North Cascades National Park

Over the past two summers, I have been performing research in North Cascades National Park. I aimed this study to investigate whether the damming of the Skagit River by three hydroelectric dams (early to mid 1900s) is impacting the movement/migration abilities of amphibians, specifically, the tailed frog (Ascaphus truei). This is a great project for many reasons, two of them being the beautiful environment of the North Cascades and the proximity to Seattle (2.5 hours drive!)

We did not encounter many adult tailed frogs, and we were only limited to collect a small portion of the adults that we did find. This meant that the majority of our A. truei genetic samples were tadpoles. Besides collecting many individuals of our focal species, we also collected a number of other reptiles and amphibian species under a National Park collecting permit. If you would like genetic resources for some of the species occurring in Washington’s North Cascades, contact Sharon Birks ( at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture!

Liolaemus Hybrid Zones

Although my collaborators (Luciano Avila and Mariana Morando) have collected many Liolaemus samples throughout their careers, hybrid zone studies need a high density of sampling along geographic transects that span parental species. My first hybrid zone sampling trip took place in January, 2015. During this trip, we collected 120 samples in a transect between Liolaemus melanops and potentially L. chehuachekenk. This hybrid zone is located in Chubut Province, Argentina, approximately 100 miles northwest of the coastal city of Puerto Madryn. The habitat is very reminiscent of North American Great Basin habitat, something like high-desert scrub, and there are no obvious differences between habitat types corresponding to the hybrid zone areas.

I will return in the (North American) fall of 2015 to finish sampling the hybrid zone we sampled in January, and sample two other hybrid zones approximately 400 miles southwest of Puerto Madryn.