Visit from Dr. Mike Angilletta, backpacking among BIG Trees, and cool herps!

Recently, Dr. Mike Angilletta visited CSU Fresno from Arizona State. During the day on Friday, he met with the lab and others on campus and then gave an excellent seminar on how behavior might (and might not) buffer ectotherms from environmental temperature changes associated with climate change.

After the seminar, Mike, Rory, Dalton, and Dr. Alija Mujic (brand new mycologists in our Biology department at CSU Fresno) hopped in Rory’s Subaru and headed to Sequoia National Park. We backpacked Redwood Canyon which has the largest remaining grove of Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) left on the planet! Despite it being autumn and us being at ~6000 ft elevation, we saw a few very impressive herps. On the first night we found a beautiful Sierra Nevada Ensatina Salamander (Ensatina escholtzii platensis) on the trail. This was a special treat because it inspired a fun conversation about ring species, of which Ensatina salamanders are an excellent example. It also was the first time any of us had come across the Sierra Nevada component of this classic ring species. It is always fun to see something you mostly know from textbooks! The next morning, we found a large adult Rubber boa on the trail (Charina bottae). We didn’t talk as much about this one, but everyone had to pose for pictures with this lovely snake!

All in all, it was a great break from the grind and reminder of why we do what we do as biologists!

Welcome Dalton Leibold! TREE lab's first graduate student

Dalton Leibold is joining us after completing his BS degree at the University of Central Oklahoma and working in Troy Baird's lab researching collared lizard social behavior.  That's right, both Rory and Dalton are Baird alums!  Dalton is broadly interested in behavioral ecology, developmental biology, and conservation research.  There are lots of potential things for him to do in the lab.  Stay posted to see where his research goes!

 Dalton holding an impressive male Western Fence Lizard ( Sceloporus occidentalis ) on the Fresno State campus.

Dalton holding an impressive male Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis) on the Fresno State campus.

New paper in Integrative and Comparative Biology

We have a new paper out in Integrative and Comparative Biology on mechanisms of thermal tolerance in reptiles and amphibians.  This is the culmination of many years of collaboration between Rory Telemeco and Friend of the Lab, Eric Gangloff.  In the paper, we propose a new(ish) mechanisms that could underlie thermal tolerance which we call the HMTL (hierarchical mechanisms of thermal limitation) hypothesis.  Current students in the lab are working to test novel predictions of this hypothesis right now! 

Check out the full paper here, or email for a PDF.  You can also read Eric's blog on the paper here.

 Original chalk-board drawings of our ideas

Original chalk-board drawings of our ideas