Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Dr. Christopher Anderson

Second Advisor

Dr. Andrea Liebl

Third Advisor

Dr. David Swanson


Anolis, adaptive radiation, whole-organism performance, muscle physiology


Caribbean Anolis lizards have become a model system for the study of adaptive radiation and coevolution, whereby species have diversified, specializing to use different parts of the structural habitat in a manner that is repeated consistently on different islands. Unlike other Caribbean islands where different species have adapted to occupy different habitats, the island of Martinique is host to a single species, Anolis roquet, which has not yet undergone speciation. The island, however, has two very distinct Anolis habitats, a montane forest habitat on the interior of the island and a significantly geologically dissimilar xeric habitat nearer the coast of the island. The Anolis that occupy these differing habitats show considerable variation in their physical characteristics in one environment compared to the other, although they represent populations of a single species. This study therefore examined ecological adaptation and the effects that habitat variation has on Anolis adaptation in the absence of species level divergence. We analyzed data on sprint and bite performance of these two ecomorphs and measured their morphological proportions and muscle contractile physiology as the underlying mechanisms of possible variation within these movements.



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