Term of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Biology

Committee Chair

Lance McBrayer

Committee Member 1

Michelle Cawthorn

Committee Member 2

Steve Vives


Effectively moving across variable substrates is important to all terrestrial animals. Much attention has been given to the effects of different substrates on locomotor performance in an attempt to link ecology and morphology. Sprint sensitivity is the decrease in sprint speed due to change in substrate. This study measures sprint sensitivity to substrate rugosity among six lizard species that occupy rocky, sandy, and/or semi-arboreal habitats. Lizards that use rocky habitats are less sensitive to changes in substrate rugosity, followed by arboreal lizards, and then by lizards that use sandy habitats. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that using rocks is highly correlated with decreased sprint sensitivity, long toes, and wide bodies. These results are discussed in the context of the adaptive significance of substrate selection, stability, and the evolution of sprint speed.

Research Data and Supplementary Material