Matthew Rand, Biology

Date of Report: 6/29/12

Equipment Purchased with the Award

A field-ready miniature fiber optic spectrometer with deuterium-tungsten light source, coaxial reflectance probe, solar battery and charger from Ocean Optics.

Impact of Equipment on Teaching

In my animal physiology class, students occasionally engage in experiments where a color change is induced or hypothesized to be induced when manipulating vertebrate (usually lizards or fish) hormone levels. This instrument provides a nearly full spectrum chromatogram that provides a graphical representation of coloration. Prior to this we simply relied on digital photography with varying available light or visual comparisons with Munsell color standards. We can now use measured peak wavelength reflectances in describing what we see rather than relying on vague categorical or comparative descriptions based on our limited perceptions.

Impact of Equipment on Research

Similar to how we use this equipment in the physiology lab, we can transport this equipment to my field sites in Colorado and accurately measure pigment variation among lizards in multiple populations. Previous studies used Munsell color chips to estimate color differences and development in lizards. This equipment provides a reliable means to accurately record color reflectance in the field. Additionally, we will now start looking at the potential importance of ultraviolet wavelengths in social signaling among lizards.

Materials Developed As A Result of Equipment Acquisition