Many anologists spend a lot of time travelling far and wide to work with our little lizard friends. I think this is one of the great perks of studying anoles, but it presents a host of logistical problems, one of which is finding convenient, affordable lodging in the myriad places you might go. Unfortunately, there are no centralized places to find information on where to stay, but I thought this blog would be a good place to start.
I’ve worked predominantly in Puerto Rico, so I’ve put together a list of field stations with links and a short description of them. Most people know about El Verde, but there are actually three other field stations on the island, some with labs and other useful resources.
El Verde – The best-known field station in PR, run by UPR Rio Piedras. Sits in the rainforest, and you can find seven (maybe eight?) species of anole there. $25 (dorms) or $35 (apartments) per night. Discounts for stays over one month. https://sites.google.com/a/ites.upr.edu/el-verde-field-station/
Mata de Platano – Secluded field station and nature reserve in the karst region of western PR, near Arecibo. Run by Interamerican University, Bayamón. Five species of anole on site, and two more within driving distance. There is a large cave on site where you can watch Puerto Rican boas hang like vines and snap at bats as they fly out. $25/night, discounts for stays over one month. http://bc.inter.edu/facultad/arodriguez/FieldStation/
Isla Magueyes – On the coast of southwestern PR in the Bosque Seco, run by UPR Mayaguez. I’ve only seen one anole species on site, but it’s only a 25 min drive to Guanica state forest and other places where you can find A. cooki and A. poncensis along with several other species. They have wet labs on site, including a sequencer. Dorms $15-$20 per night. http://www.uprm.edu/cima/magueyes.html
Jobos Bay Marine Reserve – On the eastern edge of the Bosque Seco in southern Puerto Rico, run by NOAA. It’s in a small town near Aguirre state forest. Three species can be caught near the station, with others a 20-40 min drive away. They have a wet lab on site. They have dorm rooms, and it is free (!) to stay there. They also have fellowships for graduate students who work in Aguirre or the coastal reserve. Stop into “Super Fried Chicken” for dinner, it’s awesome. http://www.nerrs.noaa.gov/Reserve.aspx?ResID=JOB
Is it difficult to camp while doing anole fieldwork?
There are pro’s and cons. The cons are if you need to use electronic equipment (like in my case a spectrophotometer), or want to keep lizards over a couple of days for other measurements, then it’s a good idea to bring them to a cool place with electricity. Also I am usually lizarding during the day and measuring/processing things at night, so having light and even, clean surfaces does make work more effective. Of course, the odd camping/exploration trip is cool – but I would recommend doing this on a day by day basis while leaving the majority of equipment somewhere safe.