I'm a herpetologist by training but a naturalist at heart. My masters thesis is looking into the Panamint alligator lizard, Elgaria panamintina. In particular I'm focusing on identifying its range and testing out a variety of novel techniques which may benefit the field of herpetology as a whole. I post things that interest me and often post updates on what I'm doing in the vertebrate museum, in the field, or in the lab.
So… the question now is, can I somehow shove together some sorry excuse for a thesis where I’m not allowed to touch any animals I find.
I can look at them… but I can’t touch them. (so all the work I did to collaborate and do preliminary tests… worth NOTHING. NOTHING. NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING. At best I can maybe field validate the species distribution model… which I doubt is good enough for a masters thesis)
Why? Well apparently I’ll need a special federal permit from the forest they’re found on to touch them… the wait time is minimum eight months (if I were the first person in the queue… which is very much not the case… lots of permits waiting right now), so more likely well over a year… by which point my state permit will be expired (which I needed to apply for this permit)… oh, and I’d have to pay a land use, per-acre fee of approximately $3,000 which can not be waived. As far as I can tell this is the only forest to have such long wait times/high permit fees… but I need to survey this forest to get useful data results.
So even if I was willing to make myself have a four year masters program… there’s not even a slight guarantee that I’ll have my permits in order next summer.
At this point I’m about done with trying to do research on panamintina… they’re cursed. That’s pretty much my conclusion. Its taken me this long to get the state permit in hand just to find out that the federal permit (which required the state permit to apply) is going to take just as long. No one’s been able to successfully study them… and suddenly I understand why.
I’m not one to admit defeat… but really, I don’t see any other valid option at this point.
Maybe I can turn my individual ID thing into a thesis…
I made a species distribution model for my lizards… yay!
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