Camp Solera welcomes freshmen to West campus


August 17, 2015

Editor's note: As ASU gears up for the start of classes this week, our reporters are spotlighting scenes around its campuses. To read more, click here.

The La Sala Ballroom is abuzz with chatter and movement Monday when suddenly, a booming voice calls out, “W-E!” student talking during Camp Solera Incoming freshmen Asher Cota (left) and Marco Hipolito, both global business management majors, get to know the ASU West campus at Camp Solera. Download Full Image

Without hesitation, the chatter stops and a chorus of freshmen shout back in unison, “S-T!”

The rallying cry, as it turns out, is how Sean Wiseman – the source of the booming voice – calls the students participating in Camp Solera to attention.

The camp, specifically created for freshmen at Arizona State University’s West campus, is a three-day experience designed to build class unity through group challenges, introduce students to university and campus resources and give the newest members of the Sun Devil family a sneak peek into ASU traditions, according to Sharon Smith, dean of students at the West campus.

“Ultimately, we want them all to feel welcome and connected to each other,” adds Wiseman, assistant dean of student affairs at the West campus and managing director of student engagement for Camp Solera. “Coming to ASU for the first time can be a big deal, so this camp helps them feel more like a part of the community.”

Launched in 2009, the camp features a variety of team- and service-oriented activities, something Smith points out jibes very well with ASU’s dedication to social embeddedness.

Incoming freshman Asher Cota, majoring in global business management, particularly enjoyed the team-building cardboard boat race at the Sun Devil Fitness Complex’s pool.

Belinda Williams, a forensics major from Nebraska, and Nicole Floda, a political science major, spent the morning at a nearby elementary school helping out with the landscaping. Both have enjoyed their time at camp but are eager for classes to begin. Camp Solera was wrapping up Monday.

“I’m ready to see what college is all about,” Williams says.

Before that, though, they’ll be participating in what Wiseman calls the “culminating event” of Camp Solera: the Golden Tradition.

During the event, freshmen pass through the hallowed Paley Gates at the entrance of West campus. In four years, when they graduate, they will pass through the gates again — this time on their way toward their future.

Emma Greguska

Reporter, ASU Now

(480) 965-9657

Climate change lethal to baby lizards: Nests become heat traps


August 18, 2015

The expected impact of climate change on North American lizards is much worse than first thought. A team of biologists led by Arizona State University investigators has discovered that lizard embryos die when subjected to a temperature of 110 degrees Fahrenheit even for a few minutes.

The researchers also discovered a bias in previous studies, which ignored early life stages such as embryos. Embryonic lizards are immobile and cannot seek shade or cool off when their surrounding soil becomes hot. Global climate change is expected to negatively impact lizards. Global climate change is expected to negatively impact lizards more than first thought. Researchers have discovered that embryonic lizards cannot tolerate even short periods of high temperatures. (Pictured: A male Sceloporus tristichus.) Download Full Image

This bias produced overly optimistic forecasts about the fate of lizards during climate change. Given the potential impacts on embryos, many more places in the United States could become uninhabitable for lizards than previously expected.

“Lizards put all of their eggs in one basket, so a single heat wave can kill an entire group of eggs,” said Ofir Levy, lead investigator of the study and postdoctoral fellow with ASU School of Life Sciences. “If mothers don’t dig deeper nests to lay their eggs, we expect this species to decline throughout the United States.”

The findings appear today online in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

After finding that lizard embryos cannot tolerate 110 degrees Fahrenheit for even a short period, the researchers used a climate model to predict how often heat waves in the past and future would kill developing lizards. Areas in the U.S. reaching lethal temperatures, even in the shade, could spread from 3 percent currently to 48 percent of the country in the next century.

Female lizards lay eggs in spring and summer, digging nests and then leaving their offspring to develop for more than two months. Mothers may choose shadier soils or dig deeper nests to help their offspring avoid the heat. But even if lizards lay eggs in cooler places, nests may still exceed the temperatures that embryonic lizards can tolerate. And, assuming that baby lizards could reach the surface after hatching from a deeper nest, that still may not offer enough protection. Repeated exposure to above-average but not lethal temperatures can negatively affect a lizard’s physiology and behavior.

“Since this year promises to be the hottest on record, we are asking whether organisms, like lizards, can adjust to their warming world,” said Michael Angilletta, professor and senior sustainability scientist with ASU School of Life Sciences. “It’s critical that we acquire detailed knowledge about what temperatures these lizards and other animals can tolerate throughout the life cycle, not just as adults.”

Levy added: “Because lizards are prey for animals such as birds, snakes and mammals, the harmful effects of climate change on embryonic lizards could also negatively affect other species.”

Investigators from the University of Washington and the University of Texas also participated in this study. The National Science Foundation supported this study with grants EF-1065638 and EF-1064901. Levy is supported by a Rothschild Post-Doctoral fellowship.

School of Life Sciences is an academic unit of ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Sandra Leander

Assistant Director of Media Relations, ASU Knowledge Enterprise

480-965-9865