WILLIAM GUTZKE - I spent my professional development leave at Oregon State University working with Dr. Robert Mason in the Department of Zoology.  The research we focused on was of two parts:  a continuation of a project on the interactions between rattlesnakes and ophiophagic (snake-eating) king snakes; and a new project looking at the feasibility of using Pacific range salamanders in my research on temperature effects on metabolism.  In the former, we found that rattlesnakes react more to king snakes who had recently fed on a snake than king snakes who had been fed exclusively on a rodent diet.  For the later, I have arranged for personnel at OSU to start sending me salamanders from the wild to use in my experiments on metabolism.  Hopefully, these projects will result in several articles being submitted to national journals for publication. 

Perhaps the greatest benefit I got from this experience was to go to a major research institution and compare “them to us”.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the faculty at OSU has the same problems and concerns as we have and that the students are of about the same level of competence as those at the University of Memphis.  Another benefit for me was to take a break form the seemingly endless meetings I had attended during the past two years in my capacities as president-elect and president of the faculty senate at the U of M.   

Overall, this was a worthwhile endeavor that has re-energized and refocused my research and professional life.  I thank the College of Arts and Sciences for this opportunity and encourage others to experience a professional development leave