Hundreds of fish, reptile, amphibian researchers to convene conference in Providence, July 7-11

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. – July 6, 2010 – The annual conference of researchers studying the biology, ecology and natural history of fish, amphibians and reptiles will be held at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence from July 7 to 11. Nearly 900 professional and student scientists from 26 countries are registered to attend.

The event is a joint meeting of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, the American Elasmobranch Society, the Society for the Study of Reptiles and Amphibians, and the Herpetologists’ League. It is the first time in 30 years that any of these societies have met in New England.

“We are excited to host this national conference in Rhode Island for the first time,” said Jacqueline Webb, professor of biological sciences at the University of Rhode Island and chair of the local host committee. “The oil spill in the Gulf is bringing renewed public attention to the health of fishes and other animals, and so we are organizing a panel of Gulf region scientists to discuss the impacts of the spill on fishes, amphibians and reptiles.”

URI, Brown University and the University of Connecticut are hosting the meeting.

Plenary speakers on July 8 from 9 a.m. to noon include UConn Professor Kentwood Wells on “The Social Behavior of Anuran Amphibians (frogs),” Academy of Natural Sciences ichthyology curator John Lundberg on “Authentic American Cryptoichthyology (hidden fishes),” and University of Malaysia Professor Indraneil Das on “Perceptions, Use and Conservation of Amphibians by Indigenous People Worldwide.”

A panel discussion on the anticipated affects the Gulf oil spill will have on fish, reptiles and amphibians will take place on Saturday, July 10 at 8 p.m.

Hundreds of contributed oral presentations and posters will be presented over five days in multiple concurrent sessions. A highlight of the meeting will be the seven themed symposia during which invited participants will discuss the latest scientific research in these fields. The themes are:

– Feeding ecology of Chondrichthyans (fish with a cartilaginous skeleton), July 10, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.;

– Impact of roads on herptefauna, July 10, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

– Acoustic communication in frogs and fishes, July 10, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and July 11, 1:30 to 4 p.m.;

– Fish evolution, biogeography, diversity and development, July 11, 8 a.m. to noon;

– Physiological stress response in elasmobranch fishes (sharks and rays), July 11, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and

– Head-starting turtles, July 12, 8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.

In addition, a special symposium will honor the late Karel F. Liem, professor of ichthyology at Harvard University and curator of ichthyology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, July 8, 1:30 to 5 p.m. and July 9, 8 a.m. to noon. The symposium will feature the diverse achievements of his students and colleagues.

For additional information about the conference, visit Additional questions about the meeting can be directed to Heide Burke, program coordinator, at 785-532-2549 or Media Contact, Jacqueline Webb 401-874-2609.