Research

My research program synthesizes topics from three different research fields – ecology, evolution, and wildlife management. Simply put, I develop and test hypotheses about the way nature works, and then I apply these models in ways to sustainably conserve both organisms and ecosystems. Below I quickly outline relevant areas of my research, but I also include links to more detailed descriptions on my ResearchGate profile and to resulting publications! Also, check out my fieldwork page for a map of study sites, pictures, and videos from field trips!

Quantitative population ecology and conservation of endangered reptiles

I have engaged in demographic studies of large and imperiled reptiles that are currently listed or being petitioned for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). These studies use field studies to understand the factors influencing demographic processes within species, and mathematical modeling processes to make smart decisions for how to conserve them. Project description

  • Demography and conservation of the Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys temminckiiPDF
  • Modeling reintroduction scenarios and successes for the federally-threatened Eastern Indigo Snakes (Drymarchon couperi) in Alabama and Florida (in review)
  • Population viability analysis of Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) (in prep)

Population ecology in Neotropical rain forests

For my dissertation, I tested and integrated three hypotheses describing bottom-up, top-down, and parallel population regulation of a model frog and lizard assemblage at La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica. Project description

  • Bottom-up regulation of frogs and lizards (the litter-mosaic hypothesis)
  • Interactive effects of predators and resources on prey frogs and lizards (mainland-island model of anole population regulation) PDF
  • Conspecific attraction of poison frogs in tropical forests  PDF
  • Habitat-driven community assembly of glassfrogs PDF

Historical biogeography and systematics

I am also active in projects which develop and test hypotheses in phylogeography, historical biogeography, and systematics of amphibians and reptiles — while keeping a keen interest in how these patterns and processes influence conservation strategies. Project description

  • Systematics and conservation of Eastern Indigo Snakes (Drymarchon couperi) PDF
  • Hybridization of Map Turtles (Graptemys sps.)  PDF1 PDF2
  • Phylogenomics of plethodontid salamanders PDF
  • Systematics of Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys temminckiiPDF

Transparent Science

I believe in the value of transparency in the scientific method. To this end, I deposit my data, analyses, and model code into open-source online data repositories, such as Dryad and FigShare, and GitHub. My GitHub profile is brianf0lt.