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The Fitzgerald Lab

Dr. Lee A. Fitzgerald
Professor and Curator
Biodiversity Research and Teaching Collections
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences
Co-Director Applied Biodiversity Science Doctoral Program
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology PhD Program

Research focusing on…
Evolutionary ecology and conservation of reptiles and amphibians

My research program in ecology, conservation biology, and herpetology is focused on a central question in conservation: “What allows a species to persist and conversely, what causes it to disappear?” The ecological answer depends on factors such as species’ life history and sensitivity to landscape change. The relative importance of these processes varies with scale. The conservation answer depends on the match between ecological scaling and conservation scaling: the extent to which conservation measures are effective at multiple scales.  I study and write about topics in ecology, herpetology, wildlife trade, sustainable use of biodiversity, and endangered species. Our research draws from the fields of population and community ecology, physiological ecology, and landscape ecology. My research program takes place in the Neotropics and the southwestern USA. In the Neotropics, I have worked on the reptiles and amphibians of Paraguay and the Gran Chaco, and sustainable use of biodiversity in the tropics since 1980. I conducted research on South American caimans and lizards of the genus Tupinambis (tegu lizards). In the USA, I have carried out a directed, long-term, research program on the lizard community in southeastern New Mexico and adjacent West Texas for 25 years, revealing mechanisms of ecological scaling in this system. I am currently focused on further developing ideas related to conservation scaling.

Biodiversity Research and Teaching Collections, Division of Amphibians and Reptiles, (formerly TCWC)​The Collection of Amphibians and Reptiles contains ~ 110,000 cataloged specimens collected since 1936. Our database may be searched by clicking here. It is the largest collection of Texas amphibians and reptiles, with over 45,000 specimens from all areas of the state. Holdings from Latin America are extensive, with particularly strong collections from Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, and Argentina.

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