We extend our warmest invitation to the 2015 Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (JMIH) in Reno, Nevada. The meeting will take place at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, July 15 – 19. The 2015 JMIH includes the 31st annual meeting of the American Elasmobranch Society, the 73rd annual meeting of the Herpetologists' League, and the 95th annual meeting of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists.
Reno is located at the northwestern border of Nevada, in a valley known as the Truckee Meadows. Our high desert city (elevation of 4505 ft) sits between the western edge of the Great Basin Desert and the eastern escarpment of the Sierra Nevada, and is thus near a number of diverse ecological communities. Reno is approximately 20 miles east of Lake Tahoe, itself the second largest alpine lake in North America, and sixth largest lake (by volume) in the U.S. after the five Great Lakes. The cool waters of Lake Tahoe flow into the Truckee River, which passes through the heart of Reno before terminating in Pyramid Lake, an endorheic lake with an endemic fish (cui-ui) and other important western natives. So bring your swimsuit to "float" the Truckee, either by kayak, raft, or tube, and your rod to fly-fish for native Lahontan cutthroat trout, even in downtown Reno.
Sitting in the rainshadow of the Sierra Nevada, low humidity and sunny skies are the norm, with an average of more than 300 days of sunshine per year. So skip the umbrella and bring the sunscreen and shades. Temperatures in the region are mild (annual mean high of 68, and annual mean low of 40) but can fluctuate as much as 35 degrees between day and night. July is our warmest month, with a mean high of 92, while the temperature at night rarely rises above 60 degrees (mean 57). More than half the annual precipitation falls from December to March, in the form of mixed snow and rain, with snow accumulation seldom lasting longer than three or four days.
The area was first settled over 2000 years ago by the Martis people who lived along the Truckee River and its tributaries. Today, three indigenous tribes, the Washoe, Paiute, and Shoshone, are still a vibrant part of our region with important holdings and cultural influence. Europeans were drawn to the Truckee Meadows because of the relatively fertile land, and as a hospitable final staging area before making westward pass to California over the formidable Sierra Nevada. The area began taking its modern form in the 1850s and 60s, as entrepreneurs set-up in Reno to serve settlers rushing to California and miners seeking their fortunes in American's first major silver mine, the Comstock Lode only 25 miles away in Virginia City (now a scenic ghost town). The completion of the first transcontinental railroad cemented Reno as a major outpost of the west, and the city became the principal settlement between Sacramento and Salt Lake City.
In the 1930s, the mining boom fizzled (though Nevada is still the largest producer of gold in the U.S., and second largest producer of silver), and the state legalized open gambling. Reno quickly became the gambling capital of the United States, and held that title until overtaken by Las Vegas in the late 1950s. Today, gaming is still an important part of the economy, but Reno has emerged as an outdoor recreation destination (National Geographic's "Top 10 Emerging Ski Towns", Outdoor Magazine's "Best Whitewater Town", among a few recent accolades), with fishing and whitewater opportunities downtown, and quick access to Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada, offering some of the best hiking, climbing, mountain biking, and skiing in the country (the Reno-Tahoe area boasted the highest number of US skiers/snowboarders in the last Olympics). Other tourist draws include the Reno Aces, the minor league baseball Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Reno Bighorns, part of the NBA Development League, the National Bowling Stadium, National Automobile Museum, Nevada Museum of Art, Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts, the Nevada Children's Discovery Museum, the University of Nevada, Reno (and its museums, teams, and events), and events like Hot August Nights (a classic car convention), Street Vibrations (a motorcycle rally), The Great Reno Balloon Race, the National Championship Air Races, and Burning Man (in the Black Rock Desert north of town).
While you are here, we encourage you to explore the downtown and midtown areas to take advantage of the high concentration of award winning restaurants, bars, brew-pubs, shops, theaters, and other attractions (10 minute drive, 15 minute trip by public transit from the Grand Sierra Resort). During the JMIH, the downtown will host a number of enjoyable events, including Artown (live music, dance, performing arts, etc), Reno Street Food and Feed the Camel (weekly gourmet food truck events), Reno Basque Festival, Downtown Reno Wine Walk, and Reno Beer Crawl. For those of you looking for more out-door themed thrills, the Whitney Peak Hotel offers the "anti-casino" experience, complete with the world's tallest outdoor climbing wall (over looking the Reno Arch), and we have planned three separate excursions following the meetings to Pyramid Lake, and Lake Tahoe. Regardless of group events, get yourself outside to see the desert herps, catch the native trout, and enjoy the views of Reno, Tahoe, and the basin and range from over 10,000 ft.
On behalf of the local committee, I’m happy to welcome you to join us for some fun in the sun, in the "Biggest Little City in the World". From our blue skies and grand vistas, to our western cuisine, we think you’ll have a great time exploring the Reno-Tahoe area. We look forward to seeing you in July!
Chris Feldman, LHC chair
Local Host Committee
C Richard Tracy, Department of Biology, University of Nevada, Reno
Sudeep Chandra, Department of Biology, University of Nevada, Reno
Zeb Hogan, Department of Biology, University of Nevada, Renobr
Mary Peacock, Department of Biology, University of Nevada, Reno