Before joining the EEB Frontiers Master’s Program, Ivan Monagan spent several summers as an undergraduate researcher at a National Audobon Society research ranch in Arizona studying Slevin’s Bunchgrass Lizards. The resulting abstract was selected as the example to follow this year by the Emerging Researchers National Conference in STEM – out of 750 abstracts. At the conference, he tied for first place in the Oral Presentation Award in Biological Sciences for “Support for the Inverse of Bergmann’s Rule in Slevin’s Bunchgrass Lizard.”

Monagan’s research was done at the Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch 65 miles southeast of Tucson, Ariz. “Our research addressed the application of Bergmann’s Rule to Slevin’s Bunchgrass Lizard, Sceloporus slevini, in southeastern Arizona,” he explained. “The rule’s application is considered controversial in ectotherms (an organism, such as a reptile, that relies on external heat sources), because it posits that organisms should get larger in cooler climates to conserve heat. However, larger size slows an ectotherms ability to absorb heat in a cooler climate. Our study supports the converse of Bergmann’s rule and provides insight into the potential impact of climate change on the plight of a broad variety of organisms. Data analysis via MiniTab statistical software and analysis of study sites via Garmin Global Positioning Systems are implemented in the development of our conclusions.”

The Emerging Researchers National Conference in STEM was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Monagan received his bachelor of science degree from Virginia State University. His paper coauthor is Christian d'Orgeix, VSU. The paper is currently being submitted for publication.