(Posted April 2, 2007)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- John Matter, associate professor of biology at Juniata College, will talk about how studying lizards is an effective way to approach teaching biology at a small college. The lecture, "The Learned Lizard: Lessons from Alternative Models at a Liberal Arts College," at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 11 in Neff lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science on the Juniata campus.
The lecture is free and open to the public. The lecture is part of the Bookend Seminar Lecture Series, which features afternoon lectures each month by Juniata faculty.
Matter, who teaches biology, zoology and environmental toxicology, has done extensive research over the past two decades on lizards. At Juniata, Matter has focused his research program on fence lizards. In his talk, Matter will detail how lizards are effective models for questions in ecology, life-history evolution and cell and molecular biology.
Matter will review some of the research projects he has completed over the years and also explain how to engage college students in biology by creating lizard-based research projects.
Matter joined Juniata College's faculty as an assistant professor of biology in 1997.
His primary research interest is vertebrate reproductive biology, particularly how environmental factors can effect reproductive efficiency. At Clemson University, he studied the potential effects of environmental contaminants on reproductive structures in American alligators, bobwhite quail, and deer mice. Since coming to Juniata, his research has focused on population ecology and demography of the eastern fence lizard, a species in abundance at the Raystown Field Station.
Matter earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and went on to earn a master's degree from St. Louis University and a doctoral degree from the University of Florida. He also worked as a postdoctoral research associate at The Institute of Wildlife and Environmental Toxicology at Clemson University in South Carolina.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.