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The Effect of Hydration State on Voluntary Maximum Temperature of a desert reptile, Heloderma suspectum.

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An organism's ability to maintain optimal body temperature is extremely important for sustaining physiological and behavioral processes necessary for survival. However, like other physiological systems, thermobiology can be influenced by the availability of resources. Water is a vital resource that

An organism's ability to maintain optimal body temperature is extremely important for sustaining physiological and behavioral processes necessary for survival. However, like other physiological systems, thermobiology can be influenced by the availability of resources. Water is a vital resource that has profound implications on many aspects of biological function, including thermoregulatory pathways. However, water availability has a tendency fluctuate within any given ecosystem. While several studies have investigated the influence of water availability on a range of thermoregulatory pathways, very little attention has been given to its influence on Voluntary Maximum Temperature (VMT). We investigated the effects of dehydration on Voluntary Maximum Temperature in a captive population of Gila monsters (Heloderma suspectum). Gila monsters are large-bodied, desert dwelling lizards that experience periods of seasonal dehydration. Additionally, the effects of dehydration on their physiology and behavior have been extensively studied. We hypothesized that dehydration would reduce VMT. As expected, there was a significant decrease in exit temperature as blood osmolality increased. This is presumed to be in an effort to decrease water loss. Adaptations that allow desert dwelling organisms to conserve water are highly advantageous due to seasonal water constraints. Our findings offer insight on how the behavior of these organisms may change in response to changes in climate.

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2016-05

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Inspiring Young Learners in Arizona Through Sustainability and Reptile Conservation Education

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This 15-week long course is designed to introduce students, specifically in Arizona, to basic sustainability and conservation principles in the context of local reptile wildlife. Throughout the course, the students work on identifying the problem, creating visions for the desired

This 15-week long course is designed to introduce students, specifically in Arizona, to basic sustainability and conservation principles in the context of local reptile wildlife. Throughout the course, the students work on identifying the problem, creating visions for the desired future, and finally developing a strategy to help with reptile species survival in the valley. Research shows that animals in the classroom have led to improved academic success for students. Thus, through creating this course I was able to combine conservation and sustainability curriculum with real-life animals whose survival is directly being affected in the valley. My hope is that this course will help students identify a newfound passion and call to action to protect native wildlife. The more awareness and actionable knowledge which can be brought to students in Arizona about challenges to species survival the more likely we are to see a change in the future and a stronger sense of urgency for protecting wildlife. In order to accomplish these goals, the curriculum was developed to begin with basic concepts of species needs such as food and shelter and basic principles of sustainability. As the course progresses the students analyze current challenges reptile wildlife faces, like urban sprawl, and explore options to address these challenges. The course concludes with a pilot pitch where students present their solution projects to the school.

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2021-05