Biology Majors Travel to Florida to Study Lizard Evolution
This summer biology majors Elizabeth Luebbert (‘15) and William Evans (‘16) conducted a field study of anole lizards living on coastal islands in northern Florida. Liz and Will each received Research and Travel Grants from the College and were joined by fellow U.Va. biology majors John David Curlis (‘15) and Albert Chung (‘14), along with graduate students Ariel Kahrl, Aaron Reedy, and Robin Costello.
The group worked together to catch and release hundreds of wild lizards for their studies of natural selection, while also collecting DNA samples to link parents and offspring for studies of sexual selection. Liz and her mentor Ariel are exploring whether variation in the number, size and shape of sperm cells produced by different males is under sexual selection, while Will and his mentor Aaron are seeking to identify regions of the genome that contribute to variation in survival and reproductive success in wild males and females. Their research is part of a collaborative project between the labs of Robert Cox at UVA and Daniel Warner at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.