David Marsh Professor of Biology

David Marsh

Parmly 320
Website - Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D.  Population Biology, University of California, Davis, 2000
B.A.  Biology, University of Virginia, 1993


Effects of Climate Change on Endemic Mountaintop Salamanders
Virginia is home to several endemic salamanders that are restricted to tiny ranges on one or several mountaintops. My lab is studying several of these species in order to determine their biogeographic origins and their likely responses to climate change. With Big Levels Salamanders (just described in 2004!), we are examining habitat specificity, the possibility of local adaptation to soil conditions, and what happens where their range meets the range of common Red-Back Salamanders. With Peaks of Otter Salamanders, we are studying the factors that determine range limits and using genetic methods to examine their population history. 

Amphibian and Reptile Distributions in Urban Parks
Amphibians and reptiles can be surprisingly abundant in some urban parks but are almost completely absent from others. Using citizen science data, we are working to understand patterns of diversity in parks in the northeastern U.S. We are asking questions such as: How well can herp species richness be predicted from park characteristics? How does connectivity and land use influence herp richness in parks? What are the characteristics of species that predict whether or not they will be abundant in urban parks? 

Population Dynamics of Terrestrial Salamanders
Although terrestrial salamanders are among the most common vertebrates in eastern forests, their fossorial lifestyle means that little is known about their life history. We are using mark-recapture and associated methods to investigate seasonal dynamics, size-dependent mortality and reproduction, and the costs and benefits of dispersal. We are then using this information to parameterize population models for terrestrial salamanders.


Disease Ecology (BIOL 111)

Field Herpetology (BIOL 242)

Animal Behavior (BIOL 243)

Statistics for Biology and Medicine (BIOL 201)

Modern Computational Biostatistics (BIOL 398)

Selected Publications

*indicates W&L students

(see linked website for pdf's)

Page, R.B., Conarroe, C.*, Quintanilla, D., Palomo, A., Solis, J., Aguilar, A., Bezold, K., Sackman, A.M. and Marsh, D.M., 2020. Genetic variation in Plethodon cinereus and Plethodon hubrichti from in and around a contact zone. Ecology and Evolution, online early. 

Marsh, D. M., Caffio-Learner, A.*, Daccache, A. M.*, Dewing, M. B.*, McCreary, K. L.*, Richendollar, N. J.*, & Skinner, F. P.*  2020. Range limits and demography of a mountaintop endemic salamander and its widespread competitor. Copeia, 108: 358-368.

Marsh, D. M., Townes, F. W.*, Cotter, K. M.*, Farroni, K.*, McCreary, K. L.*, Petry, R. L.*, and Tilghman, J. M.*  2019. Thermal preference and species range in mountaintop salamanders and their widespread competitors. Journal of Herpetology, 53: 96-103.

Marsh, D. M., and Cosentino, B. J. 2019. Causes and consequences of non-random drop-outs for citizen science projects: lessons from the North American amphibian monitoring program. Freshwater Science, 38: 292-302.

Marsh, D. M., Cosentino, B. J., Jones, K. S. et al. 2017. Effects of roads and land use on frog distributions across spatial scales and regions in the Eastern and Central United States. Diversity and Distributions, 23, 158-170.

Marsh, D. M., & Jaeger, J. A. G.  2015. Direct effects of roads on small animal populations. Roads and ecological infrastructure. Concepts and applications for small animals. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 42-56.

Cosentino, B. J., Marsh, D. M., Jones, K. S., et al. 2014. Citizen science reveals widespread negative effects of roads on amphibian distributions. Biological Conservation, 180, 31-38.

Hoopes, M.F., Marsh, D.M., Beard, K.H. et al. 2013. Invasive Plants in Wildlife Refuges: Coordinated Research with Undergraduate Ecology Courses. BioScience 63: 644-656.

Tilghman, J.M.*, Ramee, S.W.* and D. M. Marsh. 2012. Meta-analysis of the effects of canopy removal on terrestrial salamander populations in North America. Biological Conservation 152: 1-9.

Bayer, C.O*., Sackman, A.S.*, Bezold, K., Cabe, P.R., and Marsh, D.M. 2012. Conservation genetics of a mountaintop salamander with an extremely limited range. Conservation Genetics 13: 443-454.

Schieltz, J.L*., Haywood, L.M*, and Marsh, D.M. 2010. Effects of cover object distribution on the socioecology of a terrestrial salamander. Herpetologica 66: 276-282.

Marsh, D.M. 2009. Evaluating methods for sampling stream salamanders across multiple observers and habitat types. Applied Herpetology 6: 211-226.

Marsh, D.M., and Trenham, P.C. 2008. Current trends in monitoring programs for animal and plant populations. Conservation Biology 22: 647-655.

Marsh, D.M., Page, R.B., Hanlon, T.J., Corritone, R*., Little, E.E.*, Seifert, D.E.*, and Cabe, P.R. 2008. Effects of roads on patterns of genetic differentiation in red-backed salamanders, Plethodon cinereus. Conservation Genetics 9: 603-613.

Marsh, D.M. and Hanlon, T.J. 2007. Seeing what we want to see: confirmation bias in animal behavior research. Ethology 113: 1089-1098.

Cabe, P.R., Page, R.B., Hanlon, T.J., Aldrich, M.E.*, Connors, L., and D. M. Marsh. 2007. Fine-scale genetic population structure and gene flow in a terrestrial salamander living in continuous habitat. Heredity 98: 53-60.

Marsh, D.M. 2007. Edge effects of gated and ungated forest roads on terrestrial salamanders. Journal of Wildlife Management 71: 389-394.

Marsh, D. M., Milam. G. S.*, Gorham, N. P.*, and N. G. Beckman*. 2005. Forest roads as partial barriers to terrestrial salamander movement. Conservation Biology 19: 2004-2008.

Adams, V. M.*, Marsh, D. M., and J. S. Knox. 2005. Importance of the seed bank for population viability and population monitoring in a threatened wetland herb. Biological Conservation 124: 425-436.

Marsh, D. M. and Hanlon, T. J. 2004. Observer gender and observation bias in animal behaviour research: experimental tests with red-backed salamanders. Animal Behaviour 68:1425-1433.

Marsh, D. M., Thakur, K. A.*, Bulka, K. C.*, and L. B. Clarke*. 2004. Dispersal and colonization through open fields by a terrestrial woodland salamander. Ecology 85: 3396-3405.

Marsh, D. M. and Beckman, N. G.* 2004. Effects of forest roads on the abundance and activity of terrestrial salamanders in the Southern Appalachians. Ecological Applications 14:1882-1891.