Monday, March 13- The Hills are alive … with plants, reptiles, and amphibians: Biodiversity of plants, reptiles and amphibians in our own Flint Hills
Topic: The Hills are alive … with plants, reptiles, and amphibians: Biodiversity of plants, reptiles and amphibians in our own Flint Hills
Speaker: Dexter Mardis – Biological Field Station Manager; Wichita State University KHS President; Kansas Herpetological Society
Date/Time/Location: Monday, March 13; 7:30 pm; The Donut Whole (1720 E Douglas)
We will be discussing the diversity of plants, amphibians, and reptiles at four reserves spread in a North/South line throughout the total spread of the Flint Hills. Looking at the lists, (and diversity gradient maps) they seem to support the idea of latitudinal diversity gradients. Essentially, as you travel from the equator towards the poles, the biodiversity decreases. We’ll look at the geology of the region and examine what makes it unique among North American prairies. We’ll delve a little deeper into the biological residents of the sites, and see what factors play the largest roles in effective surveys for the organisms. And, if there’s time, we’ll discuss some conservation threats, and strengths, of the region and where the future may take the ecosystems of the Flint Hills.
Dexter grew up in the Ozarks near Branson, and has been fascinated with frogs and snakes, turtles, lizards, trees, and flowers for as long as he can remember. He moved to Wichita in 2008 to attend Friends University, and started working at the Sedgwick County Zoo as a part-time groundskeeper in October of that year. Through a coworker there, He was introduced into the Kansas Herpetological Society, and the late Joe Collins (coauthor of the Peterson Field Guide of Amphibians and Reptiles of Eastern North America, and Kansas Wildlife Author Laureate). Fast forward 8.5 years, He is still working to finish his undergraduate work, now at Wichita State University. He is the current president of KHS, and the Biological Field Station Manager for WSU.He has herped across the country, and led field courses for more traditional undergraduates in both KS and the Florida panhandle.