Herpetology Research Studies | Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

The Museum's collection of amphibians and reptiles contains approximately 183,000 catalogued specimens from around the globe.
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Herpetology Research

Research in the section focuses on systematics, phylogenetic relationships, and species delimitation of various groups of reptiles and amphibians.  Much of this work uses molecular genetic techniques (that is, phylogenetic, phylgeographic, and population genetic approaches) and morphological analyses to inform the management and conservation of declining species.  Other areas of interest include mating signal evolution and amphibian and reptile conservation.  

To learn more about ongoing research in Herpetology, see Greg Pauly's Research page.


Lost Lizards of Los Angeles

Lost Lizards of Los Angeles is an ongoing citizen science project to understand the diversity and distribution of lizards in the greater Los Angeles area.  The biodiversity of Los Angeles is a complicated mix of native species, whose distribution has been shaped by habitat destruction, habitat modification, and other aspects of urbanization, as well as non-native species that have been introduced intentionally and accidentally by people.  The diverstiy of LA lizards is changing with at least two species being introduced and becoming established in the last 20 years (Mediterranean Gecko and Italian Wall Lizard).  We need your help in understanding where these natives and non-native species occur.  We want to know what lizards you observe in your backyard, in your neighborhood park, and along your favorite local hiking trails.  As the number of records grows, we will be able to ask what factors are associated with the presence/absence of various species.  Further, by comparing to older records in museum collections, we will be able to see how ranges have changed through time.  Similarly, LLOLA will provide a detailed snapshot of present day distributions that future researchers can study and compare to the distribution of LA lizards 50, 100, or more years from now.

Currently, LLOLA records are focused on lizards in Los Angeles County.  At present only Los Angeles County records can be submitted, though you can submit any lizard, snake, turtle, frog, or salamander (and PLEASE do!).  However, please check back regularly because we will be expanding this study both taxonomically and geographically, to look at all reptiles and amphibians across the five counties of the Greater Los Angeles area.  If you have photos and records from reptiles and amphibians outside of Los Angeles County, please hang onto those and submit once we expand the submission site to your county.

For more information and the submission site, check out the LLOLA page.