Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rochester/Buffalo Trip

On Saturday, October 22, the Cornell Herpetological Society took an all day field trip to the Glor lab in Rochester and to the Buffalo Zoo. It was really exciting to visit the Glor lab because Rich Glor is an alum who was president of the herp club in 1998 and 1999 and who is now a professor at the University of Rochester. His lab focuses on questions of speciation and diversification, mainly in Caribbean Anolis lizards.

Part of the lab consists of a room filled with anoles. Here, lab members can carry out hybridization, behavior, and other types of experiments that require live lizards. Keeping so many live animals in a lab is a lot of work, but it pays off with the ability to do cool studies, like a current one investigating factors influencing male dewlap displays (if you don't know what a dewlap is, check out this clip from Life In Cold Blood:

After visiting the Glor lab, we headed west to Buffalo to check out the zoo. Remember the hellbender trip? Many of the juvenile hellbenders there had been head-started at the Buffalo Zoo, so we got to see where they started out. At the beginning of the program, the zoo collected egg masses and hatched them in captivity. Some of them were released this past summer, more will be released next summer, and the rest will have more time to grow larger before being released. In all cases, they are PIT (passive integrated transponder) tagged before release so that they can be found and identified later.

Behind the scenes, they have quarantine and a breeding program for endangered Puerto Rican crested toads, Bufo lemur. When the eggs hatch, the tadpoles are shipped to Puerto Rico and released. Introductions are more successful for tadpoles than for older toads. Quarantine for amphibians in the zoo is important to prevent the spread of Bd (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis), a fungal disease that has been wiping out amphibian populations worldwide.

Venomous snakes are kept in a separate room.

Eastern massasauga (rattlesnake), Sistrurus catenatus

Eastern diamondback rattlesnake, Crotalus adamanteus

Lots of turtles!

Pancake tortoise, Malacochersus tornieri

A big uromastyx, Uromastyx sp.


What's a visit to the zoo without seeing some of the big cats?

Group shot in the reptile house: Zach Hempstead, Sage Hellerstedt, Jessica Tingle, Anna Kusler, Rachel Ruden, Brian Worthington (photo taken by Dr. Kraig Adler)

Glor Lab Website:

Blog on anoles:

Buffalo Zoo:

Photos: Jessica Tingle

Post by Jessica Tingle

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