The periodic reporting of good and infamous events happening to the people and things in our lab.

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DeVore and Maerz Ecology cover

Selected Recent Publications of Note

DeVore, J. L. and J. C. Maerz.  2014.  Grass invasion increases top-down pressure on an amphibian via structurally mediated effects on an intraguild predator.  Ecology 97:1724-1730.

Crawford, B. A., J. C. Maerz, N. P. Nibbelink, K. A. Buhlmann, and T. M. Norton.  Estimating the consequences of multiple threats and management strategies for semi-aquatic turtes.  Journal of Applied Ecology 51:359-366.

Crawford, B. A., J. C. Maerz, N. P. Nibbelink, K. A. Buhlmann, T. M. Norton, and S. E. Albeke.  Hot spots and hot moments of diamondback terrapin road-crossing activity.  Journal of Applied Ecology 51:367-375.

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Cohen, J. S., J. C. Maerz, and B. Blossey. 2012.  Traits, not origin, explain impacts of plants on larval amphibians.  Ecological Applications 22:218-222 doi:    

Grosse, A. M., J. C. Maerz, J. A. Hepinstall-Cymerman, and M. E. Dorcas.  2011.  Effects of roads and crabbing pressures on diamondback terrapin populations in coastal Georgia. Journal of Wildlife Management: 75:762-770.

Milanovich J.R., W. E. Peterman, N. P. Nibbelink, and J. C. Maerz.  2010.  Projected Loss of a Salamander Diversity Hotspot as a Consequence of Projected Global Climate Change. PLoS ONE 5(8): e12189. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012189

Maerz, J. C., J. S. Cohen and B. Blossey. 2010.  Does detritus quality predict the effect of native and non-native plants on the performance of larval amphibians?  Freshwater Biology 55:1694-1704.

Sterrett, S. C., L. L. Smith. S. W. Golladay, S. H. Schweitzer, and J. C. Maerz.  2010.  The conservation implications of riparian land use on river turtles.  Animal Conservation 14:38-46.

Maerz, J. C., V. Nuzzo, and B. Blossey.  2009.  Declines in woodland salamander abundance associated with nonnative earthworm and plant invasions.  Conservation Biology 23: 975-981.


Some nice press coverage of lab research

ScienceDaily report on DeVore and Maerz 2014

Jayna DeVore's disseration research was featured in the July issue of Ecology and got some great press in Science Daily (

The Maerz Lab welcomes its newest member

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The Maerz Lab is proud to welcome Heather Abernathy into our group.  Heather received her B.Sc. in Ecology from the Odum School of Ecology and was involved in our lab as an REU at the Coweeta LTER.  She will be jointly appointed with the Hepinstall-Cymerman Landscape Ecology Lab, and will be continuing her work on the Coweeta LTER examining the interactions between climate and land use on the distribution and abundance of birds and salamanders in southern Appalachia. …

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It is with a bit of sadness and a lot of gratitude that we say goodbye to four lab members as they move on to new and better endeavors.

Sean Sterrett completed his Ph.D. in Spring 2014 and is starting a postdoc with the USGS Northeast ARMI Program under the direction of Evan Grant.  After a decade working on turtles, Sean has seen the light and will be working on salamander landscape ecology and public education.  

The Maerz Lab welcomes its newest 2013 members!

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The Maerz Lab is proud to welcome its three newest members, Kira McEntire (Ph.D. student), Jillian Howard (ICON Ph.D. student), and Jenny Asper (M.Sc. student).  While we already miss the many amazing people who have moved on in the past few years, we are very excited to see what these new students bring to the lab.

Albert Mercurio wins Wildlife Disease Association International Conference's Terry Amundson Student Presentation Award

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Congratulations to Albert Mercurio who won this year's Wildlife Disease Association International Conference's Terry Amundson Student Presentation Award. The award is quite prestigious and is given for oral delivery skills, but judged on scientific design, analysis and interpretation. His presentation was titled: "An Experimental Trial Induces Avian Vacuolar Myelinopathy Lesions in Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta)"

We made a frog population!

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We recently delivered another 1000 juvenile gopher frogs to the introduciton site in Early County, GA.  Earlier in the year, our colleague John Jensen made an awesome discovery at the introduction site. For those that don't know, Gopher frogs are rare and declining, and our lab in collaboration with

A new paper from Kristen Cecala

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Lab alumnus, Kristen Cecala, and her collaborators Steven Price and Mike Dorcas have a nice new paper on estimating population parameters for larval stream salamanders. Congrats Kristen.

Theresa Stratmann receives AT&T Student Leadership Award from the Blue Key National Honor Society

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Theresa Stratmann received The AT&T Student Leadership Award. In announcing her award, the speaker noted Theresa's Udall and Goldwater awards, but also highlighted her leadership for the Herpetological Society and its outreach mission.

Sean Sterrett selected for UGA's Emerging Leaders Program

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Congratulations for Sean Sterrett for being selected to UGA's Emerging Leaders Program.

Theresa Stratmann receives outstanding student poster award

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Congratulations to Theresa Stratmann for receiving the Outstanding Student Poster Award at the 2012 Turtle Survival Alliance Meeting.  Theresa presented her work on habitat modeling and population monitoring for bog turtles.

Cyndi Carter receives grant in support of research on Gila monsters

Congratulations to Cyndi Carter on receiving a grant from the Odum School in support of her summer research on Gila monsters and to attend the World Congress of Herpetology.

Theresa Stratmann receives Goldwater and Udall Scholarships

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Today we learned that Theresa Stratmann will receive both the 2012 Udall and Goldwater Scholarships. These are two very prestigious awards. Udall Scholarships are awarded on a national competitive basis to students who have demonstrated commitment to careers related to the environment including policy, engineering, science, education, urban planning and renewal, business, health, justice, economics, and other related fields. …

The Hidden Jewels of Appalachia Documentary highlights importance and threats to Appalachian salamanders

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A documentary by George Mason masters student, Joe Milmoe, titled, “The Hidden Jewels of Appalachia” describes the hidden diversity of Appalachian salamanders and the threats facing the conservation of these remarkable animals.  The documentary features an interview with Dr. Maerz.

The video is available at:

Lab members distinguished at Annual Awards Banquet


Several students in the Maerz Lab were honored at the Warnell School’s 80th Annual Spring Awards Banquet.

Sean Sterrett, Ph.D. Student, received the Stoddard-Burleigh-Sutton Award for Excellence in Wildlife Conservation.

Kristen Cecala, Ph.D. Candidate, received the Martha Love May Memorial Scholarship.

Todd Pierson receives Udall Scholarship

Todd Pierson, an ecology major in the Odum School of Ecology and undergraduate conducting research in the Maerz Lab was awarded an Udall Scholarship.  The Udall Foundation seeks future leaders across a wide spectrum of environmental fields, including policy, engineering, science, education, urban planning and renewal, business, health, justice, and economics.  …

Theresa Stratmann receives a CURO Summer Research Fellowship

Theresa Stratmann, an ecology major in the Odum School of Ecology and an undergraduate conducting research in the Maerz Lab was named a 2011 Summer Research Fellow by the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities (CURO)The Summer Fellowships provide opportunities for intensive, immersive, faculty-guided research experiences for academically talented undergraduates. …

Three Lab undergrads tapped for Blue Key Honors Society


Three undergraduates conducting research in the Maerz Lab were tapped for admission into the Blue Key Honor Society.  Todd Pierson and Theresa Stratmann, both ecology majors in the Odum School of Ecology, and Cassandra Skaggs, a wildlife major in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources all reserved this most deserving distinction. 

News heard around the world: Graduate students make strong showing at 2011 Warnell Symposium


Even in the most remote parts of the world, excitement erupted as word spread around the globe that several graduate students from the Maerz lab had placed highly in the 2011 Warnell Graduate Student Research Symposium.  Even future president Sarah Palin gave a hearty wink and thumbs up at hearing the news.  …

Dr. Maerz receives the 2011 Richard B. Russell Award

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Dr. John Maerz was awarded the 2011 Richard B. Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.  The Richard B. Russell Foundation established the Russell Awards in honor of Georgian and university alumnus Richard B. Russell.  The purpose is to recognize excellence in undergraduate instruction at The University of Georgia by faculty members in their early academic careers. …

Herpetology students in the news


The Athens Banner Herald featured an article on herpetology students from the Herpetological Society at the University of Georgia.  The students were gearing up for a presentation at the Oconee County Library on the natural history of local amphibians.  UGHS students continue to expand their efforts to affect conservation of amphibians and reptiles by improving public literacy, and the organization is a leader among student organizations in public education and outreach.

Sean Sterrett receives the Leavell Scholarship

Sean Sterrett is the 2010 recipient of the Charles A. and Rose Lane Leavell Scholarship from the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources.  The Leavell Scholarship recognizes a graduate student in wildlife ecology and management that have a demonstrated interests and appreciation for all uses and values of natural resources.

Jayna DeVore named a 2010 Warnell Outstanding Teaching Assistant


Jayna DeVore received the 2010 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award from the Warnell School based on her service in Herpetology (WILD/ECOL 4040/6040) and broader contributions to Warnell’s teaching mission including instruction for the South Pacific study abroad courses Field Animal Behavior (BOIL 3720L) and Sustaining Human Societies and the Natural Environment (ECOL/ANTH/FORS 4271).  …

Anna McKee named outstanding TA

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Anna McKee was selected by the Graduate School and the Center for Teaching and Learning to receive the 2010 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award.   For her recognition, Anna has been invited to participate in the University of Georgia’s Future Faculty Program, which is sponsored by the Dean of the Graduate School and coordinated by the Center for Teaching and Learning. …

Dr. Maerz receives 2010 Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring Faculty Award and 2010 Gamma Sigma Delta Achievement in Teaching Award


Dr. John Maerz received the 2010 Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring Faculty Award from the University of Georgia’s Honors Program and Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities.  The award recognizes early career faculty who have demonstrated depth and breadth in their efforts to create and support research opportunities for undergraduates.  …

Discovery of new genus of salamander announced

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Members of the Maerz lab were part of a team lead by Dr. Carlos Camp (Piedmont College) who described a species of salamander from the Appalachian Mountains of North Georgia.  Other investigators include Bill Peterman (Missouri), Trip Lamb (East Carolina University), and David Wake (University of California Berkeley)

Lab part of team to receive NSF funds for study of nutrient inputs on stream food webs

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Dr. Maerz is be Co-PI on a proposal funded by the National Science Foundation to study the effects of patterns of nutrient enrichment on heterotroph production including the extended impacts on larval stream salamander communities.  The lead PI is Dr. Amy Rosemond from UGA’s Odum School of Ecology.  …

Bioblitz generates another publication for herpetology students

The ongoing bioblitz competition between herpetology students at Auburn University and the Herpetological Society at the University of Georgia has yielded another publication, this one to appear in the Southeastern Naturalist.  The paper, which was lead by Auburn’s teen hearthrob Sean Graham, uses data collected as part of the bioblitz of the Pine Mountain/Fall Line Sandhills region of Georgia to identify the region as one of the most species rich areas for reptiles and amphibians in the United States.  …

Andy Davis receives prestigious award

Ph.D. Candidate Andy Davis received the 2009 Burleigh-Stoddard-Sutton Award, which is awarded annually to a graduate student who demonstrates exceptional achievement in wildlife conservation research.


Lab receives funds to model vulnerability of climate change to herps

Dr. Nate Nibbelink and Dr. John Maerz received a grant as part of a mult-state initiative to evaluate vulnerability to climate change for reptiles and amphibians identified as priority species within State Wildlife Action Plans.  The work will be funded through collaboration with Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Lab receives grant from Morris Animal Foundation to study captive rearing of amphibians

Andy Davis and Dr. Maerz received $50k from the Morris Animal Foundation to determine how captive rearing may affect the physiological stress levels of amphibians.  The work has implications both for the results of captive based research and for the development of captive rearing programs for the conservation of threatened species.

Dr. Maerz recognized for teaching excellence


Dr. Maerz received the 2008 Herrick Superior Teaching Award for achievements in the classroom and undergraduate education.


Andy Davis receives Saunders scholarship

Congratulations to Andy Davis for receiving the 2008 Gerald B. and Charlotte Alexander Saunders Scholarship for excellence in graduate research.


Jayna DeVore receives 2008 Stoye Award


Congratulations to Jayna DeVore who received the 2008 Stoye Award from the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists for outstanding student paper at the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists in Montreal.


Lab publication featured in science news

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The recent paper by Davis et al. (2007. Discovery of a novel alveolate pathogen affecting southern leopard frogs in Georgia: description of the disease and host effects. EcoHealth 4:310-317) describing an emerging pathogen of Rana tadpoles was featured in the November 24, 2007 issue of Science News.  …

Andy Davis receives James L. Carmon Honorarium

Congratulations to Andy Davis on receipt of the James L. Carmon honorarium for innovative use of digital technologies in research.