RESEARCH PROJECTS

David J. Germano


I have been studying long-term population trends of the Blunt-nosed Leopard Lizard (Gambelia sila) at several sites.  Dr. Dan Williams and I studied a population of this lizard on the Elkhorn Plain.  In addition, I have radio tracked lizards on the Lokern and will be writing papers on home range and thermal biology of this species.  Also, my graduate student, Adam Grimes, studied the phylogeny of populations of Blunt-nosed Leopard Lizards, including the purported hybrid zone in Santa Barbara County, and another graduate student will be studying if Blunt-nosed Leopard Lizards exhibit food preference.  See my publication list for relevant titles.
 

 


Since 1993, I have been conducting research on western pond turtle (Actinemys [Emys] marmorata) throughout its range.  Much of this research has been done with Dr. R. Bruce Bury of the USGS and we have focused on comparing growth and population structure across habitats.  In addition, from 1995 - 2006, I studied a population of western pond turtles at Goose Lake, Kern County, California.  I have also studied populations at Vandenberg Air Force Base on the central California coast, sites throughout the Central Valley, a pond near Gorman in Los Angeles County, and sites in the Chimineas Mountains in San Luis Obispo County.   See my publication list for relevant titles.




The Giant Kangaroo Rat (Dipodomys ingens) is an endangered species that occurs in a limited range on the western edge of the San Joaquin Valley and adjacent Carrizo and Elkhorn Plains and the Cuyama Valley.  Along with several colleagues, I have been studying the effects of rainfall, grazing, and fire on this species at a variety of sites.  In particular, since 1993, Lawrence Saslaw of the Bureau of Land Management and I have been trapping giant kangaroo rats (and other nocturnal rodents) twice a year at a site on the edge of the valley floor near Buttonwillow, California.  In addition, I have a graduate student who is determining the genetic structure of Giant Kangaroo Rats in the southern San Joaquin Valley and she will compare these populations to published studies of Giant Kangaroo Rats from the Carrizo Plains and the Panoche.



I continue to study growth and life histories of turtles and tortoises.  I have on-going studies on the four species of North American tortoises (Gopherus sp.), Desert Box Turtles (Terrapene ornata luteola) on the Sevilleta LTER in New Mexico, Blanding's Turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) in western Nebraska, and Western Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta bellii) in eastern Washington.  See my Curriculum Vitae and publication list for relevant titles.



The Tipton Kangaroo Rat (Dipodomys nitratoides nitratoides) is an endangered species that continues to lose habitat in the southern San Joaquin Valley.  I am monitoring populations of this species at several sites in the valley, as well as determining if translocation can be used to mitigate loss of populations at sites facing development.  My graduate student, Erin Tennant, has studied the effect of competition by Heermann's Kangaroo Rats on Tipton Kangaroo Rats.  Papers from this study on being produced.  See my publication list for relevant titles.



From 1997 - 2006, along with several colleagues, I tested the effect of cattle grazing on a group of declining plants and animals of the southern San Joaquin Valley.  Because non-native grasses form dense thickets that negatively affect a variety of native species, we hypothesized that livestock grazing would benefit these species by creating open ground.  We found that grazing benefited all protected species we studied and had no affect on population abundances of non listed species.  Our paper on this study can be found at my publication list.  We are also in the process of producing papers on home ranges of San Joaquin Antelope Squirrels and Blunt-nosed Leopard Lizards, survivorship estimates of kangaroo rats and squirrels, burrow environmental parameters, and the effect of fire and grazing on saltbush shrubs.

    Besides the above projects, I have conducted studies on the ecology of Yellow-blotched Salamanders (Ensatina eschscholtzii croceator), habitat structure of sites in the range of the Pacific Pocket Mouse (Perognathus longimembris pacificus), population response of reptiles, birds, and mammals to mesquite removal in the Sonoran Desert, and the effect of habitat structure on species diversity in the Great Basin.


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