What makes some groups of animals species rich, while other groups are species poor?
This project will examine the diversity of spiny lizards (genus Sceloporus), a group of 100+
described species that range across North and Central America. We will quantify the
phenotypic, ecological, and genetic diversity of spiny lizards to understand (1) how and
when new species form (2) how closely related species coexist (3) the relationship
between phenotypic diversity and genetic/species diversity (4) how changing
environmental conditions may affect all of the above.
There are opportunities for in-person and remote work at this time; please indicate in your
application which will work best for you.
Tasks may include but are not limited to: DNA extraction, morphological measurements of
museum specimens, digital imaging (CT scanning and/or color image analysis), curating an
ecological database, and data analysis in the R programming language. Some tasks may also
include using geographic information systems (GIS). Students are invited to help with local
fieldwork if desired.
Lab or museum experience and basic programming skills are recommended
but not required. Most important is an interest in the system and a willingness to learn.