Research in PERL examines reproductive physiology and physiological trade-offs in reptiles. In particular, much of our research revolves around testosterone, a potent androgen that stimulates the expression of male-typical behaviors and physiological responses, often resulting in a major re-direction of energy toward these responses. For example, during breeding seasons, increases in testosterone concentrations may cause male reptiles to expend more energy on movement, territory guarding, and mate-searching and defense. The negative energy balance induced by testosterone during breeding seasons may affect immune function, growth, fat reserves, and other factors. We are particularly interested in measuring immune function as it pertains to parasitism. Our research seeks to understand these trade-offs in reptiles in laboratory and field settings.
Current research projects include:
1. Effects of host physiological condition on ectoparasite loads and feeding rates of Western fence lizards(Sceloporus occidentalis)
2. Spatial ecology, hormones, reproduction, neuroplasticity, and stress physiology of Northern Pacific rattlesnakes (Crotalus o. oreganus)
3. Stress physiology in Hog Island Boas (Boa constrictor imperator)