Symposium Announcements

RESERVE FEB. 24-27, 2017

Planning for 2017 is well underway, and we already have four sessions on the schedule:

  1. Amy Fesnock is chairing a session on lessons from Renewable Energy Development and Tortoise Translocations (9 papers);
  2. Vern Bleich is returning with a Saturday session on the latest research on deer in the arid Southwest (12 papers);
  3. Cristina Jones is organizing the Arizona session to include papers on the Gopherus agassizii genome and the genomic evidence for local adaptations in Mojave and Sonoran desert tortoises and other subjects; and
  4. Michael Tuma is developing a session titled “Evolution of Gopherus tortoises:  Past, Present, and Future.”

Now, for a bit about each of these sessions. The Renewable Energy and Translocation session features a paper by Brett Dickson and M.L. Farnsworth on whether tortoise translocation works, a case study of ISEGS. The topics of other papers in this session include of adaptive management and lessons learned, benefits of roadside mitigation fencing, connectivity of tortoise populations, new directions with renewable energy projects and translocation, and both difficult and ethical situations associated with projects. In addition to B. Dickson and M.L. Farnsworth, other speakers include Brian Todd, Ken Nussear, Mark Massar, Kim Fields, and Kathy Simons.

The Saturday morning session of invited speakers has been arranged by Vernon Bleich, chair of last year’s highly successful bighorn sheep session. Vern is offering another set of experts, including Paul Krausman, James Heffelfinger, Steven Rosenstock, R. Terry Bowyer, Peregrine Wolff, Vern Bleich, Jimmy Cain, and Brian Wakeling. Topics are focused on the arid Southwest where deer and tortoises co-occur. Topics cover taxonomy, sexual segregation, density dependence, diseases, conservation, behavioral and physiological adaptations, survey methods and harvest allocation for both mule and white-tailed deer, and interactions between bucks, does, jacks, and jennies in the Sonoran Desert. We couldn’t ask for a better collection of papers to become acquainted with other herbivores in tortoise habitats.

Cristina Jones’s session features an update from Kenro Kusumi and Marc Tollis on the Gopherus agassizii genome and subsequent evolutionary analysis directed towards a genome for the Sonoran Desert Tortoise. Tim Webster, Greer Dolby, and Melisa Wilson Sayers will give a paper on genomic evidence for local adaptations in G. agassizii and G. morafkai. We will also hear about movements and crossings projects associated with Sonoran desert tortoise habitat and ongoing efforts to monitor Sonoran tortoise populations.

The session on the evolution of Gopherus, in the process of development by Michael Tuma, will include presentations from researchers using genetic, fossil, and morphological evidence to track the evolution of Gopherus tortoises and their gopherine relatives. Attendees will come away with an appreciation of the diversity of extinct and extant Gopherus tortoises, the latest application of phylogenetic, paleontological, and other techniques in describing their diversity, and the implications for conservation of extant Gopherus tortoises.  

Other papers and posters are very welcome! The Program is not yet full. The CALL for PAPERS and POSTERS is now on the website and titles and abstracts are due December 1. Please plan to join us for stimulating and exciting papers and discussions at the Thursday and Friday mixers and the Saturday dinner.

We start promptly at 9:30 AM Friday, February 24, and will have a very full program of presentations from long-term colleagues and friends, as well as many new scientists and managers.

Please contact the Program Chair, Kristin Berry, at regarding abstracts and confirmations.

Last updated: 15-Oct-2016

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