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. 

Urban Ecology of Reptiles and Amphibians
Using citizen science data, we are working to understand distributions and patterns of species richness of herps in and cities in North America. We are asking questions such as: How well can herp species richness in urban parks be predicted from characteristics of parks and the cities they are in? What kinds of species disappear or become rare along a gradient from more rural to more urban areas? In addition, we are working on methods for identifying and correcting biases in citizen science data due to people's decisions about where to search and what species to record in their perambulations. 

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.


Statistics for Biology and Medicine (BIOL 201)

Modern Computational Biostatistics (BIOL 398)

Disease Ecology (BIOL 111)

Field Herpetology (BIOL 242)

Animal Behavior (BIOL 243)

Selected Publications

*indicates W&L students

(see linked website for pdf's)

Marsh, D. M., Medina, J.*, & Wilkinson, B.* 2024. Predicting amphibian and reptile distributions and species richness across urban parks in the eastern United States. Urban Ecosystems, 27, 125-145.

Marsh, D. M., Finnegan, T.*, Kinney, I.*, Smith, S.*, & Stern, C. R.* 2023. Changes in reptile and amphibian communities across urbanization gradients in eastern North America. Global Ecology and Conservation, 48, e02734.

Moosman Jr, P. R., Marsh, D.M., Pody, E. K., and Brust, T. J. 2023. Differential selection of roosts by Eastern Small-footed Myotis (Myotis leibii) relative to rock structure and microclimate. Journal of Mammalogy.

Ryan, I.Q.*, Barham, W.G.*, and Marsh, D.M. 2021. Using Digital Photography to Quantify Foraging Intake in Translucent Salamanders. Herpetological Review 52: 279-284.

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, 10, 9948-9967. 

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.