Publications by authors named "W T Branch"

205 Publications

A new species of tree snake (Dipsadoboa, Serpentes: Colubridae) from 'sky island' forests in northern Mozambique, with notes on other members of the Dipsadoboa werneri group.

Zootaxa 2019 Jul 25;4646(3):zootaxa.4646.3.6. Epub 2019 Jul 25.

Herpetology Department, Port Elizabeth Museum (Bayworld), P.O. Box 13147, Humewood, Port Elizabeth, 6013, South Africa Department of Zoology, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, 6013, South Africa.

A new species of tree snake Dipsadoboa montisilva Branch, Conradie Tolley sp. nov. (Serpentes: Colubridae) is described from the 'sky islands' of Mount Mabu and Mount Ribáuè in northern Mozambique. Features of scalation, colour, body form and habitat distinguish the new species from other Dipsadoboa. This is supported by a phylogenetic analysis using one mitochondrial marker (cytochrome b) that shows the new Mozambican species is divergent from other sampled Dipsadoboa, including D. flavida and D. aulica, the only congeners known to occur in Mozambique. Morphologically, the new Dipsadoboa forms part of the D. werneri-shrevei complex from east and southeast Africa, but differs in having higher subcaudal counts, a different temporal pattern and only two supralabials entering the orbit. Phylogenetically, it occurs in a clade with D. shrevei and D. werneri. The status of D. shrevei in East Africa is reassessed, particularly in terms of the poorly-known Dipsadoboa shrevei kageleri from northern Tanzania. It is morphologically well defined from D. shrevei shrevei and utilises a different habitat. Although based on limited genetic data, it appears to be well-defined from typical D. shrevei and is accordingly raised to specific status. The only Tanzanian record for typical D. shrevei from Mtene, Rondo Plateau in southeast Tanzania is well isolated from the species' range to the west (e.g. Zambia, Angola) and the published scalation features, particularly ventral counts, do not fully accord with D. shrevei. The Rondo Plateau population is treated as Dipsadoboa incerta sedis, and because we return D. shrevei to its binomial status, we can no longer consider D. shrevei as occurring in Tanzania. Biogeographically, the Rondo Plateau population may have a stronger affinity to the new Mozambican species. The discovery of isolated populations of the new species in mid-altitude forest remnants on Mt Mabu and Mt Ribáuè emphasizes the high conservation importance of the Mozambique forest 'sky islands' from which numerous other endemic new species have been recently discovered. These species are impacted by ongoing habitat destruction through slash and burn clearing for subsistence agriculture.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4646.3.6DOI Listing
July 2019

Rediscovery, taxonomic status, and phylogenetic relationships of two rare and endemic snakes (Serpentes: Psammophiinae) from the southwestern Angolan plateau.

Zootaxa 2019 Apr 29;4590(3):zootaxa.4590.3.2. Epub 2019 Apr 29.

Port Elizabeth Museum, Beach Road, Humewood, Port Elizabeth, South Africa Research Associate, Department of Zoology, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Two rare and endemic psammophines (Serpentes: Psammophiinae) occur in Angola. The taxonomic status of Psammophylax rhombeatus ocellatus Bocage, 1873 and Psammophis ansorgii Boulenger, 1905 have long remained problematic, with both having varied past and present taxonomic assignments, and whose distributions may therefore present zoogeographic anomalies. Little was known of their biology, habitat associations, or phylogenetic relationships. New material was collected during biodiversity surveys of the Humpata Plateau, near Lubango, Angola. It allowed fuller descriptions of scalation and live coloration for both species, and resolution of their taxonomic status. Genetic analysis confirms that both are distinct at the specific level. In addition, within Psammophis, Jalla's Sand Snake (Psammophis jallae Peracca, 1896), of which P. rohani Angel, 1925, remains a synonym, is sister to P. ansorgii, and Boulenger's comment on similarities with P. crucifer are not supported. The status of an unusual skaapsteker from Calueque, Cunene Province, Angola, is discussed and its assignment to Ps. ocellatus is provisional and requires additional material for taxonomic resolution. The new P. ansorgii records from Tundavala represent a range (+400 km southwest) and altitude (1800 m to 2286 m a.s.l) extension from the previous only known precise locality of Bela Vista (= Catchiungo), Huambo Province, whilst that for Ps. ocellatus doubles the known altitude from 1108 m to 2286 m a.s.l and extends the range about 122 km to the northwest from historical material from the plateau of Huíla and Cunene provinces.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4590.3.2DOI Listing
April 2019

Type specimens in the Port Elizabeth Museum, South Africa, including the br />historically important Albany Museum collection. Part 2: Reptiles (Squamata).

Zootaxa 2019 Apr 1;4576(1):zootaxa.4576.1.1. Epub 2019 Apr 1.

Port Elizabeth Museum (Bayworld), P.O. Box 13147, Humewood 6013, South Africa. School of Natural Resource Management, George Campus, Nelson Mandela University, George 6530, South Africa..

The Port Elizabeth Museum herpetology collection contains 407 type specimens, representing 70 primary and 55 secondary squamate types. The type series comprise 93 African taxa (84 lizards and 9 snakes), of which 75 are still regarded as valid. It is the third largest primary reptile type collection in Africa. This is the first catalogue of this important African squamate type collection. It provides the original name, original publication date, journal volume number and pagination, reference to illustrations, current name, museum collection number, type locality, and notes on the status of all types and important additional non-type material mentioned in historical descriptions. Photographs of all primary types, as well as original illustrated material are provided.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4576.1.1DOI Listing
April 2019

SUPPORTING THE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF FACULTY TEACHERS.

Authors:
William T Branch

Trans Am Clin Climatol Assoc 2019 ;130:166-172

ATLANTA, GEORGIA.

I and my colleagues designed and implemented a longitudinal faculty development program to improve humanistic teaching and role modeling at 30 medical schools involving more than 1,000 faculty members and 50 local facilitators. Evaluation demonstrated that participating faculty members who completed our program were superior humanistic teachers compared to controls as rated by their learners on a validated questionnaire. Participants were also sufficiently engaged to attend 80% or more of the curricular sessions with few dropouts, indicating the feasibility and generalizability of the program. Preliminary analysis of participants' personal narratives at the beginning compared to the end of our program suggested advancement in professional identity formation. I provide examples of the narratives and discuss future studies addressing this topic.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6735997PMC
February 2020

Disease and Yield Response of a Stem-rot-resistant and -Susceptible Peanut Cultivar under Varying Fungicide Inputs.

Plant Dis 2019 Nov 29;103(11):2781-2785. Epub 2019 Aug 29.

Department of Plant Pathology, The University of Georgia, Tifton, GA 31793.

Peanut ( L.) producers rely on costly fungicide programs to manage stem rot, caused by . Planting disease-resistant cultivars could increase profits by allowing for the deployment of less-expensive, lower-input fungicide programs. Field experiments were conducted to characterize stem rot and early and late leaf spot (caused by and , respectively), yield, and overall profitability of cultivars Georgia-06G (stem-rot-susceptible) and Georgia-12Y (stem-rot-resistant) as influenced by seven commercial fungicide programs. Stem rot incidence was consistently lower on Georgia-12Y for all fungicides when compared with Georgia-06G and was lowest for both cultivars in plots treated with prothioconazole plus a tank mixture of penthiopyrad and tebuconazole. Leaf spot severity was similar for both the resistant and susceptible cultivars, and the greatest reduction occurred in plots treated with prothioconazole plus a tank mixture of penthiopyrad and tebuconazole. Fungicide programs gave similar yield and net return on Georgia-12Y; however, plots of Georgia-06G treated with prothioconazole plus a tank mixture of penthiopyrad and tebuconazole had the greatest yield and net return. Yields and economic return from the highest level of fungicide inputs on Georgia-06G were numerically less than those of Georgia-12Y treated with only chlorothalonil. These results show the value of fungicides in peanut disease management with susceptible cultivars, as well as the benefits of planting stem-rot-resistant cultivars in high-risk situations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-04-19-0771-REDOI Listing
November 2019