Global environmental change, including habitat loss and the introduction of non-native species, poses a growing threat to native animals. The lethal outcomes of such threats have received much attention, but animals that survive can also suffer important consequences; growing more slowly, having suppressed immune systems, and producing fewer offspring. These consequences are poorly understood, but they can have important implications for the ability of native populations to persist in the face of these threats. This project will adopt a range of ecological and biomedical measures of animal health in the field and laboratory, from cellular immune function to measures of the reproductive capacity of individuals, to examine the impact globally-invasive fire ants are having on native lizards. It will also test how long-term exposure to this invasive pest can influence the threat-tolerance of these invaded populations; whether native populations become more or less resilient to the consequences of this threat. The results of this research will help us to understand how native populations are able to persist in the face of increasing environmental change, and provide important information needed to guide the conservation of global biodiversity. This project will also provide education and training of students and the general community. Graduate and minority undergraduate students, as well as K-12 students from minority-serving institutions, will be involved in the laboratory and field components of this work, and the local community will be engaged through displays and presentations of the results of this research.
|Effective start/end date||5/1/11 → 4/30/15|
- National Science Foundation: $500,548.00