HAA Conference 2019
From the the 9th to the 13th of September 2019, I attended the 14th Herpetological Conference of Africa in Cape St Francis, Eastern Cape. It was my second HAA, and my word was it fun. I got to meet old friends, and make new ones, I got to meet great herpetologists and for a brief moment, got to feel like a great when one the fans of Snakes and Their Mates asked myself and Luke Kemp to sign their t-shirt. The conference was well attended with researchers and enthusiasts, from around the country, flocking to the small coastal town to discuss ‘herps’ in all their majesty.
Unlike my first HAA, where I presented my Honours research in the form of a poster, this conference saw me presenting my PhD in the form of two presentations. I presented my Psammophylax Systematic Review in the form of a full presentation and my Psammophylax rhombeatus phylogeography in the form of a speed talk. The talks went well, and whilst one can never claim to pull off a perfect talk, I was happy with my performance. My Psammophylax Systematic Review has since been published in JZSER and my Psammophylax rhombeatus phylogeography is well on it’s way.
Whilst the conference represented an opportunity for colleagues to meet, it also represented a moment for members of the African herpetological community to remember the late Bill Branch, one of the greatest herpetologists to ever pick up a snake hook. In his honour, my brother and I designed an Endemic of the Eastern Cape herpetology poster to highlight all the phenomenal reptile and frog species in Bill’s home province. The poster was filled with photos from myself and various other young herpetologists strewn across South Africa. At the base of the poster there is a photo and a short paragraph, detailing the titan that was… Bill Branch.
All in all it was a great conference and I eagerly anticipate the next one. Kimberley, here I come.