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.
Walking down “Red Road” in Pinecrest neighborhood of Miami, FL, it is hard to miss a myriad of lizards on trees and street lamps. Among the many city-dwelling residents, the Cuban brown anole (A. sagrei) and the Puerto Rican crested anole (A. cristatellus) are seen virtually everywhere. While there are evidences that anoles are adapting to urban landscapes, most of past studies have focused on adult stages (Kolbe et al., 2012; Winchell et al., 2016; Lapiedra et al., 2017) and early life stages have been largely ignored. Our recently published study was the first to address how adaptation in the embryonic stage could facilitate establishment of populations in cities.
Last weekend I got to go out to Chattahoochee State Park (border of Florida and Alabama) with the 13 students from Herpetology class lab by Brian Folt. Our goal was to check out the wetlands (possible habitats for the one-toed amphiuma and sirens).
Over the course of two days, we saw over 14 species of herps, some of which I’ve witness for the first time:
The Camelback shrimp (Rhynchocinetes durbanensis)is commonly well-known as “Durban dancing shrimp” and “hingeback shrimp” among scuba divers for their cherry red colour, small size, and humpback making them popular subjects photography. Continue reading →