Herpetological Conservation and Ecology

Amphibians and reptiles are one of my favorite taxa, likely because tortoises, vipers and frogs were the first organisms to spark my interest in Conservation Biology. I enjoy studying them, and I have been working on a wide variety of herpetological conservation related topics in Europe and North America.

My research in this area strives to advance our understanding of the relative roles of behavior and eco-physiology on shaping individual and population-level responses of forest amphibians to forest harvesting, and the carryover effects of impacts of multiple stressors throughout the complex amphibian lifecycle (in a climate-change context).

Current projects in the lab:
1) Amphibians and climate change. Graduate student Cassie Thompson is investigating the carryover effects of climate change-induced hydroperiod and temperature variation on wood frogs and American toads using cattletank mesocosms. She is following the growth, fitness and survival of metamorphs in the terrestrial environment using a common-garden terrestrial mesocosm experiment. She will then integrate these vital rates into spatial model of populaiton viability using land use, climate, and hydrology projections for the next century. Cassie was awarded a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship for this pioneering work.
2) Impacts of roadways on Eastern Box Turtles. Graduate student Marcel Weigand is investigating the spatial ecology of Eastern Box Turtles at 2 sites:  along a new 4-lane highway and a roadless control site in SE Ohio. She is pairing telemetry with an assessment of chronic stress via hormone assays (in collaboration with Chris Tonra at Ohio State University)
Past projects:
  • habitat selection studies of Oregon Spotted Frogs in British Columbia, and Hermann’s Tortoises in Romania
  • occupancy studies of Mink Frogs in New York State (my MSc research) and invasive Bullfrogs in British Columbia
  • predicting hotspots of road mortality for New York State amphibians and Hermann’s Tortoise in Romania
  • assessing the use of road crossing structures by Great Crested Newts in the UK
  • spatial conservation prioritization for Romanian amphibians and reptiles

   

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