About Dr. John C. Maerz

The official stuff

I am the Carey Distinguished Professor of Natural Resources and a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor of Vertebrate Ecology in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia. I am affiliated faculty with the Center for Integrative Conservation’s ICON Ph.D. Program and adjunct faculty in the Odum School of Ecology. My research focuses on the effects of terrestrial and aquatic environmental change, particularly the effects of nonnative species invasions, land use, and climate on the ecology of amphibians and reptiles and other wildlife; how variation in the abundances of animals affects terrestrial and freshwater ecosystem processes; and applying ecological and evolutionary principles to develop knowledge and tools to effectively manage herpetofauna and other wildlife. I was a Co-PI and member of the Science Advisory Committee for the former Coweeta LTER, and I was an Associate Editor for the Journal of Wildlife Management for 13 years (2008-2020). I chair the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Pre-College Scholarship Committee and new Student Chapters Program, and I am the faculty advisor to the University of Georgia Herpetological Society.

Click here to see a list of publications via Google Scholar.


Click here to follow me via Research Gate.

Teaching and Mentoring

Annually, I teach undergraduate courses on Animal Behavior (in Athens, GA and in New Zealand, and Australia), Herpetology, and Sustaining Human Societies and the Natural Environment (in New Zealand and Australia). I also teach a freshman odyssey seminar on the application of science to decision-marking around "wicked problems", and I teach a doctoral course in Developing University Teaching Skills. Outside the classroom, I have mentored over 80 undergraduate and 30 graduate students in research. I am the former chair of the University of Georgia’s Curriculum Committee and current chair of the Experiential Learning Subcommittee. 


In 2010, I received the UGA Early Career Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award, in 2011 I received UGA's Richard B. Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, in 2015 I was inducted into the University of Georgia Teaching Academy, and in 2017 I received the Meritorious Teaching Award in Herpetology jointly awarded by the Herpetologist’s League, the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, and the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists and I was named Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor. In 2021, I received the Lamar Dodd Creative Research Award and was named the Carey Dennis and Sara Carey Distinguished Research Professor in Natural Resources. I also serve as the faculty advisor to the University of Georgia Ice Hockey Team. Go Ice Dawgs! 

For more on my research, click here.


For more on my instruction and mentoring including a course list, click here.

The good stuff

I am a husband to a potent woman, father to three wonderful sons, the oldest brother to four siblings, and the servant to one dog. I spend as much time as I can  outdoors (running, hiking, fly fishing), traveling, watching live music, cooking, drawing, and - sometimes - learning to play the guitar.


I have four more bones than the average human.  More detail than that costs.


The best decision I ever made was not giving up when I did not get into graduate school the first year I applied, and the worst decision I ever made was eating calamari at a truck stop in rural western Pennsylvania.


The worst thing anyone ever called me...to my face...was unqualified.  I was.


The best thing anyone has ever called me is "dad".