Jesús Rivas

Las Vegas, N.M. – A New Mexico Highlands biology professor will become a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Herpetology, a leading international publication for original research on the biology of amphibians and reptiles.

Highlands biology professor Jesús Rivas, who is known globally for his research on green anacondas that aims to conserve the giant snake, is a new associate editor for the journal.

“My work with the Journal of Herpetology will focus primarily upon behavior, conservation and ecology of reptiles,” Rívas said. “Being invited to serve on the editorial board for this publication is an honor and an exciting opportunity to give back to the herpetology discipline by helping develop and disseminate new knowledge worldwide.”

Rívas is a longtime reviewer for Journal of Herpetology submissions, providing feedback and editorial suggestions on research papers. As an editor, he will compile reviews from other scientists and make recommendations regarding whether the paper is worthy and will contribute to the discipline.

“My job is to determine if the conclusions in the paper are well supported by the data,” Rívas said.

Rívas, who is the graduate coordinator in the Biology Department at Highlands, said he will involve his students in his editorial position with the Journal of Herpetology.

“My graduate students will benefit because they will see the review process from the inside, giving them a much better understanding of how to write their own research for publication. This will also make them better researchers,” Rívas said.

He said serving on the editorial board for the Journal of Herpetology editorial board will bring Highlands more visibility.

Rívas has a long history of being a reviewer for other scholarly publications such as Herpetologica, Animal Behaviour, Journal of Zoology, and Public Library of Science, among others.

He joined the Highlands faculty in 2010. In 2015, Rivas published the first comprehensive study of anacondas in the wild, Natural History of the Green Anaconda: With Emphasis on its Reproductive Biology. His study area for the book was Venezuela, his native country.

In 1992, Rívas founded the ongoing Anaconda Project, which focuses on research and conservation.

His research is published in journals such as Reptiles and Amphibians, Herpetological Review, Animal Behavior, Conservation Biology, and Contemporary Herpetology, among others.

At Highlands, Rívas teaches courses such as Conservation Biology, Animal Behavior, Tropical Ecology and Wildlife Management.