This past weekend I attended the 2018 Annual Southeast Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation meeting at Unicoi State Park, Helen, GA. I had a stimulating time going to talks, presenting, reconnecting with friends and meeting new people who are enthusiastic about herpetofauna.

The setting for this conference was great. Unicoi State Park had plenty to offer in terms of hiking, herping, and birding. Helen, the town nearby features Bavarian architecture, which reminded me of Wenatchee, Washington.

Ribbon Snake (Thamnophis sauritus)

I was very happy to meet David McLeod (James Madison University) and his students Althea and Sarah. David use to work for many years in Thailand and humbled me by his knowledge of Thai herpetofauna! I also have John Maerz to thank for telling me more about the ICON program at UGA. This rigorous program is an exciting opportunity for anyone who wants to take an integrated approach to conservation.

Coming back from this meeting, I’m energized to learn more about what I can do to conserve herpetofauna in Thailand. Also in the Southeast…but Southeast Asia. But for now…it’s finishing up our manuscript from last summer’s project! I intend to get back to posting more frequently on this blog!



SICB 2018

Happy New Year!

2017 was an amazing year filled with new experiences and friendships. None of it would have been possible without the support of my family and the Warner Lab.

2018 started out fresh with the the Warner Lab taking the 2018 Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting in San Francisco. I gave my first talk about my study on anole nest sites in urban areas. I also attended many great talks and got to catch up with my previous professors from Gonzaga!


Salamanders at Big Cypress Tree State Park, TN

Since our university was on Thanksgiving Break (3rd week of November). I had the honour of visiting Josh Hall’s family in West Tennessee. Josh and I collaborate on a series of projects to study how invasive lizards might be adapted to urban adaptation so we’ve gone down to Miami, FL together a couple times. While we share many common interests and values, one stark difference between us is our views on big cities. I really like big cities because I grew up in one. However, Josh doesn’t share that affinity for busy streets and skyscrapers.

My trip to Josh’s hometown of Milan (pronounce “Mai-Lan” unlike the Italian city) gave me a better idea of our difference! On Thanksgiving Day, Josh showed me the whole town in 20 minutes! Then we came home to celebrate Thanksgiving with the entire family. We had plenty of delicious food and dessert while sharing all sorts of stories.

The day after Thanksgiving we went to Big Cypress Tree State Park. The park was named so because there use to be a Big Cypress tree but it unfortunately burnt down years ago. However, there is still lots of cypress tree and the swamp is great salamander habitat! Joined by Jordan (Josh’s friend) and Hazel (picture below), we went for a stomp in the woods on a cool sunny morning. According to Josh, time seems to slow down in the swamp as you’re surrounded by the serene background of cypress trees.

Without too much effort, we found three species of salamanders, the Mole salamander (Ambystoma talpoideum), a small-mouth salamander (Ambystoma texanum), and the spotted salamander (Ambystoma opacum).

Hazel with a small-mouth salamander
A marbled salamander next to mole salamander

We then spent a couple hours enjoying the morning before heading home!

wonderful cypress grove

ALAPARC Conference 2017

This past weekend, my advisor – Dan Warner – and I attended the 2017 Alabama Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation meeting at The Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center. While our lab’s research interest is not focused on conservation of reptiles and amphibians in the state of Alabama, we were there to share our work on evolution and ecology of invasive anoles in Florida. I presented a poster about how anole embryos are robust to urban incubation environments and Dan gave a talk about our labs work to investigate how natural selection varies across space and time.


We learned a lot other important conservation projects that institutions in Alabama (and 1 from Mississippi) are actively involved such as the Indigo snake reintroduction program, the status of Flattened musk turtle (only endemic turtle in the state), and much more.

After the presentations in the morning we all went on a herping excursion in Conecuh National Forest. Led by the likes of Jimmy Stiles, Jim Godwin (AL Natural Heritage Program), and Craig Guyer (Emeritus Professor of Auburn University) and with a little luck we spotted 16 species of amphibians and reptiles in one afternoon. The highlight of the day included a Gopher tortoise, a Diamond-back rattle snake, few water dog juveniles, and an eastern glass lizard. _MG_5281.jpg


An overall solid weekend of herping and networking with some awesome herpetologist in the region!

Miami 1: First wet week

The first week of setting up the experiment was very productive thanks to Dan, Josh, Nathaniel, and James. We set up our study sites (8 plots) and placed the lizard cages we built in a secure space. We will be working in Matheson Hammock and along Red Road (in Pinecrest and Coral Gables neighborhood). We are also very fortunate that Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens agreed to host us.

Other than that, we spent a lot of time herping and being fascinated by the biodiversity down here! However, it has also been raining a lot and there has only been one day that we returned to the apartment with our feet dry.

I had expectations about this city but the more time I spend here, the more I see how unique it is. One thing is for sure, there are not many cities that harbor as many non-native species of plants and animals.

Sphaerodactylus notatus