My First Field Expedition

Miguel Landestoy's "Tank"

Hello everyone!  My name is Asa Conover, I am a student at Stuyvesant High School in New York, and this is my first post on AA. This summer I accompanied Martha Muñoz and Maureen Stimola on their trip to the Dominican Republic to investigate thermoregulation at different altitudes.  I did elementary fieldwork with anoles when I was 8. On a family trip to Naples, Florida, I caught a bunch with my hands. I was too sad to part with them when we left so my dad permitted me to take a few home (I apologize to any who frown upon this). At home we set up a proper terrarium with a small tree and a heat lamp. Shortly afterwards, as we were replacing the mulch, we found an egg. This was the first of many. The anoles bred rapidly and before they became too many to handle, we sent them all back to Florida with a neighbor.

Tarantula (l.), Asa (r.)

Now that my interest in biology has developed and I’ve taken lab classes in environmental science and molecular biology, it was awesome to think about anoles from a scientific perspective. Now, catching them had a real purpose. In the Dominican Republic I saw anoles different from any I had ever seen, I learned how to differentiate between male and female, cybotes and distichus, and all about anole behavior and ecology. It took several tries to get the hang of catching with a noose and probing with a thermocouple, but I liked the challenge. And I liked hablando con amigos dominicanos y bailando en la discoteca.

I got to see how a real expert (Martha) handled a field team—solving constant problems with the car, obtaining an export permit, keeping everyone happy, and much more. I’m starting to think about a project of my own and I hope I get to go to the field again soon. Martha and Maureen have invited me to join in their presentation on December 5thand maybe I’ll meet some of you then.

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5 Responses to My First Field Expedition

  1. marthamunoz says:

    Many herpetologists got their start caring for awesome reptile pets – just ask Jonathan. Looking forward to hearing your talk in December!

  2. Rich Glor says:

    Best of luck with your studies Asa, I hope you remain interested in anole research. Did Martha really take you out dancing at night clubs?

  3. marthamunoz says:

    My field students usually need no help finding where the bachata dance clubs are.

  4. Rich Glor says:

    Don’t tell that to my students…

  5. Maureen Stimola says:

    We developed as keen a sense for the hot bachata places as we did for cybotes sites.

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