Don't be alarmed! We are not keeping venomous animals on campus!
Cover boards refer to any object that a small vertebrate animal could use for cover. Many reptiles and amphibians like to hide under objects with dark and moist microenvironments. Cover boards, made from plywood, carpet, or tin roofing material, create this favorable habitat for these species. Herpetologists systematically set out cover boards as a way to measure herpetofauna (reptiles and amphibians) presence and abundance in an area. You simply set out the boards, wait for some time, then lift up the boards to see what you've found!
My lab is interested in looking at the effects of urbanization on herpetofauna so we have deployed eight boards across campus to compare with what we find at more natural sites. We are interested in how the microhabitat characteristics (such as temperature and humidity) also vary under the boards and whether these attributes affect what animals we find.
Please do not move or disturb our boards! This will decrease their effectiveness at attracting animals.
Which species do you think live on campus? Stay tuned to find out!