What are anurans, you ask? Anurans are frogs, all in the order Anura. Toads, which are just specialized frogs, are also in this order.
Along with SU student Giulia Giuffre, Dr. Pierce and I conducted NAAMP (North American Amphibian Monitoring Program) surveys at 40 sites in central Texas. Once a week, we chugged away to rural central Texas and recorded frog calls using a NAAMP protocol. To practice for field work, we quizzed ourselves weekly using an online NAAMP frog quiz. In total, we trained ourselves to be able to identify the male breeding advertisement calls of 41 species of frogs.
My project, titled "Call Latencies and Breeding Call Detection Ranges of Anurans in Central Texas," contributed to the scientific community's knowledge of the dates during which anurans in central Texas call. Additionally, my project was the first paper that analyzed a potentially useful correlate easily obtained during NAAMP surveys - call latency. We defined call latency as the time in seconds each species was heard after the start of an anuran call survey. Although we were not able to correlate call latency with air temperature, our future research may be able to find a biotic or abiotic factor that influences this new measure.
My independent research with Dr. Ben Pierce has convinced me that a professional career in herpetology is not only possible, but hugely rewarding! In case you haven't gotten the memo, herpetology is the scientific study reptiles and amphibians. Herpetology is an exciting field of research, especially because of the diverse ways in which it can be approached. Population genetics, vertebrate morphology, behavioral neuroscience, and natural history are popular topics using reptiles or amphibians as model organisms. More on that later, though. :)
If you would like a copy of my paper, email me at halla(at)southwestern.edu