I'm a herpetologist by training but a naturalist at heart. My masters thesis is looking into the Panamint alligator lizard, Elgaria panamintina. In particular I'm focusing on identifying its range and testing out a variety of novel techniques which may benefit the field of herpetology as a whole. I post things that interest me and often post updates on what I'm doing in the vertebrate museum, in the field, or in the lab.

 

Finally finished this! Thought it was nearly done until this morning when I dropped the external hard drive and corrupted the file… built it from scratch throughout today and it turned out better than the previous one, one gigantic vector-based file that scaled to a 40x30-something for print.
Earth day poster & a black and white coloring-sheet version (blown up to be huge… 7 x 8 pages (8.5x11) that will be colored by kids at an earth day event next week.)

Finally finished this! Thought it was nearly done until this morning when I dropped the external hard drive and corrupted the file… built it from scratch throughout today and it turned out better than the previous one, one gigantic vector-based file that scaled to a 40x30-something for print.

Earth day poster & a black and white coloring-sheet version (blown up to be huge… 7 x 8 pages (8.5x11) that will be colored by kids at an earth day event next week.)

rhamphotheca:

WORK IN CURRENT HERPETOLOGY:
Two New Alligator Snapping Turtle Species Announced, Some Face Localized Risks
by Brett Smith, Red Orbit
A new study published in the journal Zootaxa reveals that the alligator snapping turtle is actually three different species – not one as previously thought.The report also indicated that the localized distribution of these species, which includes coastal rivers of the northern Gulf of Mexico, poses a significant threat to their continued survival.
“We have to be especially careful with our management of the Suwannee River species because this turtle exists only in that river and its tributaries,” said study author Travis Thomas, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission scientist, referring to a small river that winds through parts of Georgia and Florida. “If something catastrophic were to occur, such as a chemical spill or something that affects the entire river, it could potentially devastate this species. The turtle is extremely limited by its habitat. All it has is this river and it has nowhere else to go.”
Based on analyses of the fossil record and modern turtle morphology, study researchers revised the genus Macrochelys to include Macrochelys temminkii and the two newly-described species, Macrochelys apalachicolae and Macrochelys suwanniensis. Constrained to river systems that empty into the northern Gulf of Mexico, the species are split by geography, which triggered changes in genetics, according to the study team…
(read more: Red Orbit)
photo: Gary M. Stolz/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

rhamphotheca:

WORK IN CURRENT HERPETOLOGY:

Two New Alligator Snapping Turtle Species Announced, Some Face Localized Risks

by Brett Smith, Red Orbit

A new study published in the journal Zootaxa reveals that the alligator snapping turtle is actually three different species – not one as previously thought.The report also indicated that the localized distribution of these species, which includes coastal rivers of the northern Gulf of Mexico, poses a significant threat to their continued survival.

“We have to be especially careful with our management of the Suwannee River species because this turtle exists only in that river and its tributaries,” said study author Travis Thomas, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission scientist, referring to a small river that winds through parts of Georgia and Florida. “If something catastrophic were to occur, such as a chemical spill or something that affects the entire river, it could potentially devastate this species. The turtle is extremely limited by its habitat. All it has is this river and it has nowhere else to go.”

Based on analyses of the fossil record and modern turtle morphology, study researchers revised the genus Macrochelys to include Macrochelys temminkii and the two newly-described species, Macrochelys apalachicolae and Macrochelys suwanniensis. Constrained to river systems that empty into the northern Gulf of Mexico, the species are split by geography, which triggered changes in genetics, according to the study team…

(read more: Red Orbit)

photo: Gary M. Stolz/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

science-sexual:

breelandwalker:

*HIC-BLORP*

This is a fucking seal with hiccups which makes is like fifteen times funnier because they’re such ridiculous predators.

science-sexual:

breelandwalker:

*HIC-BLORP*

This is a fucking seal with hiccups which makes is like fifteen times funnier because they’re such ridiculous predators.

(Source: jake--from--statefarm)

So… the question now is, can I somehow shove together some sorry excuse for a thesis where I’m not allowed to touch any animals I find.

I can look at them… but I can’t touch them. (so all the work I did to collaborate and do preliminary tests… worth NOTHING. NOTHING. NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING.  At best I can maybe field validate the species distribution model… which I doubt is good enough for a masters thesis)

Why? Well apparently I’ll need a special federal permit from the forest they’re found on to touch them… the wait time is minimum eight months (if I were the first person in the queue… which is very much not the case… lots of permits waiting right now), so more likely well over a year… by which point my state permit will be expired (which I needed to apply for this permit)… oh, and I’d have to pay a land use, per-acre fee of approximately $3,000 which can not be waived. As far as I can tell this is the only forest to have such long wait times/high permit fees… but I need to survey this forest to get useful data results. 

So even if I was willing to make myself have a four year masters program… there’s not even a slight guarantee that I’ll have my permits in order next summer.

At this point I’m about done with trying to do research on panamintina… they’re cursed. That’s pretty much my conclusion. Its taken me this long to get the state permit in hand just to find out that the federal permit (which required the state permit to apply) is going to take just as long.  No one’s been able to successfully study them… and suddenly I understand why.

I’m not one to admit defeat… but really, I don’t see any other valid option at this point.

Maybe I can turn my individual ID thing into a thesis…

ugh.

jtotheizzoe:

The Moon Goes Red Tonight
Are you in North, Central, or South America? Do you like staying up late and staring up at the sky? Yes? Then I have good news!
You can catch a total lunar eclipse Monday night, in all of its dusty-red glory, from just about anywhere in North America with a clear view of the night sky. The moon will enter the darkest part of Earth’s shadow (the “umbra”) at 1:58 AM ET, and remain there until 4:24 AM ET. At 3:06 ET, the moon will be completely darkened by the Earth’s shadow!
Except that the moon won’t be completely dark. During a lunar eclipse, the moon turns a dusty shade of red. Why is that? You can thank Earth’s atmosphere.
To understand the red color of a lunar eclipse, it’s best to see how Earth would look from the moon. Check out the image of Earth eclipsing the sun (it’s not a real photo, btw. It was created from several images taken by Apollo astronauts):

(via Astro Bob)
See that halo of light around Earth? Our diffuse shell of air and dust bends and reflects a portion of the eclipsed sun’s light around the planet and onto the obscured moon. And since only the longest wavelengths of light make it through our atmosphere without being scattered away by the air molecules (the same reason that sunsets are red), the moon is bathed in crimson! Here’s a video I made about that atmospheric color show:

Check out more eclipse goodness at Bad Astronomy. Top image via Wikipedia.

jtotheizzoe:

The Moon Goes Red Tonight

Are you in North, Central, or South America? Do you like staying up late and staring up at the sky? Yes? Then I have good news!

You can catch a total lunar eclipse Monday night, in all of its dusty-red glory, from just about anywhere in North America with a clear view of the night sky. The moon will enter the darkest part of Earth’s shadow (the “umbra”) at 1:58 AM ET, and remain there until 4:24 AM ET. At 3:06 ET, the moon will be completely darkened by the Earth’s shadow!

Except that the moon won’t be completely darkDuring a lunar eclipse, the moon turns a dusty shade of red. Why is that? You can thank Earth’s atmosphere.

To understand the red color of a lunar eclipse, it’s best to see how Earth would look from the moon. Check out the image of Earth eclipsing the sun (it’s not a real photo, btw. It was created from several images taken by Apollo astronauts):

(via Astro Bob)

See that halo of light around Earth? Our diffuse shell of air and dust bends and reflects a portion of the eclipsed sun’s light around the planet and onto the obscured moon. And since only the longest wavelengths of light make it through our atmosphere without being scattered away by the air molecules (the same reason that sunsets are red), the moon is bathed in crimson! Here’s a video I made about that atmospheric color show:

Check out more eclipse goodness at Bad Astronomy. Top image via Wikipedia.

amnhnyc:

The Museum’s The Power of Poison: Be a Detective iPad app has been nominated for a 2014 Webby People’s Voice Award.  Download the free app and cast your vote here. 

amnhnyc:

The Museum’s The Power of Poison: Be a Detective iPad app has been nominated for a 2014 Webby People’s Voice Award.  Download the free app and cast your vote here. 

sarawr-monster:

'Eastern Box Turtle', fantastic photograph taken at the Wildlife Observation Center, The Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Gillette, New Jersey, USA by Dah Professor on Flickr [Source]

sarawr-monster:

'Eastern Box Turtle', fantastic photograph taken at the Wildlife Observation Center, The Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Gillette, New Jersey, USA by Dah Professor on Flickr [Source]

aclockworkoviraptor:

Southern Alligator Lizard (Elgaria multicarinata) - Santa Cruz, CA

aclockworkoviraptor:

Southern Alligator Lizard (Elgaria multicarinata) - Santa Cruz, CA

spectacularuniverse:

This is a Wood Frog, photographed by Jeff LeClere. Though it may look perfectly ordinary, this little guy has the extraordinary ability to tolerate two thirds of its body water being frozen during winter, during which time its heart may stop beating for up to two weeks!

spectacularuniverse:

This is a Wood Frog, photographed by Jeff LeClere. Though it may look perfectly ordinary, this little guy has the extraordinary ability to tolerate two thirds of its body water being frozen during winter, during which time its heart may stop beating for up to two weeks!