Collaborative Research: Urban Adaptation and its Role in the Success of Biological Invasion in Anolis Lizards View Homepage


Ontology type: schema:MonetaryGrant     


Grant Info

YEARS

2014-2018

FUNDING AMOUNT

427117.0 USD

ABSTRACT

Urban areas are expanding rapidly around the globe, resulting in drastic changes to the environment compared to natural landscapes: buildings and parking lots replace natural vegetation in cities. The urban environment, which encompasses a major portion of the US, directly affects the ecology and evolution of species, but little research has been conducted to understand the intensity and scope of these effects. Another critical dimension of global change is biological invasions, which threaten biodiversity worldwide. This project connects two important dimensions of global change to test a novel hypothesis that urban adaptation may increase the success of biological invasions, which often have dramatic ecological and economic effects on the invaded habitats. This award will also support the STEM training of a postdoctoral researcher and numerous graduate and undergraduate students. Curriculum materials will be developed for K-12 education and outreach efforts will target the urban areas where this research will be conducted and where the research team members live. The way organisms interact with their environment is expected to drive intense natural selection on their morphology and behavior. This work will study the crested anole lizard, which is native to Puerto Rico but established via human-mediated introductions in several places outside its natural range. This research will use field and laboratory studies to first test the hypothesis that a widespread lizard species is adapted behaviorally, morphologically, and physiologically to urbanization. Second, the study will test if adaptation occurs at multiple life history stages, including embryos and juveniles. Lastly, the study will investigate a novel idea in invasion biology that adaptation to urban environments may predispose populations to become successful invaders of other urban areas, using molecular data to identify source populations. Detailed portions of the research will estimate thermal tolerance and examine behavioral thermoregulation in different habitats, use SNPs to identify the source population of the invaders, and examine habitat influence on development in the field. This research will help to establish whether or not adaptation to urban areas can facilitate the process of biological invasion, and will likely lead to conclusions that can be generalized across other urban tolerant species and biological invasions. More... »

URL

http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1354897&HistoricalAwards=false

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