My job: Underworld Explorer
Real title: Biodiversity Conservation Biologist, Center for Conservation Education and Sustainability, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
Education: B.S. Environmental Science from FIU; M.S. in Zoology from NCSU; Ph.D. candidate GMU
How I help save sallies: My main goal is to link science, management and education. In my job, I have the opportunity to conduct amphibian related training for undergraduate students, graduate students and professionals. In my spare time, I conduct field research to help bridge science and management. My current research involves studying the endangered Shenandoah salamander (Plethodon shenandoah) in Shenandoah National Park. I am exploring factors that are or may impact its distribution, such as habitat and competition.
Best salamander story: When I was a master’s student, I took it upon myself to learn how to identify Appalachian salamanders, but quickly found it to be a hard task as the salamanders I was catching did not look like the ones in the field guides. In a complete panic, I went to the famous Dr. Jim Petranka at UNCA. He “schooled” me on how to identify salamanders properly and to this day I am in debt to him.