Invited Speaker

Dr. Taylor Edwards

Dr. Taylor Edwards (Ph.D.) is a conservation geneticist whose primary research focus for the last 20 years has been the desert tortoise. He was instrumental in revising the taxonomy of this group into what are now three independent species, including the newly described “Goode’s thornscrub tortoise.”  He is interested in the biogeography of the Sonoran Desert region and how species, including Gila Monsters evolved through the enduring process of time. Taylor first moved to Tucson in 1992 to work in the Department of Mammalogy and Ornithology at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. He is currently an Associate Staff Scientist at the University of Arizona Genetics Core where he has been involved with a wide variety of genetic projects from fish to plants to people, including helping to oversee the public testing for National Geographic and IBM’s “Genographic Project.” Taylor earned his Bachelor of Arts in Zoology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and then both his Masters and Doctorate degrees in Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation and Management from the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona. Taylor is a member of the Advisory Board of the Turtle Conservancy, a Scientific Advisor for the Turner Endangered Species Fund for the Bolson Tortoise Captive Breeding and Repatriation Project and past president of the Tucson Herpetological Society.

Talk title: Gila Monster (Heloderma suspectum) Population Genetics–Evolutionary Insights and Implications for Conservation

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