Monday, April 2, 2012

Lizard Project 7: Little by little, making progress towards discovery.

Each day that we have been working on The Lizard Project has been different, but what all of the days have in common is that we are making progress towards our goal of gathering enough data to make conclusions on whether or not or hypotheses are supported.  All of our data collection brings us closer to being able to say something, supported by evidence, about how sex ratios effect the evolution of animal populations.

Since we caught so many lizards yesterday (135! Wow!) we had a huge backlog of lizard measuring, weighing and marking to do. To get everything done we split up the team.  Dan stayed back at the field station to do the measuring, while Andrew, Tim and I paddled out to Islands M and K. We worked for 6 hours total, but only caught 47 lizards today.  Many of the lizards we spotted today were already marked.  That is a good sign because it means we are already getting close to having all of the animals captured, marked and measured on a couple of our islands. We also had a great Skype conversation  with Erin Nash's Zoology class. The Benton High School students had great questions for us and the whole thing was a lot of fun.

Oyster beds are sharp - ouch!
While we are down hear working the pace can be grueling at times.  The work on the islands is often very hot and we often work late into the night measuring  lizards.  Crawling around in the trees and bushes chasing after lizards leaves us scratched up and bruised.  Yesterday Tim got even more scratched up while getting back into his kayak.  He accidentally stepped on a razor sharp oyster shell and cut his foot.

Throughout all of the work that we do with the lizards, one of the greatest perks of our job is working in such a beautiful setting with so many cool animals all around us.  The insect communities on the islands are amazing and would be worthy of an entire research project on their own.  Here are some of my favorites:
Bold jumping spider

Regal jumping spider
American grass mantis
Spiny-backed orbweaver spider

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