Gecko translocalities

This project examines the negotiation of social and ecological values in human-animal relations between Germany and the Indian Ocean

Phelsuma Day Geckos in science, nature conservation and terraristics
In this DFG-funded project, post-doctoral scholar Lisa Krieg explores the translocality of Phelsuma day geckos as an endangered and invasive species that engages nature conservationists, as scientific specimens researched by herpetologists, and a loved species that is cared for in terrariums. Their various entanglements with humans and technology, with historical relations between the Indian Ocean and Europe, with genetical research and conservation biology, with the internet and globalized communities of Phelsuma friends is in the focus of this project. Lisa conducts ethnographic fieldwork with the German terrarium community, with scientists from different countries working on Phelsuma day geckos, and with nature conservationists on Mauritius and La Réunion.

Multi-sited ethnographic research on values, hopes and fears in the Anthropocene
Engaging with work on translocality and mobility in general (Cresswell 2006; Sheller and Urry 2006), and particularly in the Indian Ocean (Verne 2012, Schnepel & Verne 2022), and with recent debates about human-animal-technology relationships in the Anthropocene (Haraway 2008; Kirksey 2015; Tsing 2015), this project asks two interrelated questions: (1) How is knowledge, value, and care created and practiced in human-gecko relations in Germany and the Indian Ocean, and how are these processes related to the mobility of geckos (and humans)? (2) Which social values, hopes, and fears are negotiated in debates about the mobility of Phelsuma day geckos, on Indian Ocean islands and in German terrariums and taxonomic collections? The aim of this project is to gain deeper insight into the social and cultural dynamics of human-animal relations that are responsible of attributing and denying value, for creating knowledge, and for shaping ambivalent practices of care, and how these in turn enable or restrict the mobility of animals. The project wants to contribute to theoretical discourses on mobility and translocality (Appadurai, 1996; Salazar & Smart, 2011; Sheller & Urry, 2006; J. Verne, 2012) by taking the mobility of animals into consideration. Additionally, the goal is to conceptualize the Indian Ocean as a space that is significantly shaped by nonhuman mobilities (Campbell, 2016; Gupta, 2012).

Funding: Thyssen Foundation 2017-2019, DFG 2019-2023

Dr. Lisa Krieg

project-related publications:

Krieg, Lisa J. (2022). When Gecko Tails Travel from Island Forests to Laboratories: From Materiality to Information in Scientific Cargo, In: Burkhard Schnepel und Julia Verne (eds), Cargoes: The Materiality of Connectivity in Motion Across the Indian Ocean. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press.

Krieg, Lisa J. 2020. Endangered, invasive, pet, commodity. Gecko circulations and value transformation in the Western Indian Ocean. Global Environment 13 (1): 195-223.

Krieg, Lisa J. 2020 Caring for strangers. Alterity, alliances, and reptile conservation in the “gecko garden refuges” in Manapany-les-Bains, La Réunion. Geographische Zeitschrift 108 (3): 176-196.

Krieg, Lisa J. and Poerting, Julia (2020) Digital methods in difficult ethnographic fields: studying knowledge flows as complex networks through a Facebook analysis. Zeitschrift für digitale Geisteswissenschaften.

Krieg, Lisa J., Maan Barua, und Josh Fisher (2020) Ecologizing Infrastructure: Infrastructural Ecologies. Introduction to the essay series in Society & Space Blog @

Krieg, Lisa J. (2020) On gecko gardens and giant tortoises: extinction, restoration, and more-than-human infrastructures in the Mascarenes. In Society & Space Blog Series. Ecologizing Infrastructure: Infrastructural Ecologies @

Krieg, Lisa J. (2018). Horizonte der Fürsorge. Warum eine Ethnologin Gecko-Mensch-Beziehungen erforscht. In Der Taggecko. Informationen der Interessengruppe Phelsuma 102(2): 20-22.

Krieg, Lisa J. 2018. Entangling (non)human isolation and connectivity: island nature conservation on Ile aux Aigrettes, Mauritius. Island Studies Journal 13(2): 55-70.