The Team On a Wall

We were out surveying a terrace the other day and the staircase built in to the wall was just too good an opportunity to pass up. Here’s the team, basking on a rock wall:

The TeamYou’ll notice a new face in the group. Kinsey just joined the expedition and will be working with us for the next couple of weeks. She just finished her M.Sc. at the University of Michigan and has been working on Podarcis in Greece for the last few years. She’s going to be leading field team B in the upcoming weeks to help me get all the data we need.

We’re heading into crunch time – these next 3 weeks are going to be intense! I’ll keep you updated on our progress!


It’s stormy!

We were supposed to be headed to Paros today to visit some islands but look at the weather out my window:

The ferry is still running but there’s no way we’re going to be island-hopping tomorrow.; it’s supposed to keep this up through the night!

I guess that means it’s time to catch up on a few blog posts…

Picturing lizards

As I’ve mentioned here before, Podarcis erhardi have some really colorful undersides.



Figure 1- Color spectrum.001

It’s tough to get a good picture though… more often than not my fingers are covering a good bit of the lizard, obscuring its pattern. I’m working on solutions, but I haven’t found one yet. My most recent attempt is using a clear piece of plexi glass as a floor for the lizard to stand on. It’s not the most comfortable shooting setup, but it kind of works:


Here’s a video of the process:

I’m still holding out for a better solution though. The lizards didn’t do a great job of staying put and the poses weren’t very natural looking. The colors themselves were a bit harder to see through the plexi glass window. Has anyone else tried these shots? Any better ideas?




More pictures of interesting things

Alright, last raid of Kat’s photos, then I’ll get busy uploading a few of my own. She’s better about taking photos in the field though so here are a few more examples of things we’re seeing and doing.


Land snails are all over the places here! We actually ate some that night at a restaurant on Paros. They’re very sustainable and surprisingly both nutty and seafoody at the same time.


Very cool trap door spider nest (hole? ambush point?) I don’t know much about these little guys, and unfortunately this one had been abandoned by the time we discovered it, but it’s pretty neat!

IMG_0500A little seagull chick! Very cute. Its parents were dive bombing us though at the time so we moved on to another bush pretty quickly without disturbing it.

And here is the team again:photo


Pictures from the field

Again, people pictures are thanks to Kat!


We spend a lot of our time stalking lizards.IMG_0550

Here’s Zach looking awesome on a hill.IMG_0557

He got one!


Then they bring the lizards to me and I measure them.


I do miss catching the little guys, but I make sure my measuring station at least has a good view.


Usually a really good view.

In the field I’m counting things like ticks, the number of lizards that don’t have tails, sex of lizard and a few other easy to measure things. The most time consuming process is stomach flushing. There’ll be a whole post devoted to it one of these days but it’s a bit nasty so I want to be sure to get some really up-close shots of the grossness!

IMG_0549Angus is videotaping and catching lizards for later behavioral analyses, while Kat and Zach are doing the bulk of the lizard hauling back to me. It’s a good system and we’re well past 100 lizards already!

Once the lizards are caught and their stomach flushed, we bring them back to the lab for an evening of poking, prodding, measuring, and photographing. They don’t seem to mind overmuch and the all-you-can-eat mealworms are certainly a plus. They go back to their home turf the next day, well-fed and with quite the story to tell all their pals.


The Panda Express


We do lots of driving on Naxos.

IMG_0573This is our trusty field car. It’s a Fiat Panda. We call it the Panda Express.

photo copy

It’s sometimes a little tight, but we make everything fit.


Okay, it’s really tight, but we love it nonetheless.

(The kayaks worked beautifully by the way but I don’t have any pictures because my camera was in a dry bag and I was swimming alongside. There’ll be more soon!)