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Sticky Alabama Salamanders Attract Austrian Biologist To Samford

Posted on 2012-11-20 by Sean Flynt (205) 726-4197

Photo: Patrick Coin

Samford University’s Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences will host Dr. Janek von Byern of Vienna, Austria’s Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Experimental and Clinical Traumatology Nov. 24-29.

Samford Biology professor Kristin Bakkegard said von Byern is coming to Birmingham to collect secretions from two locally common salamanders--the marbled salamander and the slimy salamander—because salamanders use sticky skin secretions to protect themselves against predators. Von Byern is a leading expert in such bio-adhesives, which may have medical or industrial applications. Bakkegard will locate and capture the salamanders, help collect the secretions and provide expertise on the natural history of the creatures.

Von Byern will present a free public lecture on the structure, biochemistry and adhesive properties of the adhesive system of Plethodon shermani (Amphibia, Plethodontidae) Nov. 27 at 4 p.m. in Samford’s Christenberry Planetarium.
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