Curators Professor of Biological Sciences
PhD, 1984 University of Georgia
Ecological and behavioral processes in natural and disturbed amphibian populations
Research descriptionMy research focuses on understanding basic ecological and behavioral processes in both natural populations of amphibians and those under varying degrees of disturbance or land use. It is specifically directed at understanding: 1) how land use affects population dynamics, 2) the role of species differences in population persistence, 3) the mechanisms of connectivity within metapopulations, and 4) basic principles or tools used to manage and conserve wetland species.
My lab has three primary research interests: 1) sustainable timber harvest and forest management practices, 2) understanding the effects of golf courses on stream salamanders, and 3) wetland restoration and mitigation. In each case, we are trying to understand how vital rates of amphibians like growth, reproduction, and survival are altered by these various factors and types of land use. Our studies often compare species in an attempt to understand why species vary in their ability to tolerate disturbance. Our studies range from mechanistic laboratory experiments to large-scale forest or wetland manipulations.
The goal of my research is to understand how populations of amphibians persist and how we can maintain their biodiversity in human dominated landscapes. The ultimate goal is to provide biologically-based principles for amphibian management and conservation to natural resource managers and policy makers.
[please go to our lab website for more detailed information: www.biology.missouri.edu/semlitsch]
Shulse, C. D., & Semlitsch, R. D. (2013). Western mosquitofish (gambusia affinis) bolster the prevalence and severity of tadpole tail injuries in experimental wetlands. Hydrobiologia, , 1-14
Earl, J. E., & Semlitsch, R. D. (2013). Spatial subsidies, trophic state, and community structure: Examining the effects of leaf litter input on ponds. Ecosystems, , 1-13.
Spatola, B. N., Peterman, W. E., Stephens, N. T., Connette, G. M., Shepard, D. B., Kozak, K. H., . . . Eggert, L. S. (2013). Development of microsatellite loci for the western slimy salamander (plethodon albagula) using 454 sequencing. Conservation Genetics Resources, 5(1), 267-270
Peterman, W. E., Feist, S. M., Semlitsch, R. D., & Eggert, L. S. (2013). Conservation and management of peripheral populations: Spatial and temporal influences on the genetic structure of wood frog (rana sylvatica) populations. Biological Conservation, 158, 351-358
Hocking, D. J., Connette, G. M., Conner, C. A., Scheffers, B. R., Pittman, S. E., Peterman, W. E., & Semlitsch, R. D. (2013). Effects of experimental forest management on a terrestrial, woodland salamander in missouri. Forest Ecology and Management, 287, 32-39
Peterman, W. E., Connette, G. M., Spatola, B. N., Eggert, L. S., & Semlitsch, R. D. (2012). Identification of polymorphic loci in ambystoma annulatum and review of cross-species microsatellite use in the genus ambystoma. Copeia, (3), 570-577
Semlitsch, R. D., Ecrement, S., Fuller, A., Hammer, K., Howard, J., Krager, C., . . . Walters, B. (2012). Natural and anthropogenic substrates affect movement behavior of the southern graycheek salamander (plethodon metcalfi). Canadian Journal of Zoology, 90(9), 1128-1135
Shulse, C. D., Semlitsch, R. D., Trauth, K. M., & Gardner, J. E. (2012). Testing wetland features to increase amphibian reproductive success and species richness for mitigation and restoration. Ecological Applications, 22(5), 1675-1688
Earl, J. E., Cohagen, K. E., & Semlitsch, R. D. (2012). Effects of leachate from tree leaves and grass litter on tadpoles. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 31(7), 1511-1517
Earl, J. E., & Semlitsch, R. D. (2012). Reciprocal subsidies in ponds: Does leaf input increase frog biomass export? Oecologia, 170(4), 1077-1087
Connette, G. M., & Semlitsch, R. D. (2012). Successful use of a passive integrated transponder (PIT) system for below-ground detection of plethodontid salamanders. Wildlife Research, 39(1), 1-6.
Peterman, W. E., Crawford, J. A., & Semlitsch, R. D. (2011). Effects of even-aged timber harvest on stream salamanders: Support for the evacuation hypothesis. Forest Ecology and Management, 262(12), 2344-2353
Earl, J.E., T.M. Luhring, B.K. Williams, and R.D. Semlitsch. 2011. Aquatic salamander larvae have greater production with increases in canopy cover. Freshwater Biology (in press)
Earl, J. E., Luhring, T. M., Williams, B. K., & Semlitsch, R. D. (2011). Biomass export of salamanders and anurans from ponds is affected differentially by changes in canopy cover. Freshwater Biology, 56(12), 2473-2482
James, S. M., & Semlitsch, R. D. (2011). Terrestrial performance of juvenile frogs in two habitat types after chronic larval exposure to a contaminant. Journal of Herpetology, 45(2), 186-194
Osbourn, M. S., Hocking, D. J., Conner, C. A., Peterman, W. E., & Semlitsch, R. D. (2011). Use of fluorescent visible implant alphanumeric tags to individually mark juvenile ambystomatid salamanders. Herpetological Review, 42(1), 43-47
Shulse, C., R.D. Semlitsch, K.M. Trauth, and A.D. Williams. 2010. Influence of design and landscape placement parameters on amphibian abundance in constructed wetlands. Wetlands 30:915-928.
Mackey, M. J., Connette, G. M., & Semlitsch, R. D. (2010). Monitoring of stream salamanders: The utility of two survey techniques and the influence of stream substrate complexity. Herpetological Review, 41(2), 163-166
Williams, B. K., & Semlitsch, R. D. (2010). Larval responses of three midwestern anurans to chronic, low-dose exposures of four herbicides. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 58(3), 819-827
Storrs-Méndez, S. I., & Semlitsch, R. D. (2010). Intersex gonads in frogs: Understanding the time course of natural development and role of endocrine disruptors. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution, 314(1 B), 57-66.
Honors & Awards
Selected honors and awards
AAAS Elected Fellow 2009
National Wetlands Award, Science Research 2008
Feb. 24, 2012
Complex Modeling Highlighted in Mizzou Magazine
Aug. 3, 2011
Ray Semlitsch receives 2011 Fitch Award for Excellence in Herpetology
July 30, 2009
The new wildlife refuge: golf courses?
Dec. 1, 2007
From amphibians to anecdotes
June 13, 2007
Wetlands threatened by new EPA guidance
Aug. 28, 2006
Increased wetland protection is needed, say researchers and advocates