Dr Emma Sherratt
Division of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Adelaide, Australia

Title: Evolvability of the Explosive Sea Snake Radiation

Sea snakes are a relatively young yet speciose clade with remarkable morphological diversity. This plenary  will showcase this successful lineage from the oceans around Australia and South East Asia, showing  how integrating different analytical approaches has allowed us to uncover the developmental and evolutionary mechanisms underlying this diversity.

Prof Madhava Meegaskumbura
Key Lab in Forest Ecology & Conservation, College of Forestry, Guangxi University, China

Title: Decoding Frog Diversification: Cues from Old-World Tree Frogs

I will examine patterns and processes of diversification in frogs, highlighting the Rhacophoridae family. I will particularly emphasize key innovations such as reproductive mode evolution and explore the influence of ecological opportunity, climatic factors, mountainous regions, islands, and refugia in the diversification of rhacophorids. My examination will be grounded in analyses like phylogenetic diversity, phylomorphospace, ancestral state reconstructions, lineage-through-time plots, biogeographic analyses and climatic niche analyses. Furthermore, I will spotlight adaptive radiations in frogs, with an emphasis on Pseudophilautus. In conclusion, I will emphasize the critical importance of conserving the processes of diversification.

Ms Julie Hanta Razafimanahaka
Madagasikara Voakajy, Madagascar

Title: The challenges of conserving reptiles and amphibians in Madagascar

Despite Madagascar’s high species richness and endemism of reptiles and amphibians, advocating their conservation remains a challenge. In this plenary , I will reflect on how herpetologists have to persevere  in order to draw  people’s attention and interest to conservation issues, and what they can achieve if they successfully do so.

Dr Jason R. Rohr
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, USA

Title: The Roles of Climate Change and Biodiversity in Mediating Amphibian Disease Risk and Declines

Humans are modifying the planet in many ways, including changing the climate and biodiversity.  Concurrent with these changes are increases in infectious diseases, such as those that are contributing to the declines of amphibians.  Understanding the associations among changes in climate, biodiversity, and disease will be crucial for managing these global challenges.  In this talk, I will present experimental and field studies linking climate change and biodiversity loss to amphibian declines associated with the fungi Batrachochytrium dendrobatidisand B. salamandrivorans, as well as other amphibian infections.  Additionally, I will highlight new research on the consequences of these losses to ecosystem services. Overall, this work underscores the importance of integrating experimental and field research to understand the interconnections among changes to climate, biodiversity, and infectious disease.

Dato' Dr Dionysius S.K. Sharma
Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Malaysia

Title : The Challenges and Successes in the Conservation of Coastal Nesting Turtles in Peninsular Malaysia

The plenary  will cover conservation initiatives undertaken by government and NGOs in the conservation of marine turtles (Chelonia mydas and Eretmochelys imbricata) and the coastal nesting Batagur borneoensis, and lessons learned over several decades of such initiatives. The plenary n will also showcase several successes in terms of community engagement, local protection of nesting beaches and the ongoing battles with coastal development.

Dr. Salvador Carranza
Institute of Evolutionary Biology (CSIC-UPF), Barcelona, Spain

Title: Desert Dynasties: Unraveling the Tales of Arabian Reptiles Through Systematics, Biogeography and Evolution

In this talk, I will share the outcome of nearly two decades of research aimed at understanding how biodiversity is generated and maintained in arid environments, using Arabian reptiles as a model. Phylogenetic and genomic data, along with morphological and geospatial information, have been employed to uncover the role of major tectonic events, mountains, and deserts in the origin, dispersal, and maintenance of Arabian reptile diversity. While the main goal is to comprehend the evolutionary history as well as the biogeographic and diversity patterns and drivers of Arabian squamates, I will also focus on the dynamics of phenotypic variation and species diversification of some selected groups showing species radiations in Arabia and in the Socotra Archipelago.

Dr. Teresa Camacho Badani
Museo de Zoología - Escuela de Biología, Universidad Católica del Ecuador

Title: Telmatobius Water Frogs: An approach to the knowledge and conservation of the most threatened amphibians in Bolivia.

Water Frogs belonging to the genus Telmatobius stand out as one of the most threatened amphibians in the Neotropics. This plenary will delineate the holistic conservation endeavors undertaken in Bolivia, encompassing in-situ conservation initiatives involving collaboration with local stakeholders and authorities, cross-border initiatives, an innovative communication effort, and an ex-situ program. Through these efforts, we have not only contributed significantly to the understanding of these species but have also successfully addressed resolution of taxonomic uncertainties within this group.

Prof. Jian-Ping Jiang
Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Title: Biodiversity and Conservation of Chinese Amphibians

The current status and distribution patterns of amphibians in China, trends and causes for change in species richness, and the conceptual contributions of systematics to species diversity will be discussed. Assessment of the threat status of Chinese amphibian species and an analysis of their conservation needs will also be presented, along with an overview of species conservation actions and their effectiveness. The contributions of government bodies and individual herpetologists will be highlighted, including an update of the list of key protected species, establishment and implementation of biodiversity observation and research networks, and the implementation of conservation technologies for key endangered species.