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UTEP Associate Professor Eli Greenbaum leads an expedition to the poorly explored Kabobo Plateau at 7,000 feet elevation. Chimpanzees and other rare species roam the forests in the background. Photo: Eli Greenbaum

New Exhibit Showcases UTEP Faculty Member’s Nine Years of Research in the Democratic Republic of Congo

When it comes to research at The University of Texas at El Paso, it’s not something that just happens in the classrooms or campus laboratories. UTEP research is happening all over the globe.

Since 2007, UTEP’s own Eli Greenbaum, Ph.D., a noted herpetologist and associate professor of evolutionary genetics, has been traveling to the rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo to search for – and find – new species of reptiles and amphibians.

The Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens presents the exhibit “Emerald Abyss: Nine Years of Research in the Congo,” based on Greenbaum’s important, and sometimes dangerous, research.

Join us for the opening reception of “Emerald Abyss: Nine Years of Research in the Congo,” at 5:30 p.m.Thursday, Feb. 11. Opening remarks will begin at 6 p.m.

To put his research into context, “Emerald Abyss” will include sections on ancient African history, as well as information on the country’s political instability, the Rwandan Genocide, Africa’s World War, environmental impacts and unsustainable harvest of timber and precious metals, poorly known biodiversity, human evolution and close living relatives of humans, tropical disease, and newly found species.

Exhibit displays will include photos, videos, audio recordings and artifacts (wooden masks, ceremonial statues and fluid-preserved specimens).

Greenbaum said he is excited about sharing his research findings and experiences in Africa with audiences through this exhibit.

“Because it is rarely covered in the news, many people are unfamiliar with the Congo and its many surprising ties with the United States, and I am hopeful that visitors will be awestruck by the African country’s history, cultures, scenic beauty and biodiversity,” he said. “I will also strive to instill a sense of pride about the unique resources and research at our University.”

The Great Lakes Bush Viper (Atheris nitschei) is a common, supposedly deadly, viper of the Albertine Rift Mountains of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda, Africa. Photo: Eli Greenbaum
The Great Lakes Bush Viper (Atheris nitschei) is a common, supposedly deadly, viper of the Albertine Rift Mountains of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda, Africa. Photo: Eli Greenbaum
The von Hohnel's chameleon (Triceros hoehnelii) of Uganda and Kenya, Africa, will change its body color to black in the cool mornings to effectively capture the sun's heat and warm its body. Photo: Eli Greenbaum
The von Hohnel’s chameleon (Triceros hoehnelii) of Uganda and Kenya, Africa, will change its body color to black in the cool mornings to effectively capture the sun’s heat and warm its body. Photo: Eli Greenbaum
This colorful Hyperolius treefrog is an unknown, possibly new species found in flooded reeds in Katanga, Democratic Republic of the Congo. While calling for mates, these frogs emit volatile compounds from their vocal sacs, perhaps working like cologne to attract females. Photo: Eli Greenbaum
This colorful Hyperolius treefrog is an unknown, possibly new species found in flooded reeds in Katanga, Democratic Republic of the Congo. While calling for mates, these frogs emit volatile compounds from their vocal sacs, perhaps working like cologne to attract females. Photo: Eli Greenbaum

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