Graduate students from the biology department came to participate in the fall 2012 Gumbo Ya Ya event, and they brought a few friends. Animals from the biology department’s vivarium and Southeastern vertebrate museum were brought out to meet the students. Some were more vivacious than others. In fact, some were soaking in formaldehyde. However, students got to hold live snakes, turtles and a bearded dragon named Grant.
Graduate student James Stewart works at the vertebrate museum. The museum is located on the first floor of the biology building, down the hall from the vivarium.
“[The displays] are open generally all week long,” said Stuart. “They’re open to the students if they want to look, if they want to research. We welcome visitors down there anytime.”
The museum brought two bug display boxes, a shark, maggots, a diamondback water snake and a tegu lizard. Live animals came from both private owners and the vivarium.
The department also sold T-shirts to raise funds for their super speaker event, as they pay for the speaker themselves. They also expect more orders later in the semester. The event will be open to all students, and the location of the event has not been announced yet.The speaker will be biologist Dr. Jeff Seminoff from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Graduate student Kim Smelker works in the vivarium and is looking forward to the event.
“He does research on sea turtles mainly in the Pacific, and he’s from California,” she said about Seminoff. “He’s going to come talk to us about doing his research and kind of mentor us, give us career advice as new scientists.”