Assistant Professor of Biology, Jonathan Twining, was invited by Dr. John Cossel, chair of the Biology Department at Northwest Nazarene University, to speak at the Idaho Herpetology Society, Northwest Partners for Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC), and the NNU Herpetology Lab’s annual Herpetology meeting November 18-19 at NNU.
Professor Twining first learned of Dr. Cossel and his research through reading an online article Cossel authored. “In the article he wrote that he loved working with reptiles and amphibians, so I decided to connect with him, since we are at sister institutions,” explained Twining.
At the meeting Twining talked about the natural history of vernal pools. “I presented it, as if I was telling a story,” he said. “The characters include people [who have helped me study vernal pools]… and the amphibians. The plot of the story was the migration of salamanders and wood frogs to the vernal pools, how they breed, their childhood, and adolescence when they emerge from the vernal pool… I wrapped it up saying every story has a hero and the heroes are the people who are trying to conserve vernal pools.”
Before the Herpetology meeting, Twining spent his time exploring the Northwest Nazarene campus with Dr. John Cossel. Cossel showed him around their newly constructed science building, as well as their animal lab, and they discussed potential opportunities for collaboration.
Every summer, Cossel invites his students to Northern Idaho to camp for a week, and study the Idaho Giant Salamander using a technique known as electrofishing. After watching Twining’s Vernal Pool Chronicle videos, Cossel asked if Twining would be interested in creating videos about the Idaho Giant Salamander, and bringing ENC students to Idaho to assist in research.
Twining is looking forward to collaborating with ENC’s sister institution.