• 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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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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Sarah Vasquez (CSUSB undergraduate) presented a poster on her research at the campus-wide Meeting of the Minds Symposium! Sarah is studying the skin microbiome of Western Fence Lizards and is interested in knowing whether urbanization affects the diversity and composition of bacteria and fungi residing on lizards' skin. So far, we've found that urban lizards do have less diverse microbiomes and we show significant differences in taxonomic composition. She created a video to go alongside her virtual poster event. Great job Sarah!

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