28 July 2012

Back at it!

Well, it certainly has been a while!

Last I blogged about our Outreach day- which of course, was a blast. We finished up the last few weeks of the beginning-of-the-activity-season-field-season-part-one shortly after our kid's outreach days. Overall, we had fairly a fairly successful recapture rate for Holbrookia maculata... which was, funny enough, almost exactly 50%. We finished the field season with 175 successful captures, 87 of which were previously tagged from last year- either in the beginning or end of the activity season in 2011. We captured 145 Sceloporus undulatus and tagged every single one.

Male Lesser Earless, H. maculata, on the ecotone
Female Lesser Earless, H. maculata, in the heart of White Sands
We also chanced upon some exciting other finds... which may be considered predators roaming around our interdune sites!

Male Collared Lizard, Crotaphytus
, we named"Tyrone Lizardser,"
 for obscure, irrelevant reasons 
Gopher Snake, Pituophis catenifer, basking
between two interdunes on the ecotone

We have now just started the second recapture of S. undulatus and have decided that three weeks is not enough time to sufficiently sample H. maculata as well. So far, our recapture rate is not as good... after two days, we've collected 32 lizards, only 8 of which... or 25%... are recaptures.

Beautiful little Eastern Fence, S. undulatus, looking a little miffed at
being poked, prodded, and "processed"
Does this say something about the biology or ecology of this species? Is our study going to be effective at measuring natural selection by mark recapture over two years for S. undulatus? Whether or not we will be able to gauge the strength and direction of selection on this species, is yet to be determined... however, at the very least we can obtain informative population data, discover something about the robustness of mark-recapture methods for measuring natural selection across species, and spend just a few more weeks in the sun chasing after reptiles!

My favourite shot of an Eastern Fence Lizard just hanging out.

Until next time,
S. Des Roches

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