Tropical vertebrate biology reptiles and amphibians
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Tropical Vertebrate Biology: Reptiles and Amphibians. Background, introduction and discussion starters. Goals. Use independent research projects to study aspects of the biology of tropical reptiles/amphibians

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Tropical Vertebrate Biology: Reptiles and Amphibians

Background, introduction and discussion starters


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Goals

  • Use independent research projects to study aspects of the biology of tropical reptiles/amphibians

    • Learn and practice scientific inquiry by conceiving, designing, implementing and reporting the results of an independent study

  • Discover basic principles of the biology of reptiles/amphibians that can be applied in any context (even Ohio!)


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My research interests

  • Physiological ecology and life history variation in fence lizards

    • Life span and reproductive characteristics

      • Effects of environment and genetics

      • Phenotypic modification

    • Locomotor physiology

      • What factors affect speed and endurance in lizards

    • Population biology

      • Competition and predation

    • Behavior

      • Territoriality

      • Home range size

  • Population biology and ecology of Salamanders


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How do we get started?

  • Introduction to the critters

    • Reptiles

    • Amphibians

  • Some activities

    • What do you already know about the biology of amphibians and reptiles?

    • What is known about the herps of San Salvador (~Bahamas)?

    • What are you interested in finding out about the herps of San Salvador?


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Reptiles

  • Lizards

    • Northern Curly-tailed Lizard (Leiocephalus carinatus)

    • Anoles

      • Bark (Anolis distichus)

      • Brown (Anolis sagrei)

    • Iguanine (Cyclura rileyi)

    • Gecko (Sphaerodactylus corticola)

  • Snakes

    • Blind (Leptotyphlops, Typhlops)

    • Brown racer (Alsophus vudii)

    • Bahamas Boa (Epicrates striatus)


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Amphibians

  • Greenhouse frog (Eleutherodactylus planirostris)

  • Cuban treefrog (Osteopilusseptentrionalis)


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What do you already know?

  • On a sheet of paper, list 3 general facts you know about amphibians or reptiles (5 min.)

  • Gather into two equally-sized groups (10 min.)

    • Combine individual lists of facts into a single list with no repeats (compile unique list)

    • Discuss if you can extend the list of unique items (i.e., jog one-another’s memory)

      Report out (5 min.)

  • Back in your large groups, for each fact, make a simple prediction that follows from the fact (15 min.)

    • e.g., “some lizards can change from green to brown very rapidly (green anoles). I expect that if lizards change color for crypsis, then lizards observed on brown substrates are more likely to be brown than green and vice versa.”


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What is known about Bahamian herps

  • In groups of two, do some searches using the species list (20 min.)

    • Web….e.g., google, dogpile, etc

    • ISI web of science

  • Use your searches to report back on something about the biology of one critters (or a related critter) (10 min)


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Prepare for Monday’s session: Brainstorming project ideas

  • Given what we have discovered about herps today (or from previous information)

    • Individually list three things you would be interested in studying (be as specific as you can), and be able to explain why your interested (10 minutes)

    • In pairs, explain your list to a partner


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