My graduate students have all been hard at work on their thesis projects this summer. To highlight their work, I have asked them to participate as guest bloggers and tell us a little bit about their work. Today's guest blogger is Rachel Granberg. Rachel is working on an M.S. in Natural Resources Management at Texas Tech University. Her project examines home ranges of horned lizards and the effects of land use and management on horned lizard survival, fecundity and home range size.
Can you find the Texas horned. With the recent heat spike we had in Mason, Texas, most of our lizards buried themselves up to an inch in soil to escape the heat. Resighting an already camouflaged species is even more difficult when they are buried!lizard? Even with the use of radio telemetry, we have a difficult time spotting exactly where our lizards are hiding. This particular male not only buried himself in rocky soil, but managed to cover his transmitter with leaf litter
Anna Meyer and I, from the Verble-Pearson lab, along with our volunteer Victoria Brudz, are currently monitoring 8 telemetered horned lizards at 2 privately-owned ranches in Mason. We are constantly finding new lizards to add to the project, but we are also losing them to predation and (most often) leaving the property for other privately-owned land. I am using the home range information from these animals to help find what effects prescribed burning may have on home range size and distribution of Texas horned lizards.
This part of the summer is peak nesting period for our tagged females. To date, we have 2 confirmed nest sites and 1 very gravid female we are watching closely. We will monitor nest sites as the hatching dates approach and will (hopefully!) have photos of the adorable new lizards soon!