Dwarfism and gigantism have evolved repeatedly on islands throughout the world. We're studying the evolution of dwarfism in reptiles on the California Channel Islands by comparing them with their mainland counterparts from Los Angeles to San Mateo county, testing for physiological and molecular mechanisms involved in generating these remarkably small body sizes, as well as associated changes in life-history and behaviour.
Tonia Schwartz (Auburn University)
Sparkman A.M., Clark A.D., Brummett L.J., Chism K.R., Combrink L.C., Kabey, N.M., Schwartz T.S. (2018). Convergence in reduced body size, head size, and blood glucose in three island reptiles. Ecology and Evolution, 00:1–14. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.4171
Evolution of Dwarfism on the California Channel Islands
Organisms in urban environments may face numerous challenges, including differences in habitat structure, light and noise pollution, resource availability, predators, mutualists, and/or competitors. Both the western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis) and the acorn woodpecker (Melenerpes formicivorus) have successfully colonized urban environments throughout the west. By comparing morphology, reproduction, behaviour, physiology and occupancy between more urban individuals and their more wild counterparts, we're interested in exploring how strategies for persisting in urban spaces differ across the urban gradient.
Sparkman A.M., Howe S., Hynes S., Hobbs B., Handal K. (2018). Parallel behavioral and morphological divergence in fence lizards on two college campuses. PLoS ONE, 13(2): e0191800.