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In my opinion, temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD) is one of the weirdest but most interesting things about reptiles. In animals, sex determination is typically thought of in terms of sex chromosomes. For example, in species with an XY sex-chromosome system (such as humans), embryos possessing two X chromosomes will be genetically female, while those with both an X and a Y chromosome will be … Read More
Reptiles are not known for their behavioural complexity, and until recently I bought into that belief. In my lower year undergraduate classes, behavioural ecology and herpetology were taught separately. So, when I asked my current supervisor, Dr. Njal Rollinson, if I could do a third-year research thesis, I was shocked when he proposed a project on turtle vocalisations. First of all, turtles vocalise? And second of all, I can study behaviour AND turtles? This idea largely came from … Read More
For as long as I can remember, I spent childhood summers at the cottage catching frogs and searching for salamanders under logs. My most trusted tools were a little plastic frog-shaped net and a big red bucket. If eight-year-old Meghan had been told she would be doing the same thing 15 years later, she would have been as ecstatic as I was while preparing to embark on a salamander study last… Read More
In January 2020, a contingent of Canadian herpetologists congregated in the southern hemisphere for the largest gathering of likeminded geeks from around the globe. The 9th World Congress of Herpetology (WCH), hosted at the University of Otago in Dunedin, Aotearoa, New Zealand (05-11 Jan 2020), brought together 874 herpetologists from 57 countries to share scientific findings, promote education, and address… Read More
We could all use some good news right now. In conservation, work can often feel like an uphill slog with species declining and wild spaces disappearing. But, it’s important to recognize that among the sad stories, there are good news stories sprinkled in the mix, too. I want to celebrate some conservation wins for Canadian reptile and amphibian species. 1. Herb… Read More