Moncrief Attends the Annual Meeting of the The American Society of Mammalogists
I recently attended the 94th annual conference of The American Society of Mammalogists (ASM) in Oklahoma City. ASM is an international group of more than 2,500 scientists who study all aspects of non-human mammals. More than 400 professional scientists and university students pursuing graduate degrees participated in this year’s conference. There were more than 250 technical presentations that reported new information for topics including ecology, behavior, physiology, systematics, taxonomy, and evolution. Some of these were 12-15 minute talks that used PowerPoint to illustrate and explain research methods and results; others were posters that illustrated and described methods and results on 3 x 4 foot banners.
I also met with other members of the Systematics Collections Committee, which is a standing committee of this organization. This group advises curators throughout the world in matters relating to best practices for the care and curation of collections of mammals. We also maintain a directory of mammal collections and a document of curatorial standards for collections. In addition, we manage a collection-accreditation program under the auspices of ASM. This year, we are working to revise the directory of collections, so much of the committee meeting entailed planning and logistics for that project.
I gave a talk that presented the results of some of my research with two colleagues who are VMNH Research Associates. Dr. Ray Dueser (who retired from Utah State University and now resides in Virginia), Dr. John Porter (University of Virginia) and I are using computer models to study movements of raccoons on the Virginia barrier islands. We think our methods will be useful to other biologists who are trying to determine the most likely pathways of movement for animals in fragmented habitats. We are currently revising a manuscript that describes this work. As soon as it is published, I’ll share some of the details in a post to this blog.
This year’s conference also featured a symposium with presentations about using museum resources in undergraduate education. Although I don’t teach at a university, I learned about several websites that I think will be valuable resources for the education project I have underway with Dr. Nina P. Huff, who teaches at the Piedmont Governor’s School for Mathematics, Science, and Technology in Martinsville.