GBI Represents at the 45th Annual Desert Tortoise Council Symposium

GBI personnel were well represented at this year’s Desert Tortoise Council Symposium, held February 20-22, 2020 in Las Vegas. In fact, they made up about 10% of all attendees.  GBI’s Desert Tortoise Data and Program Manager, Jackie Dougherty, and Associate Director for Southern Nevada, Terry Christopher, provide an overview of the symposium and GBI’s involvement below.

The Desert Tortoise Council Symposium is an annual meeting of government, non-profit, private, and academic researchers focused on the conservation of tortoise species of the desert southwest. This year’s 45th Annual Symposium provided panels discussing health and diseases, translocation and head-starting, recovery efforts, raven depredation and management, non-profit conservation efforts, and habitat connectivity. A special panel provided insight into the illegal pet trade on regional, national, and international levels, while Dr. Brian Horne delivered an address Saturday night on success stories that the Wildlife Conservation Society has had in conserving some of the world’s rarest turtles.

The Great Basin Institute was proud to attend the symposium, where 23 past and present employees made a strong showing, representing over 10% of attendees. Former GBIer Dr. Kirsten Dutcher (’07 ,’08, ’10, ’11, ’13), Dr. Amanda Kissel (’09), Steve Hromada (’15), and Vincent James (’12-“15) gave wonderful presentations. Other alum now represent Joshua Tree National Park, Bureau of Land Management – Nevada, the U.S. Geological Survey, the San Diego Zoo,  and Clark County, NV, to name a few. Sixteen of these alumni have worked on GBI Line Distance Sampling projects, surveying Desert Tortoise populations in Nevada, Utah, and Arizona!

This was a great event to prepare for our spring season. We can’t wait to meet this year’s new technicians and kick off another season of tortoise monitoring!

Current and former GBI personnel who attended the symposium are listed below. Those marked with an asterisk also presented at this year’s symposium.

Desert Tortoise Research Associates

  • Jim Brinson
  • Carmen Candal
  • Terry Christopher
  • Jackie Dougherty
  • Milena Dunajska
  • Kirsten Dutcher*
  • Daniel Essary
  • Steve Hromada*
  • Amanda Kissel*
  • Bill Langworthy  
  • Amanda McDonald
  • Brittney Semone
  • Charleston Shirley
  • Michael Skandalis
  • Mark Spangler
  • Curtis Walker 

RAs from other programs

  • Scott Cambrin
  • Sarah Doyle
  • Erin Eichenberg
  • Carrie Gonzales
  • Vince James*
  • Corey Lang
  • Sarah Schmidt

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