What is Herpetology?

Herpetology is a discipline within Biology that involves the study of Amphibians (caecilians, frogs, toads, salamanders) and Reptiles (amphisbaenians, lizards, snakes, turtles, tuatara, crocodilians). These studies range from molecular to community level investigations of the evolutionary relationships, physiology, ecology, and conservation of these fascinating animals. Although amphibians and reptiles are not closely related from an evolutionary perspective, they are often studied together because they live in similar habitats and share certain traits that make them susceptible to the same threats. For example, all amphibians and reptiles are ectothermic, meaning that they rely on the external environment to regulate their bodily functions, such as body temperature. Thus, the behaviour and habitat use of both reptiles and amphibians are largely governed by environmental conditions. Many species of amphibians and reptiles are at risk of extinction, largely as a result of human-caused threats, such as habitat destruction, road mortality, environmental contamination, the spread of invasive species and illegal poaching. Thus, research into many aspect of the biology and ecology of our native herpetofauna is critical in informing effective conservation and management solutions.

CHS Research Committee

Director and Chair: Dr. Amanda Bennett

The purpose of the Research Committee is to promote herpetological research, including investigations relevant to the conservation of amphibian and reptile populations in Canada, and to disseminate the results.

Herpetology Researchers at Academic Institutions in Canada

If you are interested in pursuing research in the field of Herpetology, or in using amphibians or reptiles as study subjects to address questions within broader biological concepts, there are several professors across Canada whose university research programs focus on the evolution, ecology, and conservation of amphibians and reptiles. Following is a list of some of these Canadian researchers: