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.
Supervised graduate students:
- Padraic S. Robinson (M.S., Agricultural, Environmental, and Sustainability Sciences, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley [in progress]): Status, distribution, and conservation of Black-spotted Newts in South Texas
- Amy P. Bogolin (M.S., Agricultural, Environmental, and Sustainability Sciences, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley [in progress]): Development and application of a novel suite of field survey methods to inform conservation of the Rio Grande Cooter, Pseudemys gorzugi
- Krista M. Ruppert (M.S., Agricultural, Environmental, and Sustainability Sciences, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley [in progress]): Environmental DNA use for the detection of the Rio Grande Siren and other amphibians of conservation concern
Supervised Undergraduate students:
- Kalie M. Leonard (B.S. Biology, University of South Dakota, 2018): The effects of the neonicotinoid clothianidin on larval Western Tiger Salamanders
- Rachel E. Johannsen (B.S. Biology, University of South Dakota, 2017): Curating and georeferencing vouchers specimens of amphibians and reptiles in South Dakota
- Andrew D. Koch (B.S. Biology, University of South Dakota, 2017): Effects of agricultural contaminants and ranavirus infection on stress hormone levels in Plains Leopard Frogs (Rana blairi)
- Gabrielle A. Maltaverne (B.S. Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, South Dakota State University, 2016): Establishing amphibian and reptile teaching collections at South Dakota State University and Oak Lake Field Station
- Katie J. Ferguson (B.S. Biology, University of South Dakota, 2014): Examining the influence of agricultural tile drainage on water-borne hormone levels of larval Western Tiger Salamanders
- Dominic L. DeSantis (B.S. Wildlife Biology, Texas State University, 2013): Predator avoidance in the Barton Springs Salamander, Eurycea sosorum
- Michael J. Edwards (B.S. Biology, Texas State University, 2012): Mosquitofish predation on Eurycea salamander eggs and larvae