Thursday, May 28, 2015
John Kaiser

My name is John Kaiser and I will be a junior at KU studying Molecular and Cellular Biology. I have a deep interest in studying organisms on both the ecological and molecular levels. During the Field Biology Program to Costa Rica, I hope to expand my scientific knowledge and research skills by engaging in ecological exploration to better understand the interactions between organisms in the lush ecosystems of Costa Rica. Additionally, I plan on learning more about the Spanish dialect native to Costa Rica in order to better understand the diversification of the Spanish language and culture throughout Central America. -John

Thursday, May 28, 2015
Vickie Grotbeck

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, May 28, 2015
Kaitlin Neill

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 :)  

Friday, May 22, 2015
Rafe Brown

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.

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Thursday, May 14, 2015
Rafe Brown

Congratulations to Scott, who passed his orals yesterday!  In this picture he celebrates with Herpetology Division members at the Bird Dog Cafe.  Next week, Scott departs for a month of field work in the Solomon Islands.  What a life.   The rest of us will stay put, to take care of the many preparations leading up to the SSAR meetings at KU in late July.  Wait a minute....I see what's happening here!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Rich Glor

Second year KU Herpetology student Carl Hutter has just been awarded a Rosemary Grant Graduate Student Research Award from the Society for the Study of Evolution. This $2500 award will help further Carl's work on the systematics of Madagascan frogs. Congratulations to Carl!

Thursday, May 7, 2015
Rich Glor

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.

Thursday, May 7, 2015
Rich Glor


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.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Rich Glor

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)!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Kerry Cobb

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. 

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