In addition to telemetry and mark recapture, the Lizard Project group also performs biodiversity surveys on both University of Arizona campus and Tumamoc Hill. Surveys are done to find out which species inhabit a given area, and to estimate the number of individuals present in that area. The data from the biodiversity surveys has different purposes, including to indicate their microhabitats preference, and where among the surveyed areas there are higher populations of lizards. For the Lizard Project, we use biodiversity surveys to help us to understand what areas, in the developed University of Arizona campus, the lizards are thriving in, and to find out areas that would be better to perform mark recapture in the future.
For the surveys, we divided the University of Arizona campus in six different plots, these are: Medicine, Union, Observatory, Garage, Stadium, and ENR2. The plots were approximately the same size, and two people were responsible for surveying each plot. We used binoculars to help us to better locate individuals, and whenever an individual was found we collect data such as: species, sex, age class, behavior, substrate/microhabitat, if on cover or not, and distance to cover, and GPS coordinates. Data collected was added to the EpiCollect5 app.
Surveys on the University of Arizona campus, on the Union plot showed us that the most common lizards seen in that area was the Urosaurus ornatus (Ornate Tree Lizard) and mainly female individuals. For most of the sightings of this species, the lizards were found predominantly basking in trees. For the surveys done at the Tumamoc Hill location, we had difficulties collecting data. Lizards species were hard to find, and when found, they rapidly moved away to hidden spaces. However, we still plan on conducting more research in Tumamoc Hill, focusing on telemetry with the Sceloporus magister (Desert Spiny Lizard).