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Rock Iguana Niche Partitioning Project

feeding Competition and dietary niche partitioning in two species of rock iguanas in the Dominican Republic

 
 
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Rock iguanas (Cyclura spp.) in the Caribbean islands are collectively threatened by habitat destruction. The only two species that occur sympatrically, Cyclura ricordi and C. cornuta in the Dominican Republic share a considerable degree of dietary overlap; this may have caused them to partition their diets and consume abnormal items, including animal protein.

To better understand how these species influence one another, and how they resolve competition for limited resources, I utilized stable isotope analysis to estimate their foraging ecology, niche overlap, and the potential for depredation on C. ricordi by C. cornuta.

To best model their diets in the wild, I developed stable isotope discrimination factors from captive rock iguanas at the San Diego Zoo Reptile Conservation Center.

 
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Dominican Republic - Field Season 2013

 

San Diego Zoo - Griffin Reptile Conservation Center

 
 

This work was funded by:

  • IUCN - Iguana Specialist Group - Travel and Accommodation award for 2013 Iguana Specialist Group meeting
  • UCSD Academic Enrichment Program - Travel grant for 2013 Iguana Specialist Group meeting
  • UCSD Heart di Vite - Fund for Undergraduate Research
  • David Marc Belkin Memorial - Research Scholarship

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