Friday, July 22, 2011
Background: I'm a PhD candidate doing research on the population genetics of turtles, but I dabble in pretty much anything related to genetics and herps. I also work on amphibian and reptile diseases and landscape genetics of snakes, for example. I love what I do and I think it's enormously important. Amphibians and reptiles often bear the brunt of environmental degradation for a number of reasons. Amphibians, as everyone knows, have highly permeable skin and so they can be very easily and quickly exposed to toxins in the environment. Amphibians and reptiles also often need very specific patches of land for different reasons (feeding, laying eggs, etc.) and because of human development, those patches are often way too disjunct for them to reach. Most herps can't travel long distances, after all. And not many herps find it easy to just pick up and leave a particular area in order to establish a new territory far from impending human intrusion.
And everyone loves the cute and fuzzy animals, so it's easy to get support for polar bears. The slimy and scaly need more fans. :)