To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Texas Herpetological Society (THS), its members—several who were university professors—conceived a special symposium, Biology of the Pitvipers, which was held at The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) from 17-19 November 1989. There were over 300 registrants representing 38 states and 8 foreign countries. This special meeting also paid tribute to two long-time and illustrious members of the THS, Hobart Smith and Ottys Sanders.
Nearly 25 years have passed since that memorable first meeting in 1989. Biology of the Pitvipers 2 symposium is long overdue for various reasons but perhaps most significant is the rapid change and advancements in molecular and computational biology. In 1989, mtDNA was in its infancy in phylogenetic inference of pitvipers. No one present was discussing nuclear genes as markers, Bayesian methods, genomics, or venomics. Furthermore, our world is rapidly undergoing climate changes that will affect reptiles and other organisms, including us humans. Indeed, a lot has changed in just two decades.
As organizers of Biology of the Pitvipers 2 symposium, it is our hope that it will be as innovative as its predecessor.
Dr. Warren Booth
Dr. Gordon W. Schuett
Dr. Wolfgang Wüster
Dr. Mats Höggren
Dr. Charles F. Smith
Welcome to Biology of the Pitvipers 2
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Under the careful editorial direction of UTA faculty members Jonathan Campbell and Edmund Brodie Jr., a peer-reviewed symposium volume bearing the same name was initiated and subsequently published in 1992 (Biology of the Pitvipers, Selva. v-xi 467 pp.). This landmark publication (30 chapters, 50 authors) was a veritable academic catalyst, opening the doors for new meetings and other volumes (books) on charismatic snakes, notably true vipers, boas and pythons. Indeed, if judged by how widely it and its chapters have been cited, it has had lasting importance to herpetologists and other biologists. Read more...