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APSU hosts herpetology conference; reptile lovers welcome

October 29, 2002

More people than you might think enjoy snakes, lizards, alligators, crocodiles, turtles, frogs, toads and salamanders, and scores of these reptile and amphibian lovers will converge on Austin Peay this week.

APSU's Center of Excellence for Field Biology is hosting the Eighth Annual Meeting of the Tennessee Herpetology Society, which begins Thursday, Oct. 31, and concludes Saturday, Nov. 2.

Dr. Floyd Scott, professor of biology and a principal investigator in the Center for Field Biology, is serving as chair of the local arrangements committee for the conference. The conference will be held in the Morgan University Center.

“We are expecting from 75 to 100 people—college professors, high school teachers, wildlife biologists, natural resource managers, hobbyists, environmental educators and just plain old amphibian and reptile enthusiasts—from all across Tennessee and the surrounding states to attend,” Scott said.

Registration for the conference runs from noon until 1 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 31. The registration fee is $10, except for students whose fee is waived.

After a welcome from APSU President Sherry Hoppe, the internationally renowned scientist J. Whitfield Gibbons of the University of Georgia's Savannah River Ecology Laboratory in Aiken will give the keynote address, “Protecting Our Hidden Biodiversity from People Who Can't See the Wetland for the Water.”

Afternoon sessions will focus on such topics as “Funding and TWRA Plans,” “Great Moments in Herping” and “The Pet Herptile Industry in Tennessee.”

Friday morning is set aside for the presentation of contributed papers. After lunch, there will be a panel discussion on “Research Needs of Tennessee's Reptiles and Amphibians.”

The conference concludes on Saturday with a field trip to Barnette Woods Natural Area, led by Scott and Nathan Parker, one of Scott's undergraduate research assistants.

For more information, telephone 7776.