Next Gen Herpetologist

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From the 5th to the 10th of January, I attended the 9th World Congress of Herpetology in Dunedin, New Zealand. The conference draws the best herpetologists in the world, and as a young and upcoming scientist, it was a massive honour and a privilege. South Africa was well represented at the conference, with Mike Bates, Warren Schmidt, Gary Kyle Nicolau, Emily Jackson, Alan Channing, Shelley Edwards and Werner Conradie in attendance. At… Read More

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… Read More

At a celebratory function on Tuesday 25 September 2019, I received the Environmental Award (Individual Category) for my contribution to the Grahamstown environmental community through my snake awareness talks, critter walks and school demonstrations. In addition to my certificate I received a very unique and beautiful floating trophy that currently sits atop my shelf in my departmental office. The award was presented to me by Prof Hugo Nel and Associate Prof. Michelle Cocks… Read More

Last year, Dr Shelley Edwards and I were interviewed for an article entitled ‘Reptile Detectives’, for the prestigious Rhodes Research Report. The Report that comes out annually highlights all the research that took place over the year, with anecdotes about key researchers strewn throughout the book. In the 2018 edition, that came out late last year, the editors sought out young researchers who were conducting cutting edge and/or novel research. Given mine… Read More

Authors: Chad Keates, Werner Conradie, Eli Greenbaum, Shelley Edwards Abstract: Psammophylax (Fitzinger 1843) is a widespread yet poorly studied genus of African grass snakes. A genetic phylogeny of six of the seven species was estimated using multiple phylogenetic and distance‐based methods. To support the genetic analyses, we conducted morphological analyses on the body (traditional morphology) and head (geometric morphometrics) separately. Phylogenetic analyses recovered a similar topology to past studies, but with better resolution… Read More

On friday the 10th of May, I set up a stand at the Science Open Day, hosted in the Rhodes University Life Sciences Building. I represented the field of Herpetology alongside several other members of the Zoology and Entomology Department, whom showcased their respective fields (Ornithology, Mammalogy, Biocontrol etc) on the day. The event was also attended by members from all the other departments in the Science Faculty. The event was geared… Read More

Authors: William Branch, Ninda Baptista, Chad Keates, Shelley Edwards Abstract: Two rare and endemic psammophines (Serpentes: Psammophiinae) occur in Angola. The taxonomic status of Psammophylax rhombeatus ocellatus Bocage, 1873and Psammophis ansorgii Boulenger, 1905 have long remained problematic, with both having varied past and present taxonomic assignments, and whose distributions may therefore present zoogeographic anomalies. Little was known of their biology, habitat associations, or phylogenetic relationships. New material was collected during biodiversity surveys of the Humpata Plateau,… Read More

On the 8th of march 2019, I attended the WESSA/ Grocott’s Mail #CelebrateNaturalHeritage Bio-Bash and Photo Walk at the Makana Botanical Gardens (part of Scifest 2019). The day was designed to teach the youth of Grahamstown about the amazing wildlife that surrounds them. It also aimed to ignite some creative flair through encouraging artistic expression through photography. My colleagues and I helped out by guiding the students through the gardens and helping… Read More

On the 19th of October I was very fortunate to receive the inaugural D&J Ranchhod Bursary in honour of the late Mr Dale Ranchhod, a long-serving member of the Zoology & Entomology Department. I received the certificate from Mrs Jasu Ranchhod at a formal function held in the Department foyer. I was nominated for the award by members of the academic staff making the award an incredible honour. After the formal ceremony… Read More

I am honoured to announce that this year I received the Laura Starke Memorial Bursary Award for the second time. Unlike many bursaries that focus on academic merit, this bursary is special in the sense that it takes more than ones’ academic achievements into account when selecting a candidate. For this reason I am incredibly grateful to receive this award because it represents the acknowledgement of the sum of my efforts within… Read More

from the 13th to the 16th of August I attended the Joint SANBI Biodiversity Information Management & Foundational Biodiversity Information Programme (FBIP) Forum in Cape St Francis. I attended the conference with my supervisor Dr Shelley Edwards (Lecturer Rhodes University) and we were joined by my co-supervisor; Werner Conradie (PE Museum Head Herpetological Curator) and friend; Theo Busschau (Masters Student Stellenbosch University). The conference was well-attended with over a hundred delegates from… Read More

At the beginning of  2018, myself and Luke Kemp joined the Rhodes ZEML (Zoology and Entomology Molecular Lab) herpetological cross-country fieldtrip. The trip saw us adventuring throughout South Africa, in search of frogs and reptiles alike. This first video details our time in Rhodes, a small town just south of Lesotho.

Field report from Myself and Luke Kemp’s West Coast trip Luke and I are aspiring herpetologists, currently under the supervision of Dr Shelley Edwards in the Zoology and Entomology Molecular Lab (ZEML). Our work, which, focusses on the herpetofauna of Southern Africa spans many orders and many more families, and while we love the hustle and bustle of the raucous molecular lab, that I myself have called home this year, we are… Read More

Last year myself and Luke kemp set off on our most ambitious herping adventure to date. The trip spanned eight days and over 3700km with us herping both the Western and Northern Cape. We found over 50 species of reptiles and frogs and this video series is dedicated to our best finds and our funniest moments. This is the fourth of four videos of our West Coast trip. This video focusses on… Read More

On the 23rd of April, Dr Shelley Edwards and I delivered a snake talk for primary and high school learners of P.J. Olivier school in Grahamstown. The talk, which was delivered during their morning assembly, to a crowd of approximately 365 learners, was my biggest snake talk to date. the assembly was attended by students from grade 1 all the way to Grade 12 and was challenging and exhilarating at the same… Read More