Photo: Courtesy Princeton Vaughn

Princeton Vaughn wanted to understand how lizards are impacted by hurricanes. “I was interested in this question so I designed an experiment to test if the traits that shifted in the wild actually dictate how long a lizard can hold on to a branch,” Vaughn, a graduate student in ecology and evolutionary biology, said in his video project. For the experiment, he placed lizards on a beam opposite a custom-built fan to simulate strong winds and documented how long the creatures could hold on (before flying into a net with a soft-landing pad). He also took x-rays to examine differences in bone structure and found toe length to be an important evolution for lizards to survive hurricanes. Vaughn was one of the winners of the Outstanding Presentation Award given to the highest rated video submissions created for Research Day on May 9. A total of 18 projects won awards and received cash prizes ranging from $750 to $1,500.