Lab: Greeley Laboratory, Room 119
Phone: (619) 990-7242
Fax: (203) 432-3929
||Wildlife, Fish, & Cons. Biology
||Forestry & Env. Studies
Master’s Thesis: My research takes a comparative biology approach to endocrine disruption between amphibian species and among land uses. Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are a suite of toxicants that disrupt normal hormonal regulation in animals. Outcomes of EDC exposure in wildlife can range from biased sex-ratios to decreased sperm quality and intersex (where egg cells develop inside of male testes). These chemicals can be found in common pesticides like atrazine, pharmaceuticals like EE2 (common in birth control medications), plasticizers like bisphenol-A (BPA), and even exogenous hormones from other organisms. My work combines physiological techniques, such as histology and radioimmunoassays with landscape ecology techniques like quantitative GIS skills. My goal is to develop a deeper understanding of how land use and associated pollutants affect hormonal regulation in wildlife in situ.
Turtle Communities in Human Communities: A collaborative effort between Yale’s Reptile and Amphibian Naturalist Alliance (RANA), Yale’s Urban Resource Initiative (URI), and Yale’s Peabody Museum.
Educational Outreach: In spring our group will be trapping turtles with Hillhouse High School and Beaver Ponds Park in New Haven, CT. This is an effort to teach students and the surrounding community about wildlife biology and urban ecology. Turtles make obtainable and useful educational tools as they are relatively easy to capture and handle without seriously disturbing the environment or animals. Our goal with this project is to bring wildlife and nature to the hands of young people in urban areas. Oftentimes people living in urban and suburban areas have limited access to nature and so experiences with wildlife can help foster a connection to the environment.
Turtle Communities across an Urban-Rural Gradient: We are assessing the species composition and demographics of turtles in Connecticut among urban, suburban, and rural areas. Some species of turtle are known to do poorly in developed areas while some species manage to maintain relatively large populations, although sometimes with skewed demographics like male-biased sex ratios. Our goal is to understand how state-wide species composition of turtle species, sex, and age changes among increasing levels of human influence on the surrounding landscape.
Lambert, MR, SN Nielsen, AN Wright, RC Thomson, HB Shaffer. In review, Microhabitat characteristics favor introduced red-eared sliders over threatened western pond turtles in a human-dominated landscape. Biological Invasions.
We measured an array of static and varying traits of basking sites in a developed waterway in northern California. Over the course of a year, we monitored basking site use by native, declining western pond turtles (Emys marmorata) and introduced red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans). We found that traits like a shallower slope and higher level of human activity were associated with a greater number of basking red-eared sliders, indicating that habitat characteristics associated with developed areas may favor the introduced species. We cannot tell from these data whether the pattern we found was due to habitat preferences or interspecific competition. Because of this, we have since removed most of the sliders from the waterway and are treating this removal as a large-scale experiment. We are now monitoring western pond turtles and are measuring whether or not there is a change in basking site use.
Lambert, MR, CM Yasuda, BD Todd. In Press. Estimating snout-vent length (SVL) in lizards using image analysis. Herpetological Conservation and Biology.
There are two obvious issues associated with studying some lizard species in the wild. The first is the challenge of catching numerous individuals, whether it is by noose, hand, or pit-fall trap. The second is the potential stress that could be imposed on the animals when being measured. For some studies, catching the animal may be unnecessary if alternative techniques for measuring are available. By taking photographs of western fence lizards (Sceloporus occidentalis) and of rulers placed near the animal, we were able to use ImageJ software (freely available on the internet) to accurately measure snout-vent length. At right is a picture of a western fence lizard (A) and a ruler (B) taken with the same distance and focal length. This technique could help minimize stress to animals and increase efficiency in the field for some studies.
Lambert, M. and JM Eadie. In Prep. Can waterfowl be implemented as proxy species in habitat management and species conservation?
Wetlands are often managed with for waterfowl in mind. Furthermore, ducks and geese are considered great “indicators” of wetland health, although there is little data either refuting or accepting this idea. We created a framework of various “indicator” categories that might apply to waterfowl as well as the necessary criteria waterfowl would need to meet in order to be successfully utilized as one of the various “proxies”. The goal of our work was to encourage more research on the this topic to better understand the role of waterfowl as an indicator guild.