VICE-PRESIDENT/PRESIDENT ELECT (3 candidates)
Brian J. Halstead:
U.S. Geological Survey, Western Ecological Research Center, Dixon, California
I received my B.S. in Biology from Carroll University in 1999 and my Ph.D. in Biology from the University of South Florida in 2008, where I studied spatially-structured predator-prey interactions that focused on eastern coachwhips and Florida scrub lizards in patches of Florida scrub. As a graduate student at USF, I served as the President of the Biology Graduate Student Organization (2002–2003). I began working as a wildlife biologist for the USGS in 2008, and have been there since.
I am currently a Research Wildlife Biologist with the Western Ecological Research Center of the U.S. Geological Survey. My research focuses on conservation of reptiles and amphibians, particularly applications of population ecology to species conservation. Central themes of my research include the influence of land use, climate, and biotic interactions on species distributions and demographic rates; the behavioral response of individuals to habitat change; and providing relevant information for wildlife conservation to resource managers and private landowners. I serve on several graduate committees and as co-advisor for both M.S. and Ph.D. students.
I have been a member of the Herpetologists’ League since 2002, and I have served HL in various capacities. I was a member of the HL Graduate Student Committee from 2002 to 2005. I served as a reviewer for the HL E. E. Williams Award (2013 & 2017) and as a judge for the HL Graduate Research Award (2010). I am currently serving on the HL Board of Trustees (Class of 2018), where I am the HL representative on the JMIH Code of Conduct Committee and a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Committee. In addition to my service to HL, I served as a moderator at JMIH (2009–2011, 2014–2019), as a judge for the ASIH Storer Award (2018 & 2019), and as a reviewer for the SSAR Grants in Herpetology (2010). I am currently Section Editor for snakes for Herpetological Conservation and Biology (since 2018).
The Herpetologists’ League has faced recent challenges, and has emerged stronger from these trials. In particular, the DEI Committee headed by Lori Neuman-Lee has made great strides toward creating a more welcoming, diverse, and inclusive society, and our Communications Secretary, Max Lambert, and his team have done an excellent job engaging people with social media and the Herpetologist Highlight series. I think we need to capitalize on this momentum and continue to strengthen HL, and I believe I have the desire and skills to help guide us forward.
Alicia Mathis is a Distinguished Professor and Head of the Biology Department at Missouri State University in Springfield. She is a behavioral ecologists who studies salamander behavior related primarily to territoriality and aggression, predatory encounters, learning, and chemical communication. With the advent of the amphibian decline crisis, she added research into behavior related to conservation of Ozark (endangered) and eastern (threatened) hellbenders. Alicia is passionate about training the next generation of herpetologists, and, to date, has mentored 31 master’s students (with 4 in progress) and over 50 undergraduate researchers. Last year, she won the Animal Behavior Society’s Penny Bernstein Distinguished Teaching Award. As she tells her students, she teaches the two most fascinating courses at the university—Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy and Behavioral Ecology. For five years, she served as Editor of Herpetologica and previously also served as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Herpetology and Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. She was a Councilor on The Herpetologists’ Leagues Board of Trustees and for seven years was Editor of the fabulous-but-now-defunct HL newsletter, Communications. She currently reviews way too many journal articles and grant proposals. Her doctoral training was in Bob Jaeger’s lab at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and her post-doctoral work on—gasp!—fish behavior was in the late Jan Smith’s lab at the University of Saskatchewan.
Dustin S. Siegel:
Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Southeast Missouri State University
- Sc., Kent State University (2005); M.Sc., Southeastern Louisiana University (2007); Ph.D., Saint Louis University (2011).
- Reproductive biology and its correlation to ecology and evolutionary history of vertebrates.
- Resolutions Committee (ASIH; 2018); Graduate Student-Professional Speed-Networking Workshop (ASIH; 2016-2017); Meeting Management and Planning Committee (JMIH/SSAR; 2016-present); Symposium Co-organizer (HL; 2014); Live Auction Committee (HL; 2013); Publication Policy Committee (ASIH; 2012-present); E. Williams Research Grant Judge (HL; 2012-2013; 2015-present); Board of Governors (ASIH; 2012-present); Associate Editor, Copeia (ASIH; 2012-present); Fellowship Review Committee (Graduate Women in Science; 2011); Graduate Student Workshop Panel Member (ASIH; 2011); Symposium Review Committee (HL; 2011-present); Graduate Student Travel Awards Chair (ASIH; 2010-2011).
- Similar to many professional societies, The Herpetologists’ League finds itself at a fork in the road. Does the society choose the path of least resistance and keep the status quo…or…try a new path? I would argue that a society that chooses the prior will ultimately cease to exist in the near future. With the advent of multiple media platforms for collaboration, self-promotion, and literature access, involvement in societies and their annual meetings is no longer a requirement for professional development. The question remains, what is the new path that will keep societies relevant in the coming years? I do not have the answer to this, but I know that the correct answer will require the viewpoints of a diverse community of society members and non-members at different career stages. As a rather progressive young scholar, I believe that I am capable of leading the Herpetologists’ League in hopes of creating a path that allows The Herpetologists’ League to flourish as one of the top herpetological societies in the world.
EXECUTIVE COUNCIL (5 candidates for 3 places)
Current Position: Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, Lock Haven University.
I primarily study morphological traits and behavior of amphibians and reptiles related to competition and sexual selection. LHU is primarily an undergraduate institution, and I most of my research centers on undergraduate research projects and bring students to JMIH every year to present. I have been a Herp League member since approximately 2006, as well as member of SSAR and ASIH. I have served on a variety of committees for all three herp societies, including, most recently, the SSAR Board of Directors (2018-current), and the HL Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (2018-present). During JMIH, I frequently serve as a Judge for poster or platform presentations and am usually a session moderator. I also participate in student-centered activities at JMIH such as the HL?SSAR Student Social Reception. I’m interested in helping HL become more inclusive for students and members who belong from underrepresented groups in Herpetology.
To learn more about my research and current position, my LHU website is: https://lockhaven.edu/biologydep/faculty/JenniferDeitloff.html
Stephen Mullin earned a B.A. in zoology from the University of California at Berkeley, an M.S. in zoology from the University of South Florida, and a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Memphis. He is a professor of biology at Stephen F. Austin State University, where his research generally focuses on behavioral and community ecology. He was a member of the joint-societies Education Committee (2004-2013), and has served the Herpetologists’ League as Publications Secretary/Webmaster (2005-2013), Associate Editor (2009-2012) and Editor of Herpetologica (2013-2019). Steve is a Life Member of HL, and has also served on the Advisory Board for the Midwest chapter of Partners in Amphibian & Reptile Conservation (2006-2011).
I received a B.S in Evolution and Ecology from the University of California at Davis in 1999 and a PhD in EcoIogy, Evolution, and Behavior from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008. I have been a member of The Herpetologists’ League since 1999, and I have previously served as a judge for the HL Graduate Student Research Award. I am now the Associate Curator of Herpetology and Co-director of the Urban Nature Research Center at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Since joining the Museum in 2012, I have increasingly studied the impacts of urbanization on wildlife. I am an advocate for citizen science and believe partnerships between professional scientists and community members can revolutionize scientific research, allowing professional scientists to ask questions that would otherwise go unanswered. I have developed multiple citizen science projects that have engaged thousands of community members and this has given me the opportunity to co-author multiple natural history notes with citizen scientists. I also co-organized the Citizen Science in Herpetology Symposium at the 2019 JMIH. In my position at a public-facing natural history museum, I was co-curator of the Museum's permanent Nature Lab exhibit, which opened in 2013 and has now been seen by over five million people, and co-authored a popular press nature guide entitled Wild LA: Explore the Amazing Nature in and around Los Angeles.
With a background in academia, natural history museums, citizen science, informal education, and exhibit development, I can bring diverse experiences and viewpoints to my role on the Executive Council. I am especially interested in helping to grow HL’s membership and to increasing diversity among HL’s membership and meeting attendees.
Sara began her career in herpetology by going for walks in the woods with her grandmother in northeastern Pennsylvania, with her grandmother always encouraging her to flip over rocks and logs to see what was under them; this quickly turned into a passion for finding herps, especially snakes! Sara did her undergrad work at UMass Amherst, a MS at the University of Central Arkansas where she focused on turtle ecology, and a PhD at City University of New York with a focus on snake systematics. Her work on disentangling and revising milksnake taxonomy during her dissertation was followed by postdoctoral positions at the American Museum of Natural History studying snakes of Madagascar and then a second postdoc at LSU’s Museum of Natural Science. At LSU, Sara worked on a method that allowed for extracting and sequencing DNA from old preserved museum specimens, which has previously proven challenging. In 2017, Sara started her current position at Rutgers University Newark, where she is an assistant professor in the department of biological sciences. The Ruane Lab seeks to simultaneously inform reptile and amphibian systematics while also answering broad, contemporary questions in evolutionary biology. Current research focuses on the phylogenetics of the Malagasy pseudoxyrhophiines and examining undescribed diversity for poorly known New Guinean snakes. New and upcoming research from the Ruane Lab includes co-historical demography and genetic diversity of NJ squamates in the Pine Barrens and urban snake population dynamics and gene flow. While Sara’s interests in herpetology are broad, her lab focuses primarily on snakes, especially with respect to systematics, phylogenetics, and phylogeography. Sara is an active member of ASIH, HL, and SSAR, holding various positions such as ASIH Board of Governor and HL Symposium Committee member and chair; she has been regularly attending JMIH meetings since 2007.
I received a B.S. in Biology from Eckerd College in 1982 and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida in 1992 and 1999, respectively. My Masters research was focused on the ecology of the gopher tortoise in north-central Florida and my Ph.D. project was on the status and ecology of the ploughshare tortoise. After completing my Ph.D. I worked for the U.S. Geological Survey as a research wildlife biologist and conducted an amphibian inventory and monitoring project at Okefenokee Swamp. In 2001 I took a research position at the Jones Center at Ichauway in southwestern Georgia, where I have advised more than 35 graduate students. My research program at the Center includes a long term study of the effects of predation on the gopher tortoise, ecology of upland snakes, and habitat predictors of pond-breeding amphibians. I am an active member of the Gopher Tortoise Council (Co-chair 2000-2002, Awards Committee- 2002-current) and The Wildlife Society (Georgia Chapter Secretary 2007, Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Best Paper award committee chair 2018 and 2019). I was the co-chair of the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Henri Seibert Student Award Committee (2006-2007). I have been a member of the Herpetologists’ League since 2002 and have served as chair of the Graduate Research Award Committee (2003) and as treasurer (2003-2007). As a member of the Executive Council of the League, I would promote involvement of students, increased diversity in both membership and leadership, and continued excellence of our publications.
EDITOR, Herpetological Monographs (1 candidate)
Department of Biological Sciences, Broward College
Michael Harvey studies morphology and systematics of reptiles and amphibians from unexplored rainforests of the Neotropics and S.E. Asia. The National Science Foundation and Conservation International have supported his extensive fieldwork in Bolivia and on Sumatra. He served as an associate editor for Herpetologica from 2007–2011 and became the editor of Herpetological Monographs in 2012.
EDITOR, Herpetologica (1 candidate)
Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Duquesne University
1989, B.S. with honors, Biology, B.A., French, Indiana University
1992, M.S. Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago
1999, Ph.D., Biology, Arizona State University.
1989-1992, Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Chicago
1992-1994, Research Technician, Arizona State University
1994-1999, Graduate Teaching and Research Assistant, Arizona State University
2000-2003, NIH NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow, Neuroscience, Boston University
2004-2011, Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences, Duquesne University
2011-present, Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, Duquesne University;
Service to Professional Societies
2009-present: Associate Editor, Herpetologica
2015-2017: Secretary, Division of Comparative Endocrinology, Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology
2016: Co-organizer of the “Special Highlands Conference on Plethodontid Salamander Biology”, August 4-7th, 2016, Highlands NC
Effects of Environmental Stressors on Vertebrate Physiology and Behavior; Antimicrobial and Pheromonal Properties of Amphibian Skin Secretions; Science Education
Project 1: Impact of Environmental Stressors on Animal Health and Disease
Environmental stressors such as pesticides, acid mine drainage, and ethanol exposure are potential stressors that disrupt physiological processes and behaviors essential to survival and reproduction. I examine the effects of environmental stressors on vertebrate biology using amphibians as models. This work involves characterizing responses to both natural and manmade stressors, in the field and the laboratory. My work measures the effects of environmental stressors on a variety of endpoints including gene expression, developmental rate, neurobiology, behavior, stress hormone levels, brain neuropeptide levels, intermediary metabolism, and immune function, including susceptibility to the amphibian chytrid fungus.
Project 2: Antimicrobial and Pheromonal Properties of Amphibian Skin Secretions
Amphibians have extremely glandular skin remarkable for the wide diversity of molecular structures and functions. I study amphibian skin secretions in three overlapping contexts: 1) pheromonal processing by the nervous system and pheromonal effects on behavior and physiology; 2) the ability of amphibian skin secretions to inhibit microbial growth of bacteria that are relevant to human health; and 3) the ability of amphibian skin secretions to inhibit growth of amphibian chytrid fungi that are contributing to serious declines of amphibians around the globe.
Project 3: Community-Engaged Learning
As part of an NSF REU Site Award, I am incorporating community-engaged learning into our summer undergraduate research program. This work is an extension of previous work that showed the efficacy of combining community engagement, novel research, and science communication in a classroom laboratory experience. See http://abslnews.weebly.com for more information about this previous work.