Let the field work commence!
As field work continues in Oklahoma through early June, under the leadership of field assistant Aaron Geheber, and undergrads Elyse Ellsworth, Brendan Heitz,and Claire Winfrey, the remainder of the Siler Lab prepares for serious international travel for May, June and beyond! See their research summaries below.
Jessa Watters (mid-late May): Jessa joins her undergraduate herpetology mentor, Dr. John Iverson of Earlham College and several other EC alumni, on a trip to the Exuma Islands of the Bahamas to continue work on a long-term study of the Allen’s Cay Iguana (Cyclura cychlura inornata), known naturally from only two small islands. Our specific focus this year will involve an expansion of previous studies on the effects of human visitation (including feeding of iguanas) on the physiology of the iguanas. Dr. Susannah French of Utah State University and her graduate student will accompany us, and we will be drawing blood from iguanas to measure stress hormones and immune responses from islands where tourists feed iguanas vs. islands where they do not. We will also bring a portable ultrasound machine to experiment with its utility in assessing reproductive condition in female iguanas.
Cameron Siler & Elyse Freitas (mid-May through early July): Cameron and Elyse continue work in the Philippines via the NSF-funded project on skink limb development. On this 7-week trip, they are joined by Co-PIs, Dr. Gunter Wagner of Yale University, Dr. Duncan Irschick of UMass Amherst, and Dr. Philip Bergman of Clark University, and their students. All researchers will travel to three total field sites on Luzon Island to hunt for Brachymeles, and generally monitor herpetological diversity. Read updates from the Feb-March 2016 trip.
Kai Wang (mid-May through late August): Kai will go to SW China (Yunnan, Sichuan, and Tibet) from May to July for a herptile diversity survey in the Three Parallel River Region. He hopes to finalise fieldwork for his MS thesis on the Agamid lizard genus Japalura. Kai works closely with herpetologists from the Kunming Institute, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In addition, from August 15-21, he will also attend the 8th World Congress of Herpetology, in Hangzhou, China.