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Kurt J. Regester

Vertebrate Ecologist

Assistant Professor


B.S. Biology, Clarion University

M.S. Biology, Middle Tennessee State University

Ph.D. Zoology, Southern Illinois University


(W): 814-393-1636      


Office: 267 STC



Professional Associations

Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles

American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists

Herpetologists League

National Audubon Society: Seneca Rocks Chapter Member

The Wildlife Society: Pennsylvania Chapter Member

Course taught

BIOL 166 Principles of Biology Lab

BIOL 258 Anatomy and Physiology Lab

BIOL 305 General Zoology

BIOL 411 / 511 Wildlife Ecology and Management

BIOL 428 / 528 Ornithology

BIOL 494 / 594 Population Biology

BIOL 500 Graduate Seminar

Research Interests

 Quantifying ecological roles of amphibians is important in light of global declines in biodiversity. Amphibians are among the most imperiled organisms, with ~33% of the 6,000 species threatened with extinction. The ecological consequences of this massive loss of biodiversity have rarely been studied, yet these losses are expected to have large-scale and long-lasting effects on all ecosystems in which they occur. To assess the ecological importance of amphibians, I have been investigating how hydroperiod, community composition, and population interactions influence energy and material fluxes associated with their complex life cycles. Using pond-breeding salamanders as a focal group, I recently quantified energy flow and aquatic-terrestrial food web interactions between ponds and adjacent forest habitats. This research suggests that the loss of amphibians will greatly affect certain aspects of ecosystem function and structure, that the global loss of amphibians is likely impacting many other species and habitats. Quantifying ecological roles of amphibians furthers our understanding of the consequences of population losses and is relevant to conservation of biodiversity, protection of water quality, and management of adjacent terrestrial habitats. Students with interests in vertebrate ecology (particularly field work involving amphibians, birds, or mammals) should feel free to discuss their interests with me or ask about current opportunities for field experience and independent projects.  

Recent Publications

Whiles M.R., M.I. Gladyshev, N.N. Sushchik, O.N. Makhutova, G.S. Kalachova, S.D. Peterson, and K.J. Regester.  (In press).  Fatty acid analyses reveal high degrees of omnivory and dietary plasticity in pond-dwelling tadpoles.  Freshwater Biology.

Regester, K.J., M.R. Whiles, and K.R. Lips.  2008.  Variation in the trophic basis of production and energy flow associated with emergence of larval salamander assemblages from forest ponds.  Freshwater Biology 53:1754-1767.

Regester, K.J. and M.R. Whiles (2006) Decomposition rates of spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) life stages and associated energy and nutrient fluxes in ponds and adjacent forest in southern Illinois. Copeia 2006:640-649.  

Regester, K.J., K.R. Lips, and M.R. Whiles (2006) Energy flow and subsidies associated with the complex life cycle of ambystomatid salamanders in ponds and adjacent forest in southern Illinois. Oecologia 147:303-314.

Regester, K.J. and L.B. Woosley (2005) Marking salamander egg masses with Visible Florescent Elastomer: retention time and effect on embryonic development. American Midland Naturalist 153:52-60.

Regester, K.J. (2001) Intradermal mite, Hannemaina sp. (Acarina: Trombiculidae), infestations differ in populations of syntopic plethodontids in central Tennessee. Herpetological Natural History 8:69-73.

Regester, K.J. (2000) Plethodon richmondi.  Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. pp. 707.1 -707.3.

Regester, K.J. (2000) Plethodon electromorphus. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. pp. 706.1-706.3.