DREW R. DAVIS
Ph.D. Biological Sciences; University of South Dakota – 2018
M.S. Population and Conservation Biology; Texas State University – 2012
B.S. Biology (Ecology, Evolution, Behavior); University of Texas at Austin – 2009
I consider myself lucky to have grown in the country on a farm southeast of Austin, Texas chasing amphibians and reptiles. I attended high school in Bastrop, Texas before pursuing my undergraduate degree at the University of Texas at Austin. While pursuing a B.S. Biology (Ecology, Evolution, Behavior) degree at the University of Texas at Austin, I began to be involved in research projects conducted by both graduate students and faculty and eventually began my own research project on morphological variation in a local salamander, Plethodon albagula. It was during this time that my passion for research developed and it has yet to stop.
After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, I enrolled in the M.S. Population and Conservation Biology Program at Texas State University. There, I conducted laboratory experiments investigating interactions between aquatic Eurycea salamanders and both native and introduced predators. Additionally, I developed a novel assay to measure water-borne hormones in these salamanders that I continue to use today to investigate questions related to stress physiology in amphibians.
In 2012, I moved to Vermillion, South Dakota to pursue a Ph.D. in Biology. There, I worked alongside state and federal agencies to investigate the role of agricultural tile drainage on wetlands and wetland-dependent species. My dissertation work incorporated multiple aspects of this question and includes research on water quality, habitat quality, population abundances, species compositions, stress physiology, and disease prevalence.