Species delimitation in North American lizards (NSF-DEB-SBS 2023723)
Co-PIs: Sonal Singhal & Matthew Fujita
This is a collaborative project with scientists across 15 different institutions to determine species boundaries in 30 species groups of North American lizards. Doing so will (1) connect scientific understandings of how species form to the practice of naming species and (2) model an intellectual and methodological framework for naming species consistently in other taxonomic groups.
Epidermal gland evolution and the origins of structural and chemical signaling diversity (NSF-IOS-PMB 1855845)
Co-PI: Matthew Fujita & André Carvalho
This project uses integrative methods and tools, including advanced imaging, biochemistry, phylogenetics, and gene expression across diverse lizard groups from North America, South America, and Africa to investigate the evolution of novel epidermal glands that are crucial in mediating behavioral interactions on several groups of lizards. This project will test whether (1) chemical differences between species correlate with environmental parameters and structural complexity of the habitats and microhabitats; (2), major transitions in the presence or absence of epidermal glands and chemical signals across the lizard tree of life track shifts in habitat/microhabitat (such as changes in temperature, humidity, and solar radiation preferences); (3) independent origins of epidermal glands across the lizard tree of life share a common genetic origin, providing strong evidence that such structures share deep and common ancestry.