Curators Professor of Biological Sciences
PhD, 1984 University of Georgia
Understanding the dynamics of 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 and spatial dynamics, and 4) basic principles or tools used to manage and conserve wetland species.
My lab currently has three primary research interests: 1) movement behavior and connectivity among populations, 2) spatial structuring and source-sink dynamics of populations, and 3) sustainable timber harvest and forest management practices such as prescribed fire. We are trying to understand how vital rates of amphibians like growth, reproduction, and survival are altered by disturbance factors and 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]
Connette, G.M., and R.D. Semlitsch. 2013. Life history determines recovery rate from historic land use in southern Appalachian forests. Conservation Biology, 27, (in press)
Peterman, W.E., J.E. Earl, T.A. Rittenhouse, and R.D. Semlitsch. 2013. Demographic network and multi-season occupancy modeling of Rana sylvatica reveal spatial and temporal patterns of connectivity. Landscape Ecology, 28, (in press)
Peterman, W.E., and R.D. Semlitsch. 2013. Fine-scale habitat associations of a terrestrial salamander: the role of environmental gradients and implications for population dynamics. PLOS ONE, 8 (5), e62184.
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., & Semlitsch, R. D. (2012). Reciprocal subsidies in ponds: Does leaf input increase frog biomass export? Oecologia, 170(4), 1077-1087
Honors & Awards
Selected honors and awards
ASIH Fitch Award for Excellence in Herpetology 2011
AAAS Elected Fellow 2009
National Wetlands Award, Science Research 2008
Aug. 29, 2013
Snapping Turtles Finding Refuge in Urban Areas While Habitats are Being Polluted or Developed
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