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Snake slithering on concrete

An “arms race”: The evolution of snakes

By Debbie Farris

Broad Banded Water Snake

Watch this video recording of the Storm Lecture.

The Department of Integrative Biology’s held the inaugural Robert M. Storm Distinguished Lecture featuring Edmund “Butch” Brodie, a professor of biology at Utah State University. Dr. Brodie gave a scientific talk, “Arms races, the evolution of tetrodotoxin resistance" March 11, 2016, followed by a reception.

Dr. Brodie’s research is focused on the evolution and efficacy of amphibian antipredator mechanisms, including toxins, coloration, tail autotomy, morphology and behavior. He is especially interested in individual differences as they affect survival. He and his students examine coevolution of tetrodotoxin bearing newts and their predators, as well as the presence and function of tetrodotoxin in other groups of animals.

The Robert M. Storm Distinguished Lecture Series in Integrative Biology was recently created by zoology alumnus Bill Lovejoy (Ph.D., ‘72) to promote excellence, advancement and inspiration in biology, particularly vertebrate zoology, for the OSU and the Corvallis communities.

Lovejoy is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biology at Georgia Southern and a former student of Robert “Doc” Storm’s who was was inspired and mentored by him. He created the lecture series to honor his mentor and inspire and motivate students for years to come.

Doc Storm arrived at OSU in 1939 to pursue his master’s degree in zoology and after serving in World War II, returned to complete his Ph.D. in 1946. He was then hired as an instructor in the Department of Zoology and has been in Corvallis ever since.

Renowned for his pioneering research in herpetology, Doc produced nearly 50 scientific publications. However, his most important and cherished contribution is the many students he mentored throughout his 36 years as an OSU professor. He influenced generations of biologists, whose theses and dissertations deal with nearly every group of vertebrates.

Doc was also a champion for undergraduate education at OSU, winning the College of Science’s Carter Award in 1974 for outstanding and inspirational undergraduate teaching and serving as head advisor in the Zoology Department for many years. Doc is an Emeritus Professor of Zoology and at 98, still resides in Corvallis.

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