Monday, June 22, 2009


Today was our last day at Snake Cay.  In a nutshell, Team Chipojo had a great time and a productive field season.  A preliminary glance at the data set demonstrates, that in a relatively short period of time, the behavior of A. sagrei has changed dramatically in response to the presence of curly tails.  Some of the most striking changes include; shift in habitat use, foraging behavior and perch selection.  On a lighter note, Barbarita left today, she is looking forward to her next stop, a few weeks doing more behavioral research with anoles in Puerto Rico.  I will venture to say, that she has finally seen the light, and I am looking forward to follow her development as a Behavioral Ecologist.  Last but not least, El Chivo is beginning graduate school on August 2009, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!  I can say without hesitation, that I would not like to be the field assistant trying to fill his shoes next year.  Those are some VERY BIG shoes. 

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Day 36: Today we broke the 450 mark, that is, we have collected more than 450 focal observations of A. sagrei.  Not bad if we take into consideration that today Chivo took some time to play during the high tide (please see picture).  Also, it looks like we have punched the ticket to Pico Turquino, and we are looking forward for the trip.  Particularly Chivo who learned right before his trip to Abaco that he is 88% Cuban.  He has spent endless hours reading about the culture and history of  “la tierra que vio nacer a José Marti” and sharing the information with us.  A lot of fun, most of the time!!!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Day 35: No need to say that the weather was lousy, for a change.  Nevertheless, we are only one video away from 425 observations.  As we like to say back home Pico Turquino preparate que el Chivo esta haciendo las maletas.”  In other news, Barbarita took the afternoon off, to go play at Hopetown.  I do have to admit it was not the same to run away from the storms without her in the boat. 

Friday, June 19, 2009


Day 34: Finally we broke the elusive 400 mark ---GO CHIVO--- and all of the sudden the 450 goal is within reach.  In other news Barbarita took some time to search for the elusive Bahamian- Marine-Anole.  The last report of the marine anole is from the turn of the century, at that time it was observed in the vicinity of Snake Cay. 

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Day 33:  Barbarita had a taste of Malta, one if not the most popular drink of the Caribbean Islands.  Surprisingly, according to her, “malta smell likes dog’s can food” needless to say she only took two sips and gave-up on her original plan of drinking local beverage.  In other news Chivo broke the record for most videos taken during a 2.5 hours period, he loves to work at Barge.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Day 32: We had a great day. Finally none of the islands is on the RED column for any of the time periods. Tomorrow we should break the 400 barrier; a great achievement considering the not-so-helpful weather pattern.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Day 31: The CLAM-PANTS are history .... However their legacy lives on.  Our clip of the day was courtesy of a curly, who was foraging up in the vegetation for bees, even venturing to catch them in mid-air as anoles do. Go curlies!!!! 

Monday, June 15, 2009

Time to Celebrate

Day 30; Feliz Cumpleaños Chivo. Also, Alejandro is leaving us tomorrow.  He needs a break from the sunny and NOT-so-sunny weather and is looking forward to catch-up with his sequencing work.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

New Captain

Day 29, we took a break from collecting focal observations to collect temperature data.  Team “Barbarita”, collected data on 126 lizards, whereas team “Chivo” collected data on 123 lizards.  For those of you wondering how “hot” A. sagrei can be on small cay, with relatively little vegetation and perching on the ground, how about 48.3°C, (that is 118 °F) and the average temperature at 2:00 pm was 34.5 °C.  Also, Barbarita did a VERY VERY GOOD job at driving the boat, she is our new captain.   

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Day 27 & 28It is great to be back, although the lousy weather continues. According to Chivo, over the last 10 days at least one storm had chased them out of the water. Nevertheless no storm is powerful enough to keep Nicole, Alejandro and Chivo from collecting behavioral data.  As of today, we have collected over 300 observations of A. sagrei and close to 50 of L. carinatus.  As a side note, Nicole has mastered the the video-microphone technique surpassing Chivo's ability.   

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Day 26: Barometer Bob for weeks has been telling us "clear & sunny on Thursday." It was clear and sunny for only about 6 hours. But those 6 hours have pushed us over the 300 video mark! It's slightly depressing, but we will take it considering the weather. I guess I should also say my good-bye's as El Jefe returns to take over the blog tomorrow . . .
300, not bad, only 200 short from "Pico Turquino"

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Day 25: Got some videos in today before the daily storm. Also took some temperatures of lizards around the apartment to test the accuracy of the lizard models. Not bad. The highlight of the day though was our acquisition of 3 snappers from a kind fellow at Snake Cay. Alex adeptly filleted them and cooked them to perfection. Wonderful.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Alex's Dude

Above is a video of a male anole that Alex captured a few days ago. It's worth the watch. Trust me.
Today was pretty good --- a little vomiting, a little sunshine, plenty of videos. The rain is here now, but no worries. The forecast is for clear skies through the weekend. Time to watch some more videos!!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Miserable Weather

Day 22 & 23: I would put up a picture, but I don't think anyone wants to see us crying. We've had a string of absolutely horrendous days again and have managed to capture ... 7 videos in two days! Awful. Nothing else I can write will make it any better. Hopefully tomorrow ...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Sea-Stars, II

Day 21: We watched many videos today & Nicole found two sea-stars.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Buddy & Barge

Day 20: We made it to Buddy and Barge today!!! These are two cays that we've been having trouble getting to. It seemed like every time the tides were high enough to get there, storms would roll in. In our exuberance, we swam in a nice little cove after our day of work. And Nicole also claims she saw two camels ... but she says they didn't have humps or long necks & they were small (maybe dog-sized?). Too much sun if you ask me. 

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hecho de Papel

Day 19: We are made of paper. We don't like the rain because it makes us wet paper -- and then we can tear easily and anything written on us will smear. Today was, as far as I'm concerned, spectacular. Got some morning and evening boating in, ate a pizza, shopped. Tomorrow is Labor Day. To celebrate we will work ...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Alex's Tuna

Day 18: Not an awful day. After a morning of lizarding, we went back to our place during storms/low tide. Since Shirley was cleaning the apartment, I thought it'd be a nice change of pace to eat lunch at a local restaurant. Alex had a tuna burger and almost immediately turned bright red. He is better now (transcribing videos while I type) after a litre of Pedia-lite (an electrolyte-packed beverage for toddlers, for those of you in the dark) and some delicious soup.
And a Nicole update: She noosed a male anole in 4.667 seconds today ... I would say that makes her an expert lizard catcher! Wouldn't you?!?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Day 17: Mediocre day. Nothing much to report. Some good weather, some bad. Lots of Radio Abaco. The only real incident of note was Nicole's attempt(s) to catch a puffer-fish. She first tried by hand (no luck), then with a milk jug (shockingly, still no luck). Pretty hilarious. I guess I also made a toddler fall and cry, but it's not something I'm particularly proud of. Time for dinner, more tomorrow.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Days 15 & 16: The last two days have been much better than expected. We managed to get out on the water for ~1.5 hours yesterday and ~4.5 hours today. That equals ~50 videos, which equals excitement for the Chipojo Lab. Supposedly this storm system is moving out of here, so things are beginning to look up. Alex's hands still look gross, and Nicole filmed anoles copulating this evening. Can't get any better than that.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Rocks 'n Casserole

We awoke to more rain and an email from El Jefe with the following directions (presumably to bring out the sun): 
Here is what you need to do: Tell [Nicole] to find two medium-sized rocks, get a string and tie them together (leave some string between them); and hang them from one of the trees, outside.
We thought this method worked twice during the day [and drove to the boat twice], but were disappointed repeatedly. To pass the time, Alex made a "delicious" macaroni casserole & Nicole bounced around in a strange way to Primus. What keeps us sane is knowing that tomorrow is another day.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Small Space Madness

Day 13: The rain and thunderstorms never stopped. We have been stuck inside all day. Nicole and Alex giggle often and are speaking words that make little to no sense whatsoever. What they whisper about is anyone's guess. Izzie (the dog downstairs) also barks pretty regularly and children were rough-housing in the rain this morning. Hopefully tomorrow will be better -- but Barometer Bob says "humid and rainy," which does not bode well for us.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Snake Cay Hail Marys

Day 12: After what seemed like a promising start to our day, a large storm moved lightning fast over Snake Cay -- as the rain beat down, Nicole whispered Hail Marys and Alex & Dave thought about how they would never take each other for granted ever again. Ultimately, our decision-making abilities and Alex's boating skills were tested, but we passed with flying colors and earned ourselves gigantic hamburgers. Now it's time to transcribe some videos and cheer for King James as the Cavs try to stave off elimination!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

They fish, we lizard

Day 11
was pretty uneventful. Rain sandwiched a sunny afternoon, and we accumulated many more videos. Barbarita continued to burn (even through two shirts) and Alejandro's hands have gone from red to "bubbly" (he needs to be more careful around poison-wood). The fishing tournament hosted by a nearby marina also entered it's second day, allowing us to enjoy the view of 20 boats passing in front of our balcony. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

When the cat is away ...

DAY X: El Jefe left Abaco this morning and took the rain with him. Alex had a full day in the sun --- continuing to film anoles and monitor the temperatures of lizard-models that have been placed on one of the islands [see photo above]; he even had some time to dive into the water and "catch" a sea-star. Nicole spent her first day on the cays and began to learn the ins & outs of observing the beautiful lizards that everyone in the Chipojo Lab has come to love (I think I even heard her say that anoles are cooler than Sceloporus!!). Finally, I must note that we have now collected data on 100 A. sagrei individuals! We will be drinking some Goombay Punch to celebrate tonight ...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Welcome Barbarita

Day 9: Nicole Dautel, joins the Chipojo Team.  Nicole is supported by an NSF REU and will be collecting behavioral and ecological data for both A. sagrei and L. carinatus.  Both Dave (better known as “Chivo”, due to his Cuban heritage, and/or "El Che" like chiva) and Alejandro are becoming quite the experts on A. sagrei and L. carinatus signaling displays.  Their project on thermal biology of A. sagrei is getting off the ground.  In other news, they are quite the experts at maneuvering the boat under low tide conditions.  El Jefe is passing the baton to Chivo, as the official blogger.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

The legacy is alive

Day 7 & 8: the sun is finally out.  Alejandro began to gather thermal data; his abilities to catch and probe lizards are out of this world.  Also, Tio Paul’s models are having a blast on the cays, thanks Tio.  Boy keeps collecting behavioral data, and is becoming quite an expert at catching anoles, particularly A. distichus.  El Jefe is hard at work, not only he needs to do fieldwork, but he is also in charge of cooking, while other members of the team are taking a well deserve rest.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cabin Fever

Day 6: cabin fever has arrived. After three days of lousy weather, we are beginning to suffer from cabin fever. In a positive note, Jamie, a supporter of the Chipojo Lab will be turning twenty-one tomorrow. CONGRATS, Jamie.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Lousy weather

Day 5: the lousy weather continues. Boy is suffering from woozy feet, and spent the day scoring videos. It is clear that the anoles are extremely wary of curlies.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


         Day 4: more lousy weather during the morning, turning sunny in the afternoon. We out to the cays in afternoon; Alex and Dave had no problem maneuvering the boat under extremely calm conditions. Data collection went great, anoles and curlies were having a blast and we were having even more fun videotaping their activity. In other news, Ace keeps having fun, while we are doing fieldwork. CONGRATS!!! Toya from those of us who do work at the Chipojo Lab.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ohhh Macarena

Day 3: lizards when to bed early, it was raining dogs and cats. Dave and Alex took the opportunity to practice their musical skills, singing La Macarena and dancing the Harlem Shake. They are an amaizing duo.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Abaco 2009

Day two" Dave learned that videotaping lizards is not as easy as a walk in the park. His anguish was agravated by the fact that he didn't use sunscreen yesterday, while collecting ecological data, making his long day even longer.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Abaco 2009

First day of Dave and Alex on Abaco. Both are collecting behavioral and ecological data on A. sagrei and L. carinatus.