Every year, just like their amphibian counterparts, the herpetologists of the UK prepare themselves for their annual migration in early-mid February. Around 200 students, academics, practitioners and other such people attend the Herpetofauna Workers Meeting. This is a two-day conference that takes place in different location every year, depending on which venue is happy to host such an eccentric bunch of people. This year the meeting was held in Northampton and it’s either the 3rd or 4th time I’ve attended (I’ve lost count). The meeting is a great coming together of people from all walks of life that either study or have a passion for reptiles and amphibians. This huge diversity is reflected in the talks given, as well as the workshops organised which are always enjoyed by the conference delegates.
Unfortunately at the last minute one of the speakers had to pull out due to personal reasons. This meant that with some of the shortest notice on record, I was contacted to see if I’d be willing to give a talk to fill the time slot that was now available. Of course I said yes! Although this did throw a few people off who were not aware of the last minute change. If you’ve ever met me, you’ll know how hard it is to shut me up once you’ve got me speaking about frogs or snakes. The talk I presented was very similar to the one I gave a few months previously at the Joint Scientific Meeting held in Bournemouth (organised by the same organisers). In the talk, I presented some new evidence of the location from which the Cambridge population of midwife toads was introduced from (using genetic techniques). My talk was well received, probably because of my unusual style of presenting but equally due to the novel nature of the work.
As always I really enjoyed the two days and found it a great opportunity to network and catch up with old friends/colleagues. If you study reptiles or amphibians within the UK, then I would recommend you try to make the next meeting! This year was the 31st consecutive Herpetofauna Workers Meeting and I’d like to thank the Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Trust and the Amphibian and Reptile Groups UK for helping to organise such an important and fun event. Thanks must also be given to the sponsors of the event which helped keep costs down for delegates. My favourite talk of the event was Brian Laney’s on Northamptonshire’s Herpetofauna which was a whistle-stop tour of all of the great work he does. I can’t wait until next year’s meeting as I would have hopefully started a PhD by then, that will hopefully see me presenting more of my research in the future at such events.