HueyFest! Thank you for coming!

[UPDATE 10/22/2013]

One additional photostream from George Wang can be found here!

Some great ones there of the whole day!  Thanks George!


Dear Colleagues,

It was a ‘treasureable moment‘ to see you all gathered in honor of Ray a few weeks ago.

The outcome of HueyFest for me was the realization that Ray has had a much larger impact on those around him than I had imagined!  I knew he was great … but I guess I did not know he was THAT great!

The symposium talks highlighted those things we have come to associate with Ray, both professionally and personally.  Paul Hertz’s talk on “The Cult of Huey”, Ted Garland’s talk on “What we learned from Ray”, and Doug Crawford’s “What comes after 15?”  reviewed Ray’s incredible history and influence on people over time.  The science tributes underscored his widespread influence in physiological responses to ‘abiotic environmental factors’.

The posters were great! And the personal tributes after dinner were touching, funny, and perfect.

I have posted links to flicker streams of photos from HueyFest.  You can download copies of photos directly from Flicker, or just ask, and we will send you versions of the photos you want.   Also, if you have good photos you would like to share, please send them to me and I will put them up.  George Wang has photos coming as well (he  promised them over the weekend), so check back at this blog post for updated links.  There are some good photos here of many of you…

HueyFest Symposium Day:

Hueyfest Poster Session:

Enjoy, and thank you all for making HueyFest special!

See you around!



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Kalahari Friends, 1981


Kalahari, 1981, L to R: HenryJohn-Alder, Ray Huey, Ken Nagy, and Al Bennett.
Curiously we had 4 bottles of chutney on the dinner table, and only 3 cans of beer.


Hi Ray:

So sorry I couldn’t be there today to help celebrate your HUGE career. I often find myself thinking about and passing on to others many of the major points about reptile thermal relations and ecology that I learned from your research. Your findings have become a major and fundamental part of reptile biology. Thank you!

And a special thank you for including me on your research expedition on Eremias to Nossob! That was a very unique experience, and I really treasure it. (I’m still wondering where the urate deposit in the rain frog container came from!)

All best wishes to you, Ray, on this major transition event.

Ken Nagy

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Jonathan Losos features HueyFest on Anole Annals

A nice summary of HueyFest on Anole Annals!  Link below.

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A Video Tribute from Tom Hornbein

Tom Hornbein, Ray’s collaborator in  high-altitude physiology and mountaineering, contributed this video tribute to HueyFest.

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Ted Garland’s talk at HueyFest aptly summarizes what we have all learned from Huey!

To see Ted’s presentation, click on the link below.  Thanks Ted!


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October 13, 2013 · 11:43 am

Animal Crackers

I did not get to know Ray in the desert, or hear singing geckos with him, but he was a wonderful committee member when I was a grad student in UW (then Zoology). “Physiology” was one of the topic-areas for my oral exams, and Ray was there representing that field. I was basically terrified about the whole thing – I never think well on my feet, and this felt like a test where I was expected to be able to expound on Anything – and be coherent. Ray helped enormously with getting me out of that paralysis when, for his first question to me, he pulled out a box of animal crackers and told me to pick one, identify it, and eat it. I think it was a hippopotamus… That event is emblematic of his empathy and humor.

In later years Ray spent a number of winters at Friday Harbor, getting away from the city for quiet time, and we very much enjoyed getting together for dinners with him – I have several cards in my recipe box (yes, old fashioned paper cards in a metal box) that have at the top “Ray Huey’s …” [e.g. pasta with sesame sauce and chicken, one of our all-time favorites]. I hope that now in ‘retirement’ he will spend more time here!

Megan Dethier

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Song of the Kalahari

I was not yet 30 when Ray entered my life and transformed my existence. We had little inkling then of how much his own life would be forever changed. In 1968, “Kalahari” was merely a word, but it would soon become hard reality. Ray once told me that for him the Kalahari is like my favorite place in Western Australia is for me (the Great Victoria Desert).

So-called “Barking” Geckos          

Geckos are the most vocal of all lizards, and a Kalahari species has taken making noise to the extreme among geckos. In his blog, Wulf Haacke refers to “Memories of Barking Geckos,” noting that they do not call during cold weather. The common name “Barking,” however, is somewhat of a misnomer. These very vocal geckos (Ptenopus garrulus) issue a series of rapid clicks (some call it chirping) at nightfall in the Kalahari, chorusing like crickets or frogs. When hundreds or even thousands of these little lizards get going, they provide a wonderful nightly serenade — their choruses symbolize the Kalahari. Sometimes I have wondered if the strange clicking sounds in the language of the Khoi San Bushmen were inspired by the calls of these geckos.

Though abundant, Ptenopus were difficult to collect because they seldom strayed very far from their burrows. To catch them, Ray invented and perfected a neat “shovel trick”. To attract females, males sing from the mouths of their burrows with just their head, yellow neck, and foreparts out. If you approach slowly and silently, they will often hold their ground at this relatively safe spot. When you get within a couple of meters, hold your shovel out at arm’s length, then lunge suddenly, cutting off their retreat down their burrow. Occasionally, a gecko gets chopped in half, but more often than not this technique worked quite well.

PtenopusOne night when termites were swarming, and sending out their winged reproductive alates, we found dozens of Ptenopus out well away from their burrows feeding on the juicy soft-bodied insects. Some geckos were so stuffed that they could scarcely move, with their bellies full, their esophagus filled with termites, some even hanging out of their mouths! Such gluttony has its risks.

On an unusual overcast day when winged termites were swarming, and going on mating flights during daylight hours, Ptenopus, normally strictly nocturnal, were actually active in daytime.  Several species of shrikes (small predatory birds) were capturing these geckos, saving them for future meals by pinning them up on thorny Acacia bushes as food caches. Dozens of crucified Ptenopus, many still alive, pinned up like Christmas tree ornaments, festooned nearly every thorny bush in that part of the Kalahari on that day.

Five years after our original Kalahari adventure was concluded, Ray, now a Harvard Ph. D. and inventor of evolutionary physiology, was a Miller postdoc at his old alma mater UC Berkeley. He called to say we’re going back under the auspices of a National Geographic Society grant to follow up our research on oogpister mimicry and foraging modes. When we returned to the Kalahari in 1975, Ray told me that, for him, the sound of the nightly chorus of barking geckos had become the Kalahari.

Eric R. Pianka

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