The adaptive radiations of Anolis lizards on the Greater Antilles are well known for the independent, replicated evolution of ecotypes in association with habitat. To better understand phenotypic evolution within these lizards, this project will phenotype individuals for a series of morphological traits.
We would like to engage two students to generate digitized images from museum specimens, and then quantify morphological features. Some of these traits include:
1) "crestedness" - crestedness is a trait that may be associated with thermal regulation and environment. We will take digital photos of crests on specimens and then quantify the surface area if the crest. We will pair these data with high resolution climate data to test the association between environment and crests.
2) scale size traits - Comparisons between anole species has shown that scale size is tightly tied to microclimatic conditions. We will digitize dorsal and ventral scale size using a small hand-held microscope-camera, and then quantify the number of scales. We will compare individuals from populations from varied climates so we can assess if intraspecific variation reflects microhabitat and climate.
After training, students are expected to work 6-9 hours per week to generate and analyze data, and will work closely with the postdoc during data acquisition and analysis. Tasks will include photographing specimens, taking measurements of traits, using computer programs to collected various morphological data from specimen images, and performing statistical analysis.
No specific skills or prior experience is required. An eagerness to learn and attention to detail are all that's needed.