Current Research

Causes of range limits in rare and common salamanders

Virginia is home to several endemic salamanders that are restricted to tiny ranges on one or several mountaintops. At their range margins, these mountaintop species are replaced widespread salamanders that are among the most common vertebrates in eastern North America. At first glance, the local endemic and widespread salamanders appear to be broadly similar in their ecology and life history.  So why are some of these species so common while others are so highly restricted in their distribution? And how will climate change affect their future distributions? My lab is studying these questions using a combination of observational studies, ecological experiments, and population genetics.

Effects of roads and land use on frog and toad populations across the eastern and central U.S.

Numerous small-scale studies have investigated the various effects of roads and development on frog and toad populations. We are using citizen science data to examine these relationships more generally across a large swath of the eastern and central United States. Using data from the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program and public data on land use and wetland distributions, we are trying to determine what kinds of land use are detrimental to amphibians and why these land uses have the effects they do. We are also interested in the efficacy of different strategies for mitigating the negative effects of roads on amphibians and reptiles.