Some people are natural leaders.
In addition to leading Missouri State University’s biology department, Dr. Alicia Mathis will now also serve as president of the Herpetologists’ League (HL).
“It’s an extreme honor to represent researchers in this field from around the world,” Mathis said. “Herpetologists include some of the of the most outstanding scientists in the world. I’m thrilled to be part of this group.”
A passion for herpetology
Herpetology refers to the study of amphibians and reptiles, affectionately known as “herps.”
Established in 1946, the league is an international scientific society for the study of amphibians and reptiles.
“I’ve studied herps since I was a master’s student, focusing my research on homing behavior of box turtles,” Mathis said. “Since then, my research has focused primarily on amphibians such as salamanders, although I have since added small fish to my research interests.”
Mathis has been involved with HL for many years.
“I’ve been a member since graduate school and held my first position in the society as newsletter editor when I was a postdoctoral researcher,” she said. “I’ve also served as a member of the Board of Trustees and was editor of Herpetologica for five years.”
Before becoming president of HL, she served for two years as vice president and president-elect.
The presidential duties include:
- Help coordinate HL’s annual Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (JMIH), which will take place in Norfolk, Virginia, in July.
- Set agenda and run meetings of the Board of Trustees.
- Appoint committee members, chairs and any representatives of the society.
Additionally, Mathis selects important people to attend the JMIH meeting.
“My favorite task is to nominate and invite the speaker for the Distinguished Herpetologist lecture at the JMIH. It’s a real delight to select a top herpetologist for this honor,” she said. “This year’s speaker will be Dr. Tyrone Hayes from the University of California at Berkeley. In my opinion, he’s the top researcher in the world who is studying the effects of herbicides on amphibians.”
Mathis will serve a two-year term, but the commitment will be much longer than that. After her term as president, she will serve on the board as a past president for four years.