So I ended my last post in the description of the set up for the island introduction experiment at picking the islands based on google earth images. That obviously wasn’t enough, the next step was to get out there on the ground, assess the flora and fauna (most importantly to make sure that there weren’t already Podarcis), and get a feel for whether the island could support a population of these lizards. All of that legwork happened in May over the course of a few visits.
Here are three islands we visited right out side of Aliki. The two largest turned out out to be too big for our purposes, but that third one in the center to the right is Tigani – one of my control islets without any lizards. That’s also where I found the Natrix!
We did a lot of tramping about on islands (this is Petalida) looking for animals. In early May all of the flowers were blooming – all the islands look great. Things are much dryer now as you can see from the introduction video.
We were also anxious to measure baseline insect populations. To do so we arrayed a series of pitfall traps to catch crawling insects and sticky traps to catch flyers. We had to make sure there was food for the little lizards on these islands! This trap was on Agia Kali in the bay of Naoussa if you’re following along on the map.
For some of these initial trips where having lots of people was advantageous, we were reliant on local boatmen. Here’s a fellow named Bipis – an old sea hand rowing in to Galiatsos to tell us to hurry up. He didn’t love us – we were a bit slow for his liking. Glad we have the kayaks, we’ll be able to get to the islands on our own steam in the future.
Captain Rufos based out of Aliki on the other hand was absolutely terrific to work with. Rufos is his nickname – it means grouper. He’s young and fun and seemed at the least better at faking interest in our research. It’s a good thing too because some of the islets between Paros and Antiparos he takes us to are a bit out of easy kayaking range. He’ll be fun to work with more in the future!
And finally, a fun picture of the team reflected in Kat’s sunglasses.