Steve's Herpetological Blog

An insight into the life of Steve, his research and the many books he reads


#SciFri: The last herpetological conferences of the decade!

Those of you that follow me on Twitter or Instagram will know that recently I attended two conferences here in the UK. The first was the Joint Scientific Meeting held in Bournemouth and the second was Venom Day, held in Bangor. Both of these conferences are annual events (that I’ve attended for the past couple of years) and are usually held at this time of year, late November-early December. With it being the end of 2019, it means that both of these conferences are the last of the decade! As always here is my take on things!

The Joint Scientific Meeting takes place each year with it usually taking place at the Bournemouth Natural Sciences Society, just down the road from the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust HQ. As you can probably guess by the title of the conference, it is a joint meeting with the other partner being the British Herpetological Society. In 2015 (the first year I attended) the meeting was held at Trinity College Dublin. The meeting highlights science being undertaken by researchers in the UK, looking at amphibians and reptiles around the world. This often includes research looking into behaviour, disease and conservation.

The range of talks this year were balanced between amphibians and reptiles covering a large number of topics such as the introduced population of aesculapian snakes in Wales to how the lunar cycle effects the activity pattern of newts. It’s always great to catch up with colleagues and friends to discuss how their research is going, as well as making new connections for the future. Also during this conference I was able to buy some of the late Professor Tim Halliday’s library during a silent auction, which was an added bonus on top of everything else!

My colleague Helen Pheasey talking on her PhD research on tracking turtle eggs poachers using 3D-printed decoys

Venom Day is a different affair altogether but given the name here, you’ve probably already guessed that. Being held at Bangor University, this year’s event was the 10th anniversary of Venom Day so it was a special occasion for all of those involved. Venom day focuses on research conducted on venomous or poisonous animals (from snakes to jellyfish) as well as things that may impact them, such as habitat loss or disease. One thing that Venom Day always highlights for me is the amount of research being conducted to try to use venoms as novel drugs to cure disease. This year was no exception with talks ranging from the anti-predator defences in cobras to the evolution of snakes.

Harry Ward-Smith updated us all on his research looking into the pain inflicted by venomous snakebites

That’s a very brief overview of the conferences although I will be writing more detailed summaries elsewhere so please do keep an eye out! I’m kicking off the new century in style by attending and presenting at the World Congress of Herpetology in Dunedin, New Zealand between 5th and 10th January. If you’re there, please come and say hello – I love meeting new people and discussing all things herpetology. The next instalment of #SciFri will probably be about the World Congress but I’ll try to move back to more PhD related topics after that!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *