Evolution

Michele Johnson – Anole Annals


The place do you’re employed and what do you do?

 I work at Trinity College in San Antonio, Texas. I train programs on evolution and vertebrate biology, and I lead a lab of undergraduate scientists finding out lizard habits and physiology. We mix approaches from ecology, evolution, and neuroscience to grasp how and why lizards behave the way in which they do.

What facets of anole biology do you research, and what have you ever discovered? 

 One of many most important areas of my analysis is the evolution of behavioral mechanisms, and we usually give attention to how muscle groups permit completely different species to behave in numerous methods.  A shocking outcome from this work has been that anole species that use a muscle ceaselessly don’t often have bigger muscle groups than species that use the muscle hardly ever. As an alternative, we discovered that muscle groups that transfer greater constructions are greater than muscle groups that transfer smaller constructions, irrespective of how usually the muscle is used. This highlights how completely different lizard muscle groups appear to be from muscle groups in mammals and birds.

One other facet of our work focuses on how a lizard’s social and bodily atmosphere impacts the way it behaves. We’ve studied why inexperienced anoles change their physique coloration, how anoles talk to type a social hierarchy, how anoles reply to synthetic gentle at night time, and plenty of different questions. 

How and why did you begin finding out anoles? 

 In school, I turned fascinated with finding out evolution on islands, as a result of I assumed islands had been the place probably the most thrilling evolutionary tales had been being found. I had by no means studied anoles earlier than graduate faculty, however since I joined Jonathan Losos’ lab as a PhD scholar, they’ve been the main focus of virtually all my analysis.

What do you’re keen on most about finding out anoles? 

 As a behavioral ecologist, my favourite a part of finding out anoles is watching what they do within the area. I’ve discovered that observing a single lizard for an hour can usually result in shocking findings, and by combining a number of these observations, we will get a wealthy understanding of how lizards work together with one another.

What is your favourite anole species? 

 My favourite anole is Anolis bahorucoensis, a lizard that lives in montane forests within the Dominican Republic. They’ve tiny dewlaps, however their our bodies are so vibrantly coloured – inexperienced and blue and black and yellow and orange.

The place can individuals study extra about you and observe you on-line? 

Lab Web site: www.johnsonlizardlab.org

Outreach Web site: www.lizardsandfriends.org

Twitter: @LizardMichele

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