thrill, some new adventure that very few people get the opportunity to enjoy, from playing with local dogs that randomly decided to include us in their pack, to spotting a sloth on a walk down to the beach, all the way to discovering how some of the best coffee in the Western Hemisphere is prepared. Although I was given the opportunity to do this, a new discovery or adventure is nothing without people to uncover it with.

My classmates were without a doubt an important part of this voyage, from their roles in uncovering exciting new sights out in the wild to being roommates for two straight weeks. Although many wanted to get out of Costa Rica by the end of the two weeks, I was ready to stick it through for quite a while more. Costa Rica had become a place of new friends, vast stores of knowledge and countless adventures. Which brings me back to the ultimate point of this blog post; Costa Rica had become, without a doubt, my home for the past two weeks.

Friday, June 26, 2015
Vickie Grotbeck

Note: this post is one of dozens written by students participating in a 2015 field course in Costa Rica. The entire series is here

My experiences in Costa Rica were unforgettable. I have learned much about myself, the world, and about field biology. The past two weeks have been not only incredibly informative, but lots of fun as well.

Field biology is vigorous; it really makes you realize your limits. Getting muddy and hiking on rather steep trails is difficult. Going off trail to collect specimens that are behind several other plants is hard. Despite all this, it is also rewarding, getting some rare insect in your collection jar or seeing something incredibly rare on a leaf; it is all something that you will never forget. I will never forget seeing a beetle larvae eating a snail, nor the first time I aspirated my first bugs.

My cultural experiences abroad were also enlightening. It was amazing to see how other countries are, from their societal conventions to how they view Americans. I met one person from Costa Rica, he shared much insight into how young adults behave, along with views on culture, both his own and how he views Americans. I have a whole new respect for how tolerant people are, and was pleasantly surprised at how Americans were treated.

Now that I am back in the United Sates I have noticed a few changes in my behavior. I have noticed myself being more active; I take my dog on more regular walks, especially in the morning. I find that I have been craving the food we had while in Costa Rica, ranging from the delicious rice and chicken to the fried platanos. I plan to learn how to make some of the things we ate, and I also plan on keeping up my personal fitness. I hope to participate in another study abroad experience, this experience has opened my eyes to many new experiences, and now I want more.

Friday, June 26, 2015
Kyle Clark

Note: this post is one of dozens written by students participating in a 2015 field course in Costa Rica. The entire series is here

Reflecting back on my study abroad trip to Costa Rica, I can see all the beneficial knowledge and characteristics that I gained from the experience. My cultural view was broadened when we visited our first destination, San Jose. The city was large and densely packed, which gave me a chance to see how the Costa Rica population functions. The street were busy and frankly quite chaotic, compared to those here in Kansas.

Every night while in San Jose we went out for dinner, most of which were Costa Rican cuisine. The food in Costa Rica was far better than what I had expected. The meal sizes were not only larger than what I am use to back in America, but also presented delicious and healthy food. I noticed that the food in Costa Rica  lacked preservatives and processing that most American foods contain, which I found to be much more enjoyable.

I was surprised by the hospitality of the people in the big city of San Jose. Unlike many large American cities, the people were incredibly friendly and genuine despite the language  barrier. It was obvious that the people in Costa Rica value the revenue that tourism brings to the country. Tourism was especially apparent when we reached areas such as Manuel Antonio and Monteverde. In many instances there were more Americans in these two areas than native Costa Ricans. The towns where tourism was heavy flourished due to the high amount of money flowing from the travelers.

The cloud forest in Monteverde probably left me with the best memories because I was able to see the true beauty of the rain Forest. There was life everywhere you looked, and was just as I had imagined it prior to the trip. The cloud forest was a perfect location for our research because there was a large population of Zingiberales in the area. My favorite part of the trip was doing the research itself, and getting my hands dirty looking for bugs. It was amazing to experience biological field work for the first time and I am now interested in participating in an ecology field of some sort. My trip to Costa Rica is one that I will remember for the rest of my life, I had a truly fantastic time!