Editors Note: I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Dr. Whit Gibbons at the Conference. He has dedicated and devoted his life to the study and preservation of reptiles and amphibians. He very much enjoys working with people to educate about the well being of reptiles. His very enjoyable and informative talk was based upon his own experiences and observations in the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory in South Carolina and other locations in the South. Thank you, Whit for coming to Ohio to share your stories and knowledge with us about Reptiles and Amphibians. Please come back soon! Mike Schumacher
3rd Ohio Reptile Research & Conservation Conference
J. Whit Gibbons, Professor Emeritus at the University of Georgia's Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL) http://srel.uga.edu/
Herpetofauna are known as hidden biodiversity. Because of the clandestine nature of almost all species of reptiles, almost all of
the time, scientists know surprisingly little about many aspects of their life history and ecology. Whit Gibbons will discuss his long-term research on reptiles, unveiling some of the mysteries that continue to baffle herpetologists - - Why have the largest known black swamp snakes been caught only by kingsnakes? Why can no one find 2-year-old diamondback terrapins? Why do blue tail skinks sometimes kill house cats? Ignorance about reptiles is even more apparent among the general public, resulting in a lack of familiarity with most species and myths, misunderstandings, and irrational fears about others. Whit concludes with recommendations for what research ecologists and conservation biologists can do to remedy the problem that so many people are indifferent toward the wellbeing of reptiles.
Whit Gibbons is Professor Emeritus of Ecology at the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory
(SREL). He is author of 20 books on herpetology and has published more than 250 articles in scientific journals as well as numerous popular articles in magazines. He has had numerous interviews and commentaries about reptiles and amphibians on National Public Radio. In addition to writing a weekly newspaper column featuring environmental issues for more than 30 years, he has authored encyclopedia articles on herpetology that have appeared in World Book, Compton's, and Encyclopedia Britannica. He also wrote the first merit badge booklet on “Reptile and Amphibian Study” for the Boy Scouts of America. Whit is a frequent speaker at civic and scientific meetings, giving talks about reptiles and amphibians to all ages from kindergarten to college to retirement, emphasizing ecological research and environmental awareness.
Herpetology at SREL
The University of Georgia's Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL) has been an important center for extensive and intensive herpetological research since 1967. SREL researchers have captured, marked, and released more than 1 million individuals of 100 species of reptiles and amphibians. These captures represent more species of reptiles and amphibians than have been confirmed from any other public land area in the United States. Participants in the SREL herpetology research programs have always included faculty of the University of Georgia, post-doctoral associates, graduate students and undergraduate research participants from a variety of universities. Other participants include research technicians and numerous visiting herpetologists from throughout the world. Research is conducted on SRS and at sites across the U.S. Current research with amphibians and reptiles includes emphasis in ecotoxicology, wetlands ecology, and applied conservation and management.
Saturday, March 8, 2014 from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM (EST)
Ohio Historical Society