Southeastern's Science on Tap lecture to feature ‘Snakiest State in Nation’

Thursday, August 21, 2014 Dave Sever
by: Rene Abadie

LECTURE TO FEATURE LOUISIANA SNAKES – Dave Sever, former head of the Southeastern Department of Biological Sciences and an internationally recognized herpetologist, will present the department's first 2014-15 Science on Tap lecture on Tuesday, Sept. 2, at Tope lá Catering. Sever will talk on "Snakes in Your Louisiana Neighborhood."

HAMMOND – Following a highly successful series of scientific lectures for the layman last year, the Southeastern Louisiana University Department of Biological Sciences will sponsor another "Science on Tap" series throughout the 2014-15 academic year.

The initial lecture, "Snakes in Your Louisiana Neighborhood," will be presented Tuesday, Sept. 2, at 7 p.m. at Tope lá Catering, 113 East Thomas St., in Hammond. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the presentation is free and open to all ages.

The lecture will be presented by Dave Sever, former head of the Department of Biological Sciences, who was named last year as Herpetologist of the Year by the Herpetologist's League, an international association of scientists.

Louisiana has more than 50 different species of snakes, making it one of the "snakiest states in the country," Sever said.

The presentation will note the important roles snakes play in the natural landscape of Louisiana, including their crucial economic role in control of crop-destroying rodents, he explained.

"Many people are afraid of snakes, have lots of misconceptions, and consider every water snake to be a venomous cottonmouth or water moccasin," he added. "Louisiana has seven species of venomous snakes, but most of them are not common and usually run away or hide when humans are detected."

Sever is the co-editor of the textbook, "Reproductive Biology and Phylogeny of Snakes." He and his students have conducted a number of studies on snakes in Louisiana, particularly the venomous cottonmouth.

The fall semester of Science on Tap lectures all will be held at Tope lá Catering. Scheduled lectures include:

• Tuesday, Oct. 7: "Cybersecurity: Beyond the IT Department" by John Burris, Department of Computer Science and Industrial Technology;

• Tuesday, Nov. 4: Global Warming for Scientists ... and Others?" by physicist David Norwood, Department of Chemistry and Physics;

• Tuesday, Dec. 2: "Hotter than the Core of the Sun: Fusion Energy on Earth," by Dan McCarthy, physicist and dean of the College of Science and Technology.

For more information, contact the Department of Biological Sciences, 985-549-3740.


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