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Thar be dragons! – Agamid lizards of WA
15 September, 7:30 pm-9:30 pm
Dragon lizards are some of Australia’s most iconic species, such as Thorny Devils, Frill-necked Lizards and Bearded Dragons. WA is home to these and many more species, as dragons thrive in the arid zone and Kimberley region and are well-represented in south-western Australia too. This talk will present a “who’s who” of the dragon world and touch on many of their interesting features such as evolution, ecology, social behaviour and diet.
Our speaker, Dr Paul Doughty, is the Curator of Herpetology, Collections & Research at the WA Museum and co-editor of the WA Naturalists’ Club’s Journal, The Western Australian Naturalist.
Paul’s interests are in the evolution and ecology of lizards, frogs and snakes. He began studying lizards in North America as an undergraduate in Seattle at the University of Washington and went on to do a Master’s at the University of Tennessee in Animal Behaviour. He moved to Sydney to work with Professor Rick Shine on the evolution of life-history traits in skinks and geckos, completing his PhD in 1996 before postdoctoral research took him to Perth to work on tadpole ecology with Professor Dale Roberts in the late 90s. Further research investigated a diverse range of subjects on tadpoles, lizards, fish, fruit flies and philosophy of science.
Paul has been at the WA Museum since 2003 in the Department of Terrestrial Zoology. Current projects are focussed on the taxonomy of geckos and frogs, but he is also interested in specific groups of dragons, skinks and snakes. Paul works with DBCA and BushBlitz on field surveys of Western Australia frogs and reptiles, and with molecular laboratories at South Australian Museum, Melbourne Museum and ANU.
Globally, he is in the “top 50” of reptile taxonomists and “top 10” of gecko taxonomists of all time for species described and is among the “top 2%” most influential scientists based on citations.
The frog-related Field Guide to Frogs of Western Australia, the Frog Watch website and FrogID are a part of Paul’s commitment to public communication for frog biology and conservation.