Welcome to JMIH 2021


In-person: July 21-23, 2021 • Phoenix, AZ • Virtual: July 26-27, 2021

Presentation times are in Phoenix time (Pacific Daylight Time). Check back often as the schedule changes and sessions and presentation times are being adjusted.

The Local Host Committee welcomes our physical and virtual colleagues to Phoenix, Arizona, for the 2021 Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. The local committee offers this land acknowledgement in honor of the indigenous people who came before us, and who live with and among us here in the Valley of the Sun today. We recognize and thank the O’odham Jewed, the Akimal O’odham, and Hohokam, among others whose ancestral lands included the city of Phoenix (Native Land Digital), and whose care and keeping of the land allows us to be here today. We honor the history and the people of this place, who continue to make innumerable and immeasurable contributions to the social, cultural, and economic richness of our region.

As we missed seeing one another in Norfolk, it was with much deliberation that the Presidents of our respective societies decided to try a hybrid-virtual meeting this year, and the MMPC has been working hard alongside the Presidents to make this meeting as smooth as possible for all participants in all modalities. The local committee would like to commend these individuals for the incredible dedication and attention given to this process. It is our sincere hope that all participants will be able to enjoy the 2021 JMIH in whatever format allows them to feel safe, supported, and as connected as possible with their peers and colleagues in these unprecedented times. We know there are still some uncertainties with the details of the meeting. We ask that you are patient with us as we work as quickly as possible to determine how many of our members can and will travel to the physical meeting site this year.

The physical meeting will take place at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown and the Phoenix Convention Center. These main venues are in Downtown Phoenix, much of which has been recently revitalized, including through civic partnerships with Arizona State University. The downtown area is now known for excellent culinary options featuring local, sustainable food sources and farm-to-table options with outdoor seating options. There is also, of course, a rich selection of local microbrews and even wines to enjoy while here. Right within the downtown area are some excellent parks, science museums, and both visual and performing art venues including theaters and comedy clubs. We are pleased to be able to support the local economy and small business owners now, more than ever, however small our physical presence may be.

Of obvious concern to many is how to partake in these venues in a COVID-safe manner. The VisitPhoenix.com website has up-to-the-moment information on current restrictions and safety guidelines. They continue to advise, even in the absence of specific restrictions:

  • Carry a face covering with you at all times
  • Call ahead to businesses you visit as listed hours online may not be up-to-date
  • Continue to avoid close contact and remain six feet apart whenever possible
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

If you have time, Phoenix and its rich desert surrounds offer some truly beautiful and unique experiences, outdoors, and allowing for safe physical-distancing. Some of the attractions a short ride from downtown include The Phoenix Zoo and The Desert Botanical Gardens, both of which are located in Galvin Park, home of some beautiful Arizona red rock formations. Slightly to the west, we also have the Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium, and Safari Park. And, would you believe, two additional aquariums in the Valley of the Sun? The OdySea Aquarium in Scottsdale, and the Arizona SeaLife Aquarium in Chandler. In the same park with OdySea is the Butterfly Wonderland. We do recommend visiting any of these attractions, with the possible exception of the aquaria, early in the day. Early morning in the desert is full of action, and you are likely to see lots of bird and reptile life out and about. There is an abundance of urban hiking trails in the valley, as well as trails around the perimeter.

If your travel plans allow, you can experience the high desert and mountains of Arizona with just a short drive. It is only about 2.5 hours to Flagstaff, home to cooler temperatures, Northern Arizona University, and to the Lowell Observatory, and the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. On the way to Flagstaff you can visit Montezuma’s Castle, one of several national parks with dwellings and artifacts from our first nation ancestors, this one from the Sinagua people. The Grand Canyon National Park is just beyond Flagstaff. It is a two-hour drive in the other direction from Phoenix to Tucson, home to University of Arizona. On the way to Tucson you can see the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. Tucson typically offers slightly cooler summer temperatures than the Valley of the Sun.

And, finally, in the spirit of recent meetings where charitable donation options were provided to offset the carbon footprint of travel to the meetings, we offer this choice in case this is your wish.

The Grand Canyon Trust: The Grand Canyon Trust is grounded in this place, working tirelessly since 1985 to protect the air, water, and wildlife of its slickrock canyons, fragile deserts, and forested mesas. Straddling the Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico state lines, the Colorado Plateau spans a rugged expanse of canyons, desert vistas, and alpine peaks. It’s dry, colorful, and exceptionally rocky, encompassing iconic landscapes like the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Arches, along with millions of acres more of spectacular public lands. The Colorado Plateau holds a rich archaeological record of the Southwest’s earliest people, and it is home to 12 Native American tribes whose culture, traditions, and teachings continue to infuse the region today.


Lara Ferry, Arizona State University
James Sulikowski, Arizona State University