Dr. Clifford Fontenot
Instructor of Biological Sciences
Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara, 2002
Office: 331 Biology Building
Office Hours: by appointment
Teaching Expertise:Human Physiology, Anatomy & Physiology lab
I am generally interested in the behavior, conservation, and evolutionary ecology of amphibians and reptiles. The following are ongoing projects in three main areas:
- Long-term (2003-present) wetlands snake assemblage study in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin, which produces a massive amount of data on body size, assemblage structure, habitat association, seasonal activity, and road mortality. Here, my interests are in species body size scaling, functional patch size of habitats, and the far-reaching effects of urbanization like waterway channelization (levees), deforestation, increased salinity, invasive species, flooding, and road mortality.
- Evolution of vision in snakes. What are the accommodation mechanisms, and how are they distributed phylogenetically? More specifically, how have terrestrial animals that independently evolved eyes in one medium (e.g., air, on land) adapted to the change in refractive index experienced when foraging in another medium (e.g., underwater)? There is a lot of interspecific variation, and we are only beginning to scratch the surface.
- Ecology of Amphiuma. My focus is on reproductive ecology, but includes related aspects like movement, home ranges, territoriality, and social interaction.