Mercer County Community College (MCCC) Assistant Professor of Biology Ron Smith will speak about the state-threatened northern pine snake in a lecture at the college at noon on Tuesday, Nov. 20 in the Communications Building, room 109. The talk, “Snake Spacial Ecology: Application for Conservation of the Pine Snake in New Jersey” is part of Mercer’s Fall Distinguished Lecture Series held at the West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. The lecture is free and open to the public.
The northern pine snake (Pituophis melanoleucus) occurs as a distinct population in the Pinelands of southern New Jersey. In his talk, Smith will describe his research radio tracking of pine snakes at the Warren Grove Gunnery Range in the heart of the Pinelands in Burlington County.
This military facility is operated by the New Jersey Air National Guard to maintain target facilities and score pilots training in air to ground gunnery and bombing from military aircraft. Smith will discuss risk factors the pine snake is facing throughout its range and the conservation strategies needed to save the species.
Smith teaches biology, ecology, anatomy and physiology at MCCC. He has been working with reptiles and amphibians in the New Jersey Pinelands for the past 10 years. His research focuses on human impacts to reptiles and amphibians and developing conservation strategies to protect them. Smith’s master’s degree and Ph.D. dissertation at Drexel University focused on the spatial ecology of reptiles and amphibians with emphasis on disturbance and conservation.
For more information on MCCC’s Distinguished Lecture Series, call 609-570-3324 or visit www.mccc.edu/events.