Researchers Identify Unique Populations Of Dunes Sagebrush Lizard


A Texas A&M co-authored study found that development could threaten habitats of the lizard commonly found in West Texas and New Mexico.

New genetic studies reveal important information about populations of the dunes sagebrush lizard, which researchers say may warrant land conservation in areas where unique populations of the species are threatened by habitat interference.

Study collaborators include Texas A&M AgriLife Research’s Lee Fitzgerald, a professor in the Texas A&M University Department of Ecology and Conservation Biology and curator in Texas A&M Biodiversity Research and Teaching Collections (BRTC). Also with Texas A&M are Wade Ryberg, research scientist at the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute (NRI), Toby Hibbitts,curator of herpetology at the BRTC and research scientist at NRI; and Danielle Walkup, NRI research associate.

This study, conducted with lead author Lauren Chan from Pacific University, Oregon, and additional researchers in California and New Mexico, identified unique populations of the endemic lizard in the shinnery oak sand dunes, raising concern for land fragmentation like development and mining in those habitats.

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