Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Major Professor

Daniel Simberloff

Committee Members

Todd M. Freeberg, Nina H. Fefferman, Susan Riechert, Arthur Echternacht


Why animals live where they do is a key question in ecology and evolution. An individual’s home range determines the resources they have access to, conspecifics they encounter, and predators and pitfalls they must avoid. Home range behaviors also have an inherently social component; where animals live affects the rivals they compete with and the mates they have access to. This is especially true in territorial species, as defensive displays make up a large portion of their social behaviors. In this dissertation, I sought to understand how territorial behaviors affect the social lives of the green anole lizard (Anolis carolinensis). I first explored the effects of translating home range estimation methods into three dimensions, a necessary advance to fully understand the spatial behaviors of arboreal anoles. I found that home range estimators had more variable accuracy in 3D than they did in 2D, particularly for kernel density estimators, and that minimum convex polygon estimators were the most accurate metrics for patrolling species like anoles. Next, I showed that male green anoles can be unambiguously categorized into three territorial phenotypes, territory owners, sneakers, and floaters, and that these phenotypes differ in how often they interact and how much their home ranges overlap with one another. Sneaker males also showed similar behaviors to females, further supporting their hypothesized female-mimicry role. Finally, I investigated how the social and spatial behaviors of green anoles change when their populations are invaded by an invasive congener, the Cuban brown anole (A. sagrei). I found that while green and brown anoles did behaviorally interact, there was no evidence that brown anoles socially dominated green anoles. Altogether, this work indicates that the underlying spatial behaviors of a species can have dramatic effects on its social landscape.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."