Lizard Communities in a Shifting Landscape: The Current State of Insectivorous Lizard Communities in the Jornada Basin Between Grassland, Mesquite Dune, and Creosote Bush Habitats in a Semi-Arid Landscape Undergoing Shrubification
Lizard communities in arid lands can act as model systems of how diversity and abundance are impacted in the face of ongoing climate variability and change, as they are sensitive to shifts in precipitation, temperature, and changing vegetation structure. The main research question we hope to answer is how the community composition of lizards varies between dominant vegetation types (Mesquite dunes, grasslands, and Creosote Bush flats). Nine sites (3 of each dominant vegetation type) with 16 pitfall traps each (n = 144) were surveyed from June 2016 – June 2017. 12 lizard species were captured, consisting of 923 total captures and 603 unique individuals. The community composition of lizards within and between sites varied more than expected. Although some lizard species occurred exclusively in one habitat type, no robust community of lizards was similar within habitat types. Conservation of all habitat types (grasslands and shrublands) would ensure the continuation of diverse lizard communities.
Biology|Ecology|Evolution and Development
Schlichte, Julie M, "Lizard Communities in a Shifting Landscape: The Current State of Insectivorous Lizard Communities in the Jornada Basin Between Grassland, Mesquite Dune, and Creosote Bush Habitats in a Semi-Arid Landscape Undergoing Shrubification" (2023). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI30819420.