Check out the link below to read the paper:
Unlinked Mendelian inheritance of red and black pigmentation in snakes: implications for Batesian mimicry.
Our paper on the inheritance and evolution of color signals in snakes was just published in the journal Evolution! Theoretically, evolutionary forces should drive linkage between signal components for animals that are Batesian mimics. This is because expression of a only some of the signal components would result in a conspicuous non-mimic with low fitness. We conducted extensive sampling (over 2100 snakes) of color pattern in natural history collections for a polymorphic coral snake mimic (ground snakes, (Sonora semiannulata). Surprisingly, we found no evidence for linkage between the two color components (red and black pigmentation) in this species. These findings suggest that the dynamics of coral snake mimicry are different than other Batesian systems, and could be linked to rapid color evolution in coral snake mimicry complexes.
Check out the link below to read the paper:
A new paper of the costs of reproduction in brown anoles was just published in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society! This is collaborative work with Bob Cox's lab at the University of Virginia, with Aaron Reedy as the lead author. Using gonadectomy of both males and female brown anoles, we tested whether a host of traits (parasitism, immune function, and fat storage) were impacted by reproduction. We found that gonadectomized males and females stored more fat and had less of certain parasites than animals with intact gonads. These findings suggest that increased parasitism and decreased fat storage are costs of reproduction in brown anoles. Check out the article via the link below!
We have just arrived from a very successful SICB (Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology Meeting) in Portland to begin the semester at Georgia Southern University. John David presented a poster on his work that he begun in Bob Cox's lab at the University of Virginia on intraspecific variation in resting metabolism in brown anoles. Read more about this work on the Anole Annals blog! I presented work on the comparative impact of testosterone on sex-biased gene expression in lizards with both male- and female-biased sexual size dimorphism, also a collaboration with Bob Cox. I gave this talk as part of a complementary session to a special symposium on Evolutionary Endocrinology.
Our paper on the metabolic costs of mounting an immune response in brown anoles was published in the Journal of Experimental Zoology A! This paper was collaborative work with Bob Cox at the University of Virginia and an undergraduate in the lab, Robbie Peaden. We tested whether the immune system incurred a metabolic cost by injecting male brown anole lizards in the feet with PHA, which is a protein from red kidney beans. This exposure to a novel protein induces a swelling response, which can be measured and compared to metabolic rate. We found evidence that lizards that did respond to the PHA injection experienced an increase in metabolic rate, consistent with the idea that the immune system can incur metabolic costs. This cover of this issue of the journal features a photograph of a male brown anole that I took this year in Florida. To read the article, click the link below.
Phylogeography and lineage-specific patterns of genetic diversity and molecular evolution in a group of North American skinks
Our paper on phylogeography of skinks was just published in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society! This research was a collaboration between myself, Jeff Streicher, and researchers at the University of Texas Arlington. We analyzed a dataset of both mitochondrial and nuclear loci to show that there has likely been mitochondrial introgression between two skink species (Plestiodon multivirgatus and Plestiodon tetragrammus), but that this introgression only occurred in one geographically delimited lineage of P. tetragrammus. This introgresson had downstream impacts on molecular evolution for each clade, and we used this dataset as an opportunity to talk about how geography can shape the opportunity for hybridization and hencethe impact on patterns of molecular evolution.
John David was awarded the competitive Graduate Student Professional Development Fund for Travel from the Jack N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies at Georgia Southern University. He was funded to present his research at the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting in January 2016. Congrats John David!
Our paper on evaporative water loss in squamate reptiles was just published in the journal Evolution! In this paper, we used phylogenetic comparative methods to show 1) rates of evaporative water loss are highest in mesic environments and lowest in arid environments and 2) transition rates between either habitat extreme are relatively rare compared to those involving a semiarid intermediate. Check out the image below to read the article.
Chinonye "ChiChi" Obialo is joining the lab, and will begin helping with research on the ecology and evolution of color polymorphism in cricket frogs and hognose snakes.
Abstracts are submitted! The Cox lab will be joining the "other" Cox Lab at the annual Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) annual meeting in January, along with the Bedore and McBrayer labs from Georgia Southern. We will be presenting our work on how metabolism, growth, and gene expression impact the expression and evolution of sexual dimorphism in lizards.
I am very excited to announce that John David Curlis is joining the lab this Fall! John David worked with me at the University of Virginia, where we collaborated on projects studying metabolism in brown anoles. John David has also conducted independent projects in Costa Rica on behavioral ecology in spiny iguanas and life history tradeoffs in anoles.