SICB 2020 Reflections

This week I attended the meeting for the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) in Austin, TX. SICB always provides a great opportunity to share ideas with a really diverse crowd of scientists and thinkers and catch up with friends and colleagues.


Discussing my work with Amy Kostka and Jason Kolbe on citizen science and anole ecology at SICB 2020.

I presented results from a project started by Amy Kostka, an undergraduate researcher in the Kolbe lab at the University of Rhode Island. While data from citizen science projects are rapidly becoming publicly available, it isn’t yet clear what the best uses are for these data. Amy chose to assess whether publicly available anole observations from iNaturalist could be used effectively for ecological analyses. She coded behavioral, morphological, and habitat use data from >1,600 (!) observations and tested whether they corresponded to existing hypotheses created by professional scientists. For a full summary, you’ll have to check out coverage of our poster on Anole Annals (but the short answer is: yes!).

And speaking of blogging, I also worked as a roving correspondent for both Anole Annals and Urban Evolution: Life in the City covering some of the up-and-coming research from graduate students at the conference:

Emily Virgin presented her work showing that side-blotched lizards in urban areas have eggs with lower levels of immune function and fertilization rate, a potential cost to urbanization.

Lucy Ryan discussed part of her masters thesis demonstrating that activity of green anoles and brown anoles peaks at the same temperatures, potentially leading to competition between these species.


Green anoles (Anolis carolinensis) were the subject of many projects at SICB, including Amy’s work.

Kenny Glynn presented data showing that American Robins in Flint, MI have higher levels of lead in the blood after occupying areas irrigated with polluted water.

Sean Deery’s research demonstrated that green anoles show more heat hardening, a type of phenotypic flexibility, than brown anoles. This suggests that heat hardening does not provide a competitive advantage to invasive brown anoles in the southeastern U.S.

I’m looking forward to SICB 2021 in Washington, DC where there will be a special symposium on artificial light at night (ALAN)!

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