This monthly General Monthly Meeting we will have guest speaker, Molly Bechtel, speaking about desert tortoises and ticks.
Molly graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) with a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Animal Science. While working on her master’s at UNR Molly published work on parasite abundance and diversity in woodrats which further piqued her interest in disease ecology and how it applies to wildlife ecology. Soon after Molly completed her master’s degree she started work in the herpetology lab at UNR helping collect tissue samples of desert tortoises to assess disease. Eventually she was hired at the USGS as a desert tortoise biologist. Here she worked on several research projects, including a project focused on disease and health of tortoise populations. Currently, she is studying tick-borne disease in desert tortoises and how ticks and disease interact with the Mojave Desert burrow ecosystem and possibly, public health. In her free time she founded and volunteers with the Northern Arizona Association for Women in STEM, which advocates for equal representation of women in the sciences.