Invited Speaker

Dr. Karla Moeller

Dr. Karla Moeller (Ph.D.) is a science outreach coordinator at Arizona State University. Her research mainly focuses on how animals survive in challenging environments. She started working with reptiles in Dr. Barry Sinervo’s lab at UC Santa Cruz in 2003, focusing on coloration in the California Mountain Kingsnake. In 2008, only 5 months after seeing her first wild Gila Monster, she joined Dr. Dale DeNardo’s lab to start research on them. Karla has worked to try to understand juvenile Gila Monster survival strategies as well as physiology across life stages. Her dissertation work focused on how dehydration affects stress and immune function in Gila monsters, beaded lizards, and several other squamate species. Karla is also a science communicator and an artist, and she is a huge advocate of combining science and art to increase interest in science research, and to advocate for under-loved creatures, like many reptiles. She also writes children’s books—her second book, Moms, Dads, and Lily Pads (2020) features a baby Gila Monster, along with many other animals.

Talk title: Stress and Immune Responses to Dehydration in Helodermatids

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Photos: D. Ariano-Sanchez (Zootropic Conservation Program), D. Beck, T. Lawson, R. Repp, J. Rorabaugh, G. Schuett, W. Wells