Eric Nordberg - The impact of grazing on arboreal reptiles
Eric is interested in reptile ecology, conservation, and behavior, which led him to join the lab in February 2014. His PhD research is conducted at the Wambiana Cattle Station to investigate how arboreal geckos are affected by cattle grazing in tropical savanna woodlands. Eric’s focal species, the dubious dtella (Gehyra dubia), is a common native gecko, yet little is known about its natural history, ecology, and behavior. Due to preliminary data suggesting that gecko abundances are higher in areas of heavy cattle stocking (high grazing pressure), Eric’s research focuses on identifying mechanisms that cause these changes in abundance. Eric will investigate aspects of the gecko’s natural history and ecology, including movement patterns, habitat use, shelter site selection, and diet, as well as mechanisms that may lead to changes in abundances due to cattle grazing (i.e., changes in vegetation structure that influence the thermal environment) or changes in predator and prey abundances. My project is supported by Meat and Livestock, Australia.