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Plenary Speaker

Dr. Daniel D. Beck, Ph.D.

PHOTO Dan Beck w Gila Monster  .jpg

Dr. Daniel D. Beck (Ph.D.) began working with Heloderma in 1982, where he conducted the first intensive radio-telemetry study of the Gila Monster in southwestern Utah. Since that time, he has investigated the ecology, behavior, evolution, and physiology of the Gila Monster and Beaded Lizards, from the Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan Deserts of the southwestern United States to the tropical dry forests of Mexico. He completed a B.S. and M.S. in Biology and Ecology from Utah State University and a Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Physiology from the University of Arizona under Dr. Charles H. Lowe. Dan’s pioneering field and laboratory studies of the ecology of the Gila Monster and Beaded Lizards helped us better understand, among other things, their strange combat rituals, their dietary specialization on vertebrate nests, the importance of shelters in their life history, and their curiously low metabolic rates yet high aerobic capacities. His book “Biology of Gila Monsters and Beaded Lizards” (University of California Press 2005) is a standard reference for these amazing creatures. Currently, he and his students are investigating how the tropical dry forest (where he studied Heloderma horridum in coastal Jalisco, Mexico) is recovering from the impacts of Hurricane Patricia, which struck their study site in October of 2015. Dan is professor of Biology and Director of “El Centro Latinx” at Central Washington University, where he has advised over 20 graduate students and hundreds of undergraduates. He lives in a straw bale home in Ellensburg, Washington with his wife and fellow biologist Kris Ernest.

Talk title: Lessons from Hopeful Monsters: Emerging Insights from the Field of “Helodermatology”

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