Our lab is composed of people with diverse interests, perspectives, and experiences. We come from Maryland [the good ones do], California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Oregon, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Nova Scotia.  We are a close knit group all up in each other’s business, and our diverse interests fosters a highly collaborative and productive environment.

Dr. John C. Maerz
Carey Distinguished Professor of Natural Resources & Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor

John Maerz is the Carey Distinguished Research Professor and a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor of Vertebrate Ecology in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources . He is affiliated with the Center for Integrative Conservation Research Integrative Conservation Ph.D. Program (ICON). He joined the UGA faculty in 2005. He teaches undergraduate courses in Animal Behavior, Herpetology, Natural Sciences Research, Sustaining Human Societies and the Natural Environment (in New Zealand and Australia), and a doctoral course in Developing University Teaching Skills.


Read more about Dr. Maerz...

Vanessa Kinney Terrell
Research Coordinator II

Vanessa Terrell is the joint Research Coordinator for the Maerz and Castleberry Labs within the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources.  Vanessa is a graduate of UGA and worked in the lab for 1 year on projects including our work on invasive plant impacts on amphibians, the status of the southern dusky salamander, and the effects of residential development on stream salamander communities. She received her masters degree from Indiana State University where she studyied crawfish frog ecology and management with Dr. Michael Lannoo.  In addition to coordinating most lab research, Vanessa supervises our gopher frog ecology and introduction project.

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Shelby Bauer
M.Sc. Student

Shelby is an M.Sc. student in Integrated Conservation and Sustainability through the Odum School of Ecology. She is co-advised by Dr. John Maerz and Dr. Seth Wenger.  Shelby received her B.Sc. in Zoology from Oregon State University in 2015 and has since worked as a field technician, researching and monitoring amphibians for various academic universities, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the US Geologic Survey’s Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI). 

Photo credit, Brome McCreary

Danielle Bradke
Ph.D. Student

Danielle is a Ph.D. student in wildlife ecology and management. She received her B.Sc. in Natural Resources Management and M.Sc. in Biology from Grand Valley State University where she studied massasauga population ecology. Danielle is interested in quantitative population ecology and demography from local to range-wide scales. For her dissertation research, Danielle is developing an integrative population model for Diamondback terrapins to facilitate state-wide monitoring and modeling long-term data to determine how sensitive current monitoring approaches are to detect the effectiveness of bycatch reduction efforts. Danielle is also exploring ways to use genetic tools to estimate  terrapin dispersal probabilities and rescue effects among tidal.

Allie Brown
M.Sc. Student

Ally is an M.Sc. student in wildlife ecology and management. She received her B.Sc. in Environmental Biology-Zoology with a minor in Geographic Information Science from Michigan State University in 2020. Her undergraduate research examined the function of infanticide in spotted hyenas as well as plant-pollinator interactions in restored prairies. Ally is interested in the impacts of ecological restoration and habitat management on nontarget faunal species. For her thesis research, she will be studying the impact of longleaf pine restoration on snake communities.

Cyndi Carter
Ph.D. Student

Cyndi is a Ph.D. student studying the evolutionary ecology of salamanders in relation to climate. Specifically, she is developing a genetic index of hybridization for two salamander species, exploring relationships among behavioral, morphological, and physiological phenotypes within a hybrid zone, and how evolutionary dynamics between the two species are linked to climate. This work adds an exciting evolutionary component to our long-term work on climate effect on salamander population dynamics.


Cyndi received her B.Sc. in Ecology from UGA in 2013 and her masters from Eastern Illinois University in 2015. Cyndi's undergraduate research examined long-term changes in snake communities in the southwestern U.S. and she dabbled in some road ecology of Gila monsters. Her masters research used stable isotopes to study prey use ontogeny and overlap among species of aquatic snakes.

Mary Lou Hoffacker
MNR Student

Mary Lou is a new M.N.R. graduate student and Georgia native. She received her B.S. in Ecology and Biodiversity from Sewanee: The University of the South where she studied the effects of climate change on Appalachian stream salamanders with lab alum Dr. Kristen Cecala. Mary Lou has worked in the non-profit, state, volunteer, and federal environmental industries and currently works full time as an Environmental Consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton. She is looking forward to discussing today's environmental issues and learning about new ways to incorporate today's ecological research and climate change information directly into her work.

Abigail Krogh
MNR Student

Abigail is an M.N.R student from Hoschton, GA. She received her B.S. in Criminal Justice from UGA in 2018 and currently works in law enforcement. She is interested in conservation efforts of native GA snake species and working with law enforcement to curb illicit trading of reptiles within the US and overseas. Her research interests include reptile ecology, behavior, diseases, and their environmental stressors. She is also contributed to extension and outreach in GA and getting local communities excited about Georgia's native reptiles and amphibians.

Kevin Hutcheson
BSFR Student - Fisheries and Wildlife

Kevin is a Fisheries and Wildlife. major and recent past president of the UGA Herpetological Society. Kevin is an avid naturalist and photographer and a true salamander lover. For his senior thesis, Kevin is studying the genetics and ecology of a population of Blackbelly salamanders (Desmognathus quadramaculatus) that he discovered in a local park in Clarke County, GA. This is almost certainly an introduced population resulting from the use of these salamanders as bait. Kevin is determining the likely origin of the population, their current abundance, and how their diets and interactions with native salamanders compares to the species's habits in its native range.

Seamus O'Brien
BSFR Student - Fisheries and Wildlife

Seamus is a Fisheries and Wildlife major and current officer in the Herpetological Society. Seamus studied abroad in Ireland before coming to UGA and joining Warnell. For his senior thesis research, Seamus is studying the ecology  of our local stinkpot (Sternotheruus odorous) populations. Seamus also dedicates significant time to helping with lab research and providing care for our outreach collection.

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Anuja Mital
Ph.D. Student, ICON PhD Program

Anuja Mital is a Ph.D. student through the Integrated Conservation (ICON) program, and is co-supervised by John Maerz and Krista Capps. She completed a Masters in Wildlife Biology in 2016 in India studying the community ecology and resource partitioning of freshwater turtles in the Ganges river basin. She has also documented freshwater turtle populations across the Brahmaputra river in NE India. Her interests include population ecology of aquatic reptiles, the hydrology and flooding of large rivers, and freshwater habitat management alongside conservation education and outreach. She is also the co-founder of 'Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises of India', a citizen-science initiative to increase awareness and research on this taxa in India.

Corrie Navis
Ph.D. Candidate, ICON

Corrie is a PhD student in the Integrative Conservation (ICON) Ph.D. program through the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. She received her M.S. in Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology from Eastern Michigan University, and has conducted research on a wide range of taxa, from birds to rodents to herpetofauna. Her research interests include urban ecology, animal behavior, and physiological responses to environmental stressors. She is also known to get very excited about outreach and science communication. For her dissertation research, Corrie is studying the demography of striped newts and developing strategies for augmentation and restoration of populations.

Sam Robinson
BSFR Student - Fisheries and Wildlife

Sam is majoring in Fisheries and Wildlife. During his time at the University of Georgia he has studied both herpetology and ornithology. Sam has a strong interest in conservation practices and community ecology. Sam has assisted with several projects including our ongoing Coweeta Plethodontid research, and our Gopher frog restoration project. For his senior thesis, Sam is analyzing audio recordings to evaluate changes amphibian occupancy associate with wetland restoration efforts at a managed area in GA.

Max Seldes
BSFR Student - Fisheries and Wildlife

Max is a Fisheries and Wildlife major and current president of the University of Georgia Herpetological Society. For his senior thesis research, Max is working on resolving the taxonomy of Desmognathus in the Georgia Piedmont. Max is also volunteering with wildlife surveys in Peru as part of his interest in herpetology and wildlife conservation. Max is also an avid photographer.

See the many amazing people that have journeyed through our lab over the years.

Someone should read them.

So you think you want to go to grad school?