• Bree Putman

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!

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As a field biologist, most of my research expenses are from travel to and from field sites. This includes not only the cost of gas (which is crazy expensive right now!), but wear and tear on the vehicle. I feel strongly that students should not be responsible for these travel expenses in order to conduct research. Thus, I worked really hard to use my startup funds to purchase a dedicated field vehicle.

We now have a brand new, hybrid F150 truck for BREE Lab Research! I can't wait to test it out this spring and summer. My two grad students will definitely make use of it for their work, which involves backcountry travel in the San Bernardino Mountains to collect lizards from recently burned areas and long trips to San Pedro to collect invasive Italian Wall Lizards. Let the road trips begin!

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It is our second year participating in the City Nature Challenge (CNC) and in order to mobilize participants in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, I hosted a Zoom Webinar on the global event! I spoke about the history of the CNC, how participation contributes to science and conservation efforts, and how anyone can participate. Don't worry if you missed it! You can watch the recording on YouTube:

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