Mojave Desert Fieldwork

The Mojave Desert is a great place to study reptiles. Besides being a biological hotspot of lizard diversity, it is also a beautiful place to work.

Anthony, Bob, Amber Wright, and I just got back from an 11-day field expedition in the Mojave, where we met up with Greg Pauly to collect data for a number of different projects.

IMG_4370IMG_4376IMG_4379IMG_4387IMG_4374

 

 

 

IMG_4386

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_4295

 

 

Some of the lizard species we are working with in the Mojave include the following:

Phrynosoma platyrhinos

Phrynosoma platyrhinos

Sceloporus magister

Sceloporus magister

Aspidoscelis tigris

Aspidoscelis tigris

Coleonyx variegatus

Coleonyx variegatus

Gambelia wislizenii

Gambelia wislizenii

Sauromalus ater

Sauromalus ater

Urosaurus graciosus

Urosaurus graciosus

Callisaurus draconoides

Callisaurus draconoides

Dipsosaurus dorsalis

Dipsosaurus dorsalis

Crotaphytus bicinctores

Crotaphytus bicinctores

Uta stansburiana

Uta stansburiana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of our projects is a 50-year resurvey of lizard communities in sites studied in the 1960’s:

Lizard community surveys

Lizard community surveys

We are also collecting tissue samples and geographic data for all lizards in the Mojave to support two other projects. First, we are carrying out a comparative landscape genomics study to investigate if genetic connectivity is a property of the landscape itself, or if genetic connectivity is species-specific and can be explained by their traits. Second, we are bringing the fields of landscape genomics and community ecology together in a novel way to understand how habitat and competition jointly influence the assembly of ecological communities.

IMG_4122

Specimen prep.

IMG_4135

Zoological specimens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also encountered several snakes in the desert, including Masticophis and Lampropeltis.

IMGP3889R0003613

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, of course, what trip to California would be complete without burritos!

IMG_4047IMG_4188IMG_4284

Posted in herps, lab, Natural History, travel
2 comments on “Mojave Desert Fieldwork
  1. barbara wishingrad says:

    Coleonyx variegatus looks like the one we saw in our yard in Santa Barbara the other day! I love the smile on Sauromalus ater! I will take more time to explore more of the website soon.

  2. Annemarie Weibel says:

    Do you know that the western fence lizard’s third eye “GPS” system has a parietal eye that tells the lizard where it is and how to get home?

    Loved reading about your trip and seeing the photos. Cool creatures!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*