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Reptile and Amphibian Conservation Biology

Thomas P. Wilson, Ph.D.

 Dr. Wilson

 

Research Interests

I am passionate about working with students so they can become independent scientists and forward thinkers. I am a broadly trained scientist who holds advanced degrees in Zoology, Environmental Science and Public Policy, and a certification as a Geographic Information Systems Professional (GISP). In short, I am a seasoned field biologist who enjoys the outdoors and excels at solving problems in the field. I am comfortable working with a variety of aquatic and terrestrial taxa. I began my career researching the effects of landscape level changes on free-ranging populations of vertebrates. During this time, I worked with several endangered and threatened (E&T) species from a variety of habitats. Some of these E&T species include Spotted Turtle, Bog Turtle, Wood Turtle, Blanding’s Turtle, Timber Rattlesnake, and Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake. The main focus of this research was tied to demographics, spatial ecology and habitat selection; and, my general interests still lie there today. However, my current research focuses less on E&T species and is more in line with keeping the common species common. Since my arrival at UTC, I have established two long-term studies concerning amphibians and freshwater turtles, and not surprisingly much of this research focuses on population viability and spatial ecology. Specifically, I have designed a series of green-ways to study amphibian landscape dynamics so that managers can make adaptive conservation and management strategies. I accomplished this by blending life-history data with conservation genetics, restoration ecology and GIS. I have always maintained an interest in solving field related problems. My background in classical ecological analyses developed my interest in designing new methods for measuring and monitoring biodiversity, and evaluating the statistical biases associated with sampling vertebrates in various habitats. To this end, I have collaborated with scientists in the public and private sectors in an effort to encourage decision makers to standardize ecological and environmental census techniques. The students working in my laboratory are using descriptive, comparative, and experimental studies to answer questions about the ecology of Ambystomatid salamanders, Hylid frogs, and freshwater turtles at different geospatial scales.

 

Grants/Projects

2014 Boyd, J. (PI), S. Chatzimanolis, H. Klug, J. Shaw, T.P. Wilson (Co-PIs), G.E. Potts and H.G. Spratt. NSF funding awarded to purchase six environment growth chambers for global change research and instruction.

2013 $500 (PI with M.Dillard). Home Range and Habitat Use of Eastern Box Turtles in a Developing Landscape. Tennessee Herpetological Society.

2012 $1,600 (Co-PI with B. Reynolds). Impact of Transformational Leadership, Hands-On Herpetology, and Reflective Journaling on the Conservation Ethic of Tertiary-Level Non-Science Major. UTC Think and Achieve.

2011-2012 $ 50,000 (Co-PI with A. Carroll). Natural History Inventory and Mapping Project of the Tri-State Area surrounding Hamilton County, Tennessee. Lyndhurst Foundation.

2009 $ 65,000 (Co-PI with J. Shaw, A. Carroll, S. Smullen, and H. Spratt) for UTC’s SAIN/NBII strategic plan including: the maintenance of the Southeastern Watershed Forum’s Community Resource Mapper, the development of an electronic database and interactive web mapping server for an herbarium database representing the S.E. United States, and a development of a greenprinting, infrastructure forum and ecosystem analysis plan which includes the characterization and economic benefit of urban ecosystems.

 

Publications

Manis, C., and T.P. Wilson. 2012. Geographic Distribution: Lampropeltis getula (Common Kingsnake). Herpetological Review 43(2): 308.

Manis, C., T.P. Wilson, and J. Patrick. 2012. Geographic Distribution: Trachemys scripta scripta (Yellow Bellied Slider). Herpetological Review 43(2): 304.

Wilson, T. P., C. B. Manis, S. L. Moss, R. M. Minton, Collins, E. and T. M. Wilson. 2012. New distributional records for reptiles from Tennessee, USA. Herpetological Review 43(1):111-112.

Gaudin, T. J., A. N. Miller, J. L. Bramblett, and T. P. Wilson. 2011. Holocene and Late Pleistocene Bat Fossils (Mammalia: Chiroptera) from Hamilton County, TN, and Their Ecological Implications. Southeastern Naturalist 10(4):609-628.

Reynolds, B., and T.P. Wilson. 2011. Conservation in the clouds: Cultural Geography, Environmental Education, and the Asian Turtle Crisis. Education About Asia 16(2): 52-55.

Miller R. J., A.D. Carroll, T.P. Wilson, J. Shaw. 2009. Spatiotemporal Analysis of Three Common Wetland Invasive Plant Species Using Herbarium Specimens and Geographic Information Systems. Castanea 74(2): 133-145.

Moss, S., J. Keller, S. Richards, T.P. Wilson. 2009. Concentrations of persistent organic pollutants in plasma from a riverine turtle assemblage from the Tennessee River Gorge. Chemosphere 76(2):194-204.

 

Technical Reports

Shaw, J., D. Aborn, A. Carroll,M. S. Schorr,H. Spratt, and T. P. Wilson. 2011. UTC-NBII Collaborative Projects Five-Year Review Performance Period, 2005-2010. Final Report.

 

Books/Book Chapters

Akre, T. S. B., J. D. Willson, and T. P. Wilson. 2012. Alternative methods for sampling freshwater turtles and squamates. In Ch 11, Techniques for Reptiles in Difficult to Sample Habitats, Reptile Biodiversity: Standard Methods for Inventory and Monitoring, edited by Roy W. McDiarmid, Mercedes S. Foster, Craig Guyer, J. Whitfield Gibbons, and Neil Chernoff. The Regents of the University of California.

Wilson, T.P., and T.S.B. Akre. 2012. Published three line drawings (pgs. 188, 190, and 191) for use as illustrations in Alternative methods for sampling freshwater turtles and squamates. In Ch 11, Techniques for Reptiles in Difficult to Sample Habitats, Reptile Biodiversity: Standard Methods for Inventory and Monitoring,edited by Roy W. McDiarmid, Mercedes S. Foster, Craig Guyer, J. Whitfield Gibbons, and Neil Chernoff. The Regents of the University of California.

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