ASH conference Mylor 2022 In Mid-July amidst a cold and wintery Adelaide, the 55 Australian Society of Herpetologists (ASH) conference took place in Mylor in the beautiful Adelaide Hills. The conference was organised by Professor Mike Gardner and his team from the Lab of Evolutionary Genetics and Sociality (LEGS) of Flinders University helped by a few others from the SA herpetology community including Mark Hutchinson, Mike Thompson and Kate Sanders. This was the first time the conference had been held since 2018 – which was a Covid ago. A fantastic time was had by all with some notable names giving plenaries from herpetology past, including Hal Heatwole and Hal Cogger (who received a standing ovation!). Plenty of budding new herpetologists as well as the organisation is very supportive of student talks. These conferences are held in such a way that everyone eats breakfast, lunch and dinner together. Some ASH traditions were upheld with the infamous Quiz night run by Glen Shea and a dinner/band/dance night to round out the festivities – plus lots of great scientific talks. This was the largest conference held by ASH and many of the younger participants it was their first face to face!
Masters student Kim Michael received the Australian Society of Herpetologists 2021 Grant
Honours student Deanne Trewartha received the Lirabenda Endowment Fund Research Grants 2020 from Field Naturalist Society of SA. The Lirabenda research grant was used for travel and equipment costs (data loggers) for my project on lineage specific thermal behaviours in pygmy bluetongues. Thanks to the funding we were able to purchase new data loggers and measure temperature and humidity over the active season (2020 to 2021), stay tuned for results! By quantifying pygmy bluetongue thermal behaviours and monitoring their persistence/variation in a new location, valuable insight for future translocations and increased understanding of the mechanisms behind translocation survival can be gained. This data can be applied beyond pygmy bluetongues, to potentially increase translocation success for similar species under threat from anthropogenic and climatic change.
Honours students Sarah Barker and Kendall Whitaker received Nature Foundation grants. Sarah will use the funds to conduct her research which will investigate the influence of habitat availability in natural and manipulated sites on social living in gidgee skinks. Kendall will use the funds to perform next-gen sequencing on pygmy blue-tongue MHC I and II loci.
Manuscript on the diet of sand goanna (Varanus gouldii) has just come out in the IRCF Reptiles and Amphibians. Check it out here
Past Posts for the LEGS Website
Hard times for sleepy lizards call for a dietary shift