This post is long over due as much has happened in the Miles lab recently.

First and foremost, lab member Matt Lattanzio (April 23rd) and Kelly Williams (April 24th) will be defending their dissertations soon!  Big news for the lab and we hope that everyone can come out to see both of them defend. Matt’s defense will be at 3 pm on Tuesday April 23rd and Kelly’s will be at 9 am both of their rooms are TBD.  Keep a look out for posters around LSB and Irvine!

Also, lab member Vinny Farallo has received the OCEES and Graduate College Fellowships.  Vinny will be exempt from a full year of teaching which will give him plenty of extra time for his research.  Vinny also received the Ohio University Student Enhancement Award ($6,000) and the Exploration Fund grant from the Explorers Club ($2,000)!  Vinny’s field season will begin later this month and will continue on through August as he visits sites from West Virginia down to North Carolina and Tennessee.

It also looks like we will have two or three new lab members next year.  More information to come soon!

Tons of Great News for the Miles Lab!!

Matt Lattanzio’s dissertation research was just highlighted in the Audubon Society of Arizona’s 2012 annual report. The article focuses both on his work and his strong commitment to undergraduate mentorship and participation in public symposia. An image of Matt’s section is shown below, but the full annual report can be found here:













Lab research featured in Audubon annual report

Matt Lattanzio! Matt won the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Best Student Poster Award at the World Congress of Herpetology 7 held in Vancouver, British Columbia. Matt’s poster was titled: The (disturbance) ecology of the phenotype: Response of tree lizard populations to altered landscapes.

A brief description of his poster can be found below, but if you would like more information Matt ( will gladly field any questions.

Brief description of poster: Through the redistribution of resources, disturbances can modify the conditions through which organisms develop/experience throughout their ontogeny. Variation in habitat use by lizards in disturbed areas should cascade into morphological and performance effects which may ultimately influence their adaptive trajectories and have implications for long-term population persistence. I investigate these responses of tree lizards across four sites (two undisturbed, two grazed) in SE Arizona. My results highlight how grazing generates conditions that increase habitat selectivity and favor morphological divergence among males, females, and alternative male phenotypes (e.g., yellow and blue throat males). Furthermore, these conditions also break down the relationships between performance capacity and environmental structure, suggesting a shift in selective processes among disturbed and non disturbed regions. Ultimately, we plan to analyze diet variation and survivorship estimates to determine the full extent of divergence in these populations.

And the winner is….

Kelly Williams-Sieg received the Student Enhancement Award from Ohio University for $6000! This award will allow Kelly to purchase much needed equipment and greatly improve her project in her last field season. Congratulations Kelly!

Vincent Farallo also received some good news last week when he received the Rosemary Fund grant from the Society for the Study of Evolution. This grant will help get his research started this spring/early summer.

Way to go Miles lab!

More great news in the Miles lab!

PhD candidate, Matt Lattanzio, has had a string of success to start off 2012. Matt has received two grants to help complete his last field season in Arizona this coming summer. One grant coming from Sigma Xi’s grants-in-aid of research and another from the Ariel Appleton Research Fund.

Additionally, Matt was asked to speak at an NSF BooKS Professional Development seminar held at Ohio University on February 25th. Matt gave a talk titled, “You are what you eat and what burns at your feet: A Tree Lizard Tale.”

Finally, Matt recently had his Master’s thesis accepted for publication by the journal Copeia. The study is titled Habitat use and activity budgets of emerald basilisks (Basiliscus plumifrons) in northeast Costa Rica. In the article he identifies variation in habitat use among adult and juvenile lizards which may be associated with the size-dependence of their water-running ability, as well as differing behavioral responses to the onset of the dry season w/respect to activity budgets. You can look for this article in Copeia later this year.

Matt Lattanzio is on fire!!!

2012 is off to a great start for the Miles lab!

PhD candidate Matt Lattanzio received a Sigma Xi grant for his work with fluctuating asymmetry in Urosaurus ornatus. This grant will help Matt complete is last field season in Arizona this coming summer. Matt was also featured in the 2011 Ariel Appleton Fellows of the Research Ranch Foundation bulletin.

In other news, PhD student Vincent Farallo recently had a manuscript accepted to PLoS One. The article details Vincent’s masters thesis project that he completed at Texas State University-San Marcos. A link to the article will be posted when it is officially published sometime later this month.

MSES student Nicole Finnicum is currently making great progress with her thesis and plans on finishing at the end of Spring 2012.

If the past few weeks are any indication, 2012 will be a productive year!

2012 off to a great start

Ph.D student from the lab, Vincent Farallo, had a paper come out in early 2011 in the journal of wildlife management concerning the effects that current harvesting practices will have on populations of turtles in Texas.  This paper was part of a collaborative effort with  collegues at Texas State University-San Marcos where he completed his masters degree.

Brown, D.J., V.R. Farallo, J.R. Dixon, J.T. Baccus, T.R. Simpson, M.R.J. Forstner. 2011. Freashwater turtle conservation in Texas: lingering harvest effects and efficacy of the current management regime. Journal of Wildlife Management 75 (3): 486-494.


Professor Don Miles has had several papers published this year including a response to a comment on a 2010 paper by Sinervo et al. in which he was an author, “Erosion of lizard diversity by climate change an altered thermal niches”.  Their response was published in an April issue of Science.

Sinervo, B., D. B. Miles, N. Martinez-Mendez, R. Lara-Resendiz, and F. R. Mendez De La Cruz (2011) Response to comment on “Erosion of lizard diversity by climate change an altered thermal niches. Science 332: 537 – 538.


Miles also co-authored a book chapter in The Biology of the Reptilia on hormones and the reproductive behavior of reptiles.

Sinervo, B. and D. B. Miles (2011) Hormones and the Reproductive Behavior in Reptiles. Biology of the Reptilia. Elsevier.


Finally, Miles was also a co-author on a recent paper in Ecography examing aspects of a contact zone of two lineages of Lacerta vivipara.

Heulin, B., Y. Surget-Groba, B. Sinervo, D. Miles, A. Guiller. (2011) Dynamics of haplogroup frequencies and survival rates in a contact zone of two mtDNA lineages of the lizard Lacerta vivipara. Ecography.

2011 Publications!

Ph.D canidate Matt Lattanzio recieved the Ariel-Appleton Research Fund ($2,000.00) and the East Texas Herpetological Society Grant ($100.00), which was awarded for 2011 field season of his dissertation work in Arizona.  Matt is applying for several more grants for 2012 which will be his 4th and final  season of field work for his dissertation work investigating the effects of broad-scale disturbance on the life history and fitness of ectotherms.

2011 Grants!

The Donald B. Miles Lab webpage ( is finally up and running.  This adjoining blog will detail news about our research, including publications, grants, field and lab work, and other lab news.

Website up and running!