Dr. David Puthoff

Biology Faculty David Puthoff

Associate Professor
Department Chair

Compton Science Center 212


Ph.D. University of California, Riverside
B.S. The Ohio State University

    • Additional Information
      Courses Taught:

      General Biology, Plant Physiology, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology

      Research Projects Highlights:

      My area of research focuses on plant interactions with their pathogens with an especial focus on the interactions with insect pests. In addition, studies on insect pest prevalence and abundance, along with population genetic analysis will help provide the best strategies for pest elimination. By conducting studies that examine plant gene expression changes I hope to not only elucidate signaling mechanisms used by plants during defense reactions but also to identify genes to be used to in protecting plants from the stresses of pathogen attacks. These genes may come from wild relatives or other species. One specific plant pest that is of interest is whiteflies. These phloem feeding insects remove photoassimilates along with vectoring viruses. The long term goal of experiments will be to breed and create plant germplasm that is resistant to or tolerant of these devastating pests.

       Selected Recent Publications:

      *DeCapite, A., *Lancaster, T. and Puthoff, D.P. (2016). Salicylic acid treatment increases the levels of triterpene glycosides in Black cohossh (Actaea racemosa) rhizomes.  Journal of Chemical Ecology 42:13-16.

      Vickers, A., Brosi, S.L., Howell, J., Kaur, B., Puthoff, D.P. and Eisenstein, E. (2015) Ecological and Chemotypic Analysis for Improved Growth and Management of Naturally Occurring Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa L.) Populations in Western Maryland.  American Journal of Plant Sciences  6:3272-3281.

      Lennon, K.A. and Puthoff, D.P. (2013). Take-home active learning exercises may result in learning gains equivalent to in-class active learning, with both superior to traditional, low- structured lecture in Introductory Biology. J. Microbiology and Bio. Education DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v14i1.588

      *Bowman, M. and Puthoff, D.P (2012) 3 sequences from Brassica rapa were published to GenBank Accession numbers: JX000229.1, JX000230.1, JX000231.1

      Puthoff, D.P., Holzer, F., Perring, T. and Walling, L.L. (2010). Tomato Pathogenesis-related Protein Genes are Expressed in Response to Trialeurodes vaporariorum and Bemisia tabaci Biotype B Feeding. J. Chemical Ecology 36(11):1271-85.

      Puthoff, D.P., Neelam, A., Ehrenfried, M.L., Scheffler, B.E., Ballard, L., Song, Q., Campbell, K.B., Cooper, B., and Tucker, M.T. (2008). Analysis of expressed sequence tags from Uromyces appendiculatus hyphae and haustoria and their comparison to sequences from other rust fungi. Mycology. 98(10):1126-1135.

      Smigocki, A., Ivic-Haymes, S., Puthoff, D.P. and Zuzga, S. (2008). Recent advances in functional genomics for sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) improvement: progress in determining the role of BvSTI in pest resistance in roots. Sugar Tech 10(1): 91-98.

      Puthoff, D.P., Ehrenfried, M.L., Vinyard, B.T. and Tucker, M.L. (2007). GeneChip profiling of transcriptional responses to soybean cyst nematode, Heterodera glycines, colonization of soybean roots J. Exp. Bot. 58(12): 3407-3418.

      *denotes undergraduate researcher

       Selected Recent Presentations:

      2013. Poster. Lennon, K.A. and Puthoff, D.P. Take-home active learning exercises may result in learning gains equivalent to in-class active learning, with both superior to traditional, low- structured lecture in Introductory Biology. American Society for Microbiology – Conference for Undergraduate Education, Denver, CO.

      2012. Poster. *Bowman, M. and Puthoff, D.P. Candidate gene for Anthocyaninless (anl) of Brassica rapa. Mid-Atlantic Plant Molecular Biology Society. Laurel, MD

      2011. Poster. *DeCapite, A., *Lancaster, T. and Puthoff, D. Elucidation of terpenoid medicinal compound levels in Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa) rhizomes in response to plant defense signaling molecules. Mid-Atlantic Plant Molecular Biology Society. Laurel, MD

      2011. Poster. Vickers, A., Brosi, S., Howell, J. and Puthoff, D. Quantification of medicinal copoinds in vegetative and reproductive Actaea racemosa. American Society of Plant Biologists, Minneapolis, MN

      2010. Poster. *Lancaster, T. and Puthoff, D.P. Methods for Increasing Levels of Terpenoid Active Ingredient(s) in Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa) and Elucidation of Their Role in Plant Defense. Mid-Atlantic Plant Molecular Biology Society. Laurel, MD

      Selected Professional Memberships:

      American Society of Plant Biologists, International Society of Molecular Plant Microbe Interactions, Mid-Atlantic Plant Molecular Biology Society


Dr. Sunshine Brosi

Biology Faculty Sunshine Brosi

Associate Professor
Ethnobotany Program Coordinator

Compton Science Center 205


Ph.D. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
M.S. The University of Kentucky
B.A. Warren Wilson College

    • Additional Information
      Courses Taught:

      Introduction to Ethnobotany, Dendrology, Plant Taxonomy, Plant Ecology, Forest Ecology and Conservation, Economic Botany, Ethnographic Field Techniques, Research Methods in the Biological Sciences, Forestry Field Practices, & Field Experiences in Ethnobotany

       Research Interest:

      Ethnobotany education, Appalachian ethnobotany, Alaska ethnobotany, forestry, and non-timber forest products. Cultural keystone species including rare, threatened and endangered trees & plants. Forestry impacts of exotic forest pests and pathogens.

      Currlculum Vita


Dr. Franklin Hughes

Biology Faculty Franklin Hughes

Assistant Professor

Compton Science Center 313


D.C. (Doctor of Chiropractic) Magna Cum Laude - Palmer College of Chiropractic
B.A. Chemistry - West Virginia University


Dr. Karen Keller

Biology Faculty Karen Keller

Associate Professor

Compton Science Center 304


Ph.D. Physiology, University of Georgia, College of   Veterinary Medicine, 1999
M.S. Biological Sciences, Frostburg State University, 1992
B.A. Biological Sciences, Frostburg State University, 1989

    • Additional Information
      Courses Taught:

      Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, Histology,
      General Parasitology

       Research Projects Highlight:

      Dr. Keller’s research interests include histological sectioning and immunohistochemical staining and analysis of animal tissues. Undergraduate research projects have focused on the presence of various neurotransmitters and neurotransmitter receptors in frog, rat, and mouse tissues. In addition, Dr. Keller also conducts graduate and undergraduate research projects involved in the identification of parasites from local mammal populations. Recent projects have included analyses of field mice and other small animal parasite loads and the collection of ticks for identification of tickborne diseases.

      Selected Recent Publications:

      Human Anatomy & Physiology, 1st Edition, by Erin C. Amerman, Pearson Higher Education, 2016. (Contributed Chapters 26 and 27).

      Human Anatomy & Physiology Laboratory Manual, Cat Version, 1st Edition, by Catharine C. Whiting, Pearson Higher Education, 2016. (Contributing Author).

      Keller, K.L, R.S. Fritz, C.M. Zoubek, E.H. Kennedy, K.A. Cronin, E.S. Rothwell, and T.L. Serfass. 2014. Effects of transport on fecal glucocorticoid levels in captive-bred cotton-top tamarins (Sanguinus oedipus), Journal of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science. 87(3):1-5.

      Clites, G.A. and K.L. Keller. 2012. Immunohistochemistry of the vasopressin receptor AVPR V2 in rat brain. Journal of Student Research 1(1):39-40.

      Raley, A., R. Price, W. Seddon, and K. Keller. 2012. Gastrointestinal parasites in road-killed raccoons and opossums in Western Maryland. Journal of Student Research 1(3):29-30.

      Selected Awards and Honors:

      Excellence in Teaching Award from Student Members of The National Society of Leadership and Success, Sigma Alphi Pi in May 2012.

      Selected Professional Memberships:

      American Association of Anatomists (AAA) Human Anatomy and Physiology Society (HAPS) American Society of Parasitologists (ASP) National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions (NAAHP) Northeast Association of Advisors for the Health Professions (NEAAHP)

      Additional Information:

      Dr. Keller is Chair of the Health Professions Advisory Council at FSU


Dr. Thomas Lambert

Biology Faculty Tom Lambert

Associate Professor
Wildlife & Fisheries, and Interpretive Biology & Natural History Program Coordinator

Compton Science Center 211


Ph.D. 2004. Forestry, University of Toronto. Dissertation Title: “Small mammals of the southeastern Amazon and the ecological consequences of selective logging.” Supervisors: Jay R. Malcolm & Barbara L. Zimmerman.
M.S. 1999. Zoology, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Thesis Title “Effects of forest Fragmentation on Rodent Community Structure.” Supervisor: Gregory H. Adler.
B.S. 1995. Zoology, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

    • Additional Information

      I have a B.S. & a M.S. in Zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, I received my Ph.D. in 2004 from the University of Toronto. Since completing my Ph.D. I was a post-doc with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, a postdoctoral teaching & research associate at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and a teaching fellow at the University of Virginia's College at Wise. Since 2008 I have been an assistant professor of biology here at Frostburg State University.

      Courses Taught:

      Throughout my career I have taught a wide range of courses ranging from introductory biology to field ecology to graduate level statistical analysis classes. Currently the main courses I teach are Mammalogy, Animal Behavior and non-majors introductory biology.

      Research Project Highlights:

      My research has largely focused on small mammal ecology. Specifically how anthropogenic changes in habitat structure impact small mammal community structure and in turn how changes in small mammal community structure can impact overall biodiversity through changes in seed predation and seed dispersal. Largely these projects have been conducted in the Tropics, with past research being done in Panama, Venezuela & Brazil. However my interests are not limited to the tropics and I am activity seeking to conduct more research in temperate regions. Additionally I am not only interested in small mammals but have recently begun several projects looking at deer browsing and the potential impacts of coyotes on deer populations.

      Academic Training:

      Introduction to Ethnobotany, Dendrology, Plant Taxonomy, Plant Ecology, Forest Ecology and Conservation, Economic Botany, Ethnographic Field Techniques, Research Methods in the Biological Sciences, Forestry Field Practices, & Field Experiences in Ethnobotany



Dr. Daniel Hocking

Biology Faculty Daniel Hocking

Assistant Professor

Compton Science Center 309


Ph.D. Natural Resources and Environmental Science, University of New Hampshire
M.A. Biological Sciences, University of Missouri
B.S. Environmental Science, University of New Hampshire

    • Additional Information
      Courses Taught:

      General Ecology, Herpetology, Quantitative Analysis of Vertebrate Populations

      Research Project Highlights:

      Statistical advances for modeling populations (mixed models, estimating equations, hierarchical state-space models using Bayesian inference, and integrated population models);

      Faunal response to land use (forestry, urbanization, disturbance) and climate change (range shifts, population viability, community structure) at varying spatial scales;

      Habitat restoration, creation, and mitigation techniques for successful fish and wildlife population maintenance, enhancement, and reintroduction

      Risk tolerance, value of information, and communicating uncertainty for natural resource management decisions.

      Selected Recent Publications:

      Stephens, R.B., D.J. Hocking, M. Yamasaki, and R.J. Rowe. In Press. Synchrony in small mammal community dynamics across a forested landscape. Ecography.

      Peterman, W.E., J.A. Crawford, and D.J. Hocking. 2016. Effects of elevation on plethodontid salamander body size. Copeia. 104(1):202-208.

      Hocking, D. J. and K. J. Babbitt. 2014. Amphibian Contributions to Ecosystem Services. Herpetological Conservation and Biology. 9(1):1-17.

      Hocking, D. J. and K. J. Babbitt. 2014. The role of red-backed salamanders on ecosystem functions. PLoS ONE 9(1):e86854.

      Hocking, D. J. 2013. Comparing the influence of ecology journals using citation metrics: making sense of a multitude of metrics. Ideas in Ecology & Evolution. 6(1): 55–65.

      Hocking, D. J., S. A. Callaghan, K. J. Babbitt, and M. Yamasaki. 2013. Comparison of silvicultural and natural disturbance effects on terrestrial salamanders in northern hardwood forests. Biological Conservation. 167:194-202. [http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2013.08.006](http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2013.08.006)

      Semlitsch, R. D., S. M Blomquist, A. J. K. Calhoun, J.W. Gibbons, J. P. Gibbs, G. J. Graeter, E. B. Harper, D. J. Hocking, M. L. Hunter, D. A. Patrick, T. A. G. Rittenhouse, B. B. Rothermel, and B. D. Todd. 2009. Effects of timber management on amphibian populations: understanding mechanisms from forest experiments. Bioscience 59(10):853-862.

      Semlitsch, R. D., C. A. Conner, D. J. Hocking, T. A. G. Rittenhouse, and E. B. Harper. 2008. Effects of timber harvesting on pond-breeding amphibian persistence: testing the evacuation hypothesis. Ecological Applications 18(2):283-289.

      Web Site
      Curriculum Vitae


Dr. Hongqi Li

Biology Faculty


Compton Science Center 306


Ph.D. The Ohio State University
M.S. China University of Mining and Technology
B.S. Nanjing University, China

    • Additional Information
      Courses Taught:

      General Botany, Human Biology and the Environment, Morphology of Non-Vascular Plants, Morphology of Vascular Plants, Somatics - the Chinese approaches; Laboratory Teaching Experience

       Research Interest:

      My research interests include:

      -Study of Mesozoic and Paleozoic fossil plants in tracing the origin of flowering plants

      -Study of both living and fossil Carnivorous Plants with their morphology, ecology, and origin
      Other biological studies, from interested molecules (using GC-MS and THertz Spectroscopy) to plant therapeutical properties

      -Other biological studies, from interested molecules (using GC-MS and THertz Spectroscopy) to plant therapeutical properties.

      Paleobotanic Research Interests:

      My research interests are mainly focused on the "origin of angiosperms" that has been an "abominable mystery" since Darwin. Currently, we still do not know when, where, and from which plants the flowering plants originated, while the confirmed, earliest angiosperm megafossils are 125 million years old, found from the Yixian Formation, Lower Cretaceous, Liaoning, northeastern China.

      I have published three papers on three different fossil flowering plants found from the Yixian Formation, including Archaefructus eoflora (Ji et al., 2004), Archaeamphora longicervia (Li, 2005) and Hyrcantha decussata (Dlicher et al., 2007). Considering that angiosperms had highly diversified during the Early Cretaceous, the origin of angiosperms must be much earlier.

      To trace the possible PreCretaceous angiosperms, I am applying two approaches, studying the plant morphology and anatomy and analyzing fossil molecules from 1) angiosperms collected form the Yixian Formation of the Early Cretaceous, northeastern China; 2) possible angiosperm fossil plants collected form the Middle-Late Jurassic, northeastern China; 3) fossil plants that have some angiosperm characteristics, collected form the Late Triassic- Early Jurassic, northern and southern China; and 4) Permian gigantopterids (250-290 million years ago) from China and USA.

      I have been studying Chinese gigantopterids since 1983 and found their morphology (e.g., broad leaves, complex reticulate venation) and anatomy (e.g., paracytic stomata, vessels. 1996 Science) make them resemble angiosperms the most among all living and fossil seed plants, and their Permian age well matches the origin time of angiosperms suggested by molecular clock studies (see my gigantopterid-related-papers published in 1990, 1994, 1996, 1998, and 1999). However, because the confirmed earliest angiosperms are only about 125 million years old, I have been hesitating to further correlate gigantopterids with angiosperms, unless I obtain some more convincing evidence.

      Because there is no DNA or RNA preserved in PreCretaceous fossil plants, we have to use other stable fossil molecules to trace lineage of angiosperms. Oleanane appears to be an ideal angiosperm biomarker because it has been found in most angiosperm families, and its increase matches well with the diversification of flowering plants during Cretaceous.

      From the Yixian Formation, I have reported a species flowering plant, Archaefructus eoflora (Ji et al., 2004). More excitingly, I also have found fossil pitcher plants from the same place in the same fossil flora (Li, 2005). The fossil pitcher plants of Archaeamphora longicervia share many characteristics with modern sarraceniacean pitcher plants of America. Since Sarraceniaceae are placed within the crown group of angiosperms, the discovery of the sarraceniacean-like fossil pitcher plants suggests the basal angiosperms should have originated much earlier, possibly as 280 million years ago as recent molecular clock studies suggested. I have found oleanane from the Chinese gigantopterids of Permian (Taylor et al., 2006, Paleobiology 32(2): 179-190). Nature editor Dr. Henry Gee pointed out that, "If they (gigantopterids) are found to be closer to the flowering plants, the lineage leading to flowering plants will be put securely back into the Permian period" (http://www.nature.com/nsu/991209/991209-8.html).

      -2007 Dilcher, David L., Ge Sun, Qiang Ji, and Hongqi Li. An early infructescence Hyrcantha decussata (comb. nov.) from the Yixian Formation in northeastern China. PNAS 104(22): 9370-9374 (May 22, 2007). http://www.pnas.org/content/104/22/9370.full.pdf+html

      -2006 Taylor, David Winship, Hongqi Li, Jeremy Dahl, Fred J. Fago, David Zinniker, and J. Michael Moldowan. Biogeochemical Evidence for Late Paleozoic origin and deep phylogenetic root of Angiosperms. Paleobiology 32(2): 179-190.

      -2004 Ji, Qiang, Hongqi Li, L. Michelle Bowe, Yusheng Liu, and David W. Taylor. Early Cretaceous Archaefructus eoflora sp. nov. with bisexual flowers from Beipiao, western Liaoning, China. Acta Geologica Sinica 78, 883-896.

      -1999 Li, Hongqi and David W. Taylor. Vessel-Bearing Stems, Vasovinea tianii gen. et sp. nov. (Gigantopteridales), from the Upper Permian of Guizhou Province, China. American Journal of Botany 86(11): 1563-1575.

      -1998 Li, Hongqi and David W. Taylor. Aculeovinea yunguiensis gen. et sp. nov. (Gigantopteridales), a new taxon of gigantopterid axis from the Upper Permian of Guizhou Province, China. International Journal of Plant Sciences 159: 1023-1033.

      -1996 Li, Hongqi, Edith. L. Taylor, and Thomas. N. Taylor. Permian vessel elements. Science 271: 188-189.

      -1996 Tian, Baolin, Shijun Wang, Yingting Guo, Hongqi Li, Guiren Chen, and Hong Zhao. Flora of Paleozoic Coalballs of China. The Palaeobotanists, 45: 247-254.

      -1994 Li, Hongqi, Baolin Tian, Edith L. Taylor, and Thomas N. Taylor. Foliar Anatomy of Gigantonoclea guizhouensis (Gigantopteridales) from the Upper Permian of Guizhou Province, China. American Journal of Botany 81(6): 678-689.

      -1992 Tian, Baolin and Hongqi Li. A New special Petrified Stem, Guizhouoxylon dahebianense gen. et sp. nov., from Upper Permian in Shuicheng District, Guizhou, China. Acta Palaeontologica Sinica, 31(3): 336-345 (in Chinese and English).

      -1990 Li, Hongqi and Baolin Tian. Anatomic Study of the Foliage leaf of Gigantonoclea guizhouensis Gu et Zhi. Acta Palaeontologica Sinica, 29(2): 216-227, 3 Plates. (In Chinese with English summary).

      Carnivous Plants Research Interests:

      The Archaeamphora longicervia found from the Lower Cretaceous is actually a fossil pitcher plant that shares many morphological and anatomical characteristics with modern sarraceniacean pitcher plants of America (Li, 2005). This conclusion is also supported with the discovery of angiosperm biomark molecule oleanane from Archaeamphora specimens. Since Sarraceniaceae are placed within the crown group of angiosperms, this is the earliest fossil record of carnivorous plants and the earliest fossil record of crown group of angiosperms.

      My discovery of fossil pitcher plant Archaeamphora also inspired my interests in study of modern carnivorous plants, including their origin, phytogeography, morphology, ecology, conservation, and molecular as well as medicinal studies. I had one graduate student complete his master degree research on a comprehensive investigation of local populations of Sarracenia purpurea. Beside these, I have organized the 6th Conference of International Carnivorous Plant Society, hosted at Frostburg State University, June 1-5, 2006.

      -2010 Hongqi Li and Michael Gould. Observation of Reproductive Organs of Sarraceniaceae with SEM LV Model. Carnivorous Plant Newsletter 39: 56-61.

      -2010 Adam Hnatkovich and Hongqi Li. Comparative morphological studies of Sarracenia purpurea L. (Sarraceniaceae) populations around western Maryland, USA. Carnivorous Plant Newsletter 39: 50-54.

      -2005 Yuejin Hua and Hongqi Li. Food Web and Fluid in Pitchers of Nepenthes mirabilis in Zhuhai, China. Acta Botanica Gallica 152(2): 165-176.

      Other Biological Studies:

      When I was working on modern pitcher plants and trying to find out some special molecules that could be used as specific biomarkers, I found many of them yield mocule plumbagin that have studied as a potential anticancer agent. That lead me to further expanded my research into examine plumbagin and other molules, with a new technology, T-Hertz Spectrascopy, and ended with several publications.

      -2010 Weining Wang, Xiang Luo, Xiaoni Zeng, Yingying Zheng, and Hongqi Li. Terahertz and Infrared Spectra of Plumbagin, Juglone, and Menadione. Carnivorous Plant Newsletter 39: 82-88.

      -2009 Weining Wang, Hongqi Li, Yan Zhang, Cun-Lin Zhang. Correlations between Terahertz Spectra and Molecular Structures of 20 Standard -Amino Acids. Acta Phys. -Chim. Sin., 25(10): 2074-2079.

      -2008 Weining Wang, Hongqi Li, Xiang Luo, and Xiaoni Zeng. THz Spectra of 1,4-Naphthoquinones and its Four Derivatives. Terehertz Photonics, edited by Cunlin Zhang, Xi-Cheng Zhang, Proc. Of SPIE Vol. 6840, 684000 (2007).

      Therefore, I study not only fossil plants, but also modern plants. In particular, when I cannot find some morphology/anatomy of a modern plant from literature, I will dissect the plant and use my own observation to clarify some characteristics in related fossil plants. For example, when I study the earliest, anatomically preserved fossil cycad, I dissected living cycad material to obtain a comprehensive understanding of anatomy of cycads. These studies may lead to important discoveries to clarify some evolutionary problems.

      -Hongqi Li, Jianglin Chang, Bao-lin Tian, and David W. Taylor. The oldest cycad stem, a Permian fossil from China. International Journal of Plant Sciences (completing).

      Recent Grants:

      -2010 Assigned Time Grant releasing teaching time for organizing the 27th Midcontinent Paleobotany Colloquium, awarded by FSU.

      -2006 Assigned Time Grant releasing teaching time from Biol 109 in the spring for organizing the 6th Conference of International Carnivorous Plant Society, awarded by FSU.

      -2005 Undergraduate student research grant for advising undergraduate student research projects, $2,500 (total $4,000) awarded by FSU.

      -2004 Conference Presentation Grant for Presentation "Morphology and Biogeochemistry of Possible Fossil Pitcher Plants from the Early Cretaceous, China" at The Fifth Conference of International Carnivorous Plants Society, Lyon, France, $1,000 awarded by FSU.

      -2002, "Tracing the origin of angiosperms through investigating fossil molecule oleanane from fossil plants," $35,000, awarded by Petroleum Research Fund (PRF), American Chemical Society (ACS).

      -2002, Match-up grant for "Tracing the origin of angiosperms through investigating fossil molecule oleanane from fossil plants in China," ¥100,000 (˜$12,000), awarded by National Petroleum Corporation of China.

      -2001 Faculty Development Grant for project "Visiting China and follow up working on Campus for both research and teaching," $2,250, awarded by Frostburg State University.

      -2000 Research grant for cooperative projects on studies of Paleozoic fossil plants, ¥25,000 (˜$3,000), awarded by Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology.


Dr. Richard Raesly

Biology Faculty Richard Raesly


Compton Science Center 302


Ph.D. The Pennsylvania State University
M.S. Frostburg State University
B.S. Albright College

    • Additional Information
      Courses Taught:

      Ichthyology, Fish Management and Culture, Evolution, Scientific Communication and Investigation, Human Biology and the Environment, Animal Ecology

       Research Interest:

      Ecology and evolution of introduced species; evolution and systematics of freshwater fishes; biology of endangered species; stream ecology.


Dr. William Seddon

Biology Faculty Bill Seddon


Compton Science Center 311


Ph.D. M.S. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
M.S. Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
B.S. Pennsylvania State University

    • Additional Information
      Courses Taught:

      Animal Physiology, Genetics, General Biology I, Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II, Comparative Animal Physiology

       Research Interest:

      Comparative physiology; biochemical mechanisms of temperature adaptation in freshwater fishes; primary tissue culture, molecular biology; My primary area of research is in cellular and molecular mechanisms of temperature acclimation in fish. We hope to gain a better understanding of how temperate fish adjust their biochemistry and physiology to compensate for long term changes in environmental temperature in the laboratory and in nature. We have also been exploring the possibility of using a cell culture model to better understand acclimation. I am also interested in the interaction of diet and temperature as they affect growth rate and development in channel catfish. We are investigating the possibility of enhancing growth at less than optimal temperatures by supplementing commercial catfish diets with various lipids. I have recently ventured into aquatic toxicology. We are currently investigating the effects of sublethal levels of manganese on the physiology of brook trout.

      Recent Publications and Abstracts:

      Seddon, W. L., and C. L. Prosser. 1999. Non-enzymatic isolation and culture of channel catfish hepatocytes using a collagenase-free perfusion system. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 123A:9-15.

      Seddon, W. L. 1997. Mechanisms of temperature acclimation in the channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus: isozymes and quantitative changes. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 118A (3):813-820.

      Seddon, W. L., and C. L. Prosser. 1997. Seasonal variations in the temperature acclimation response of the channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus. Physiol. Zool. 70(1):33-44.

      Flickinger, Shane T., and William L. Seddon. 1998. Long term maintenance of in vivo function in cultured channel catfish hepatocytes. ASB Bulletin. 45(2): 86.

      Stanton, Kathleen, and William L. Seddon. 1998. Combined effects of dietary lipids and temperature on growth, protein, and lipid composition of channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) fingerlings. ASB Bulletin. 45(2): 87.

      Seddon, W. L., and C. L. Prosser. 1994. An improved method for preparation of channel catfish hepatocyte cultures. Am. Zool. 34(5):29A.

      Seddon, W. L., and C. L. Prosser. 1994. Seasonal variation in the acclimation response of the channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus. Physiologist.


Dr. Thomas Serfass

Biology Faculty Thomas Sefass

Graduate Program Coordinator

Compton Science Center 210


Ph.D. Wildlife and Fisheries Science, The Pennsylvania State University. 1994

    • Additional Information
      Teaching/Graduate Student Supervision:

      2007- Present. Professor of Wildlife Ecology, Department of Biology, Frostburg State University. Teach: Wildlife Techniques; Ecology and Management of Wildlife Populations; Mammalogy; and Conservation Biology and Reserve Design.  Since 1997 I have supervised the completion of 38 graduate students.

      Current Graduate Students:

      Kelly Pearce, Ph.D (at University of Maryland, College Park): Assessing the potential of the river otter (Lontra canadensis) to promote aquatic conservation in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem: A unique approach for developing a long-term aquatic flagship

      Emily Bricker, M.S.: Management Status of the North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis) in the United States and Canada:  Assessing Management Practices and Public Perceptions of the Species

      Karen Zusi, M.S: Habitat-use analysis and survey development for the Neotropical river otter (Lontra longicaudis) in Costa Rica

      Kelsey Baird, M.S.: Assessing angler attitudes towards otters and piscivorous birds in Scotland

      Casey Wagon, M.S.:  Factors influencing detection of carnivores at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, N.J.

      Megan Spindler, M.S.: Production, survival and habitat use of wood ducks at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, N.J.

      Research and Conservation:

      Tom Serfass is Chair and Professor of Wildlife Ecology in the Department of Biology and Natural Resources at Frostburg State University, and Adjunct Professor at the Appalachian Laboratory – University of Maryland (College Park) Center for Environmental Science. A large portion of his research and conservation activities have focused on the design, implementation, and evaluation of wildlife restoration programs and recovering wildlife populations—particularly mesocarnioves. Tom conceived and coordinated the successful Pennsylvania River Otter (Lontra canadensis) and Fisher (Martes pennanti) Reintroduction Projects, and has authored over 40 journal, proceedings, popular articles, and book chapters dealing specifically about river otters, fishers, and wildlife reintroductions. During the past 14 years Tom has mentored the completion of 38 MS and PhD students, conducting research ranging from evaluating the fates of river otters reintroduced in western New York to assessing the natural history and conservation value (potential as flagship species) of spotted-necked otters (Lutra maculicollis) and other wildlife at Rubondo Island National Park, Lake Victoria, Tanzania. Tom is the North American Coordinator of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources’ Otter Specialist Group.

      Note: Tom is not currently accepting new graduate students except for those with an international research interest in carnivore conservation and having funding to support those interests.   

      Publications (2011 - present):

      Serfass, T. L., J. A. Bohrman, S. S. Stevens, and J. T. Bruskotter.  2014.  Otters and anglers can share the stream! The role of social science in dissuading negative messaging about reintroduced predators.  Human Dimensions of Wildlife 19:532-544.

      Peper, S. T., R. L. Peper, G. V Kollias, R. P. Brooks, S. S Stevens, and T. L. Serfass.  2014. Efficacy of two canine distemper vaccines in wild river otters (Lontra canadensis).  Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 45:520-526..
      Keller, L. K., R. S. Fritz, C. M.  Zoubek,  E.  H. Kennedy, K.  A. Cronin, and T. L. Serfass.  2014.   Effects of transport on fecal glucocorticoid levels in captive-bred cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus). Journal of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science (in press).

      Reed-Smith, J, T. Serfass, T. Kihudu, and M. Mussa.  2014.  Preliminary report on the behavior of spotted-necked otter (Lutra maculicollis, Lichtenstein, 1835) living in a lentic ecosystem.  Zoo Biology (in press).

      Jessica R. Brandt, J. R., A. L. Brandt, F. K. Ammer, A. L. Roca, and T. L. Serfass.  2014. Impact of Population Expansion on Genetic Diversity and Structure of River Otters (Lontra canadensis) in Central North America Journal of Heredity 105:39-47.

      Stevens, S.S., B. Amulike, S. Ndaga, J. F. Organ, and T. L. Serfass. 2014. The confusion of common names: a wildlife-specific methodological challenge in cross-cultural research. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 19:191-199.

      Amulike, B., S. S. Stevens, and T. L. Serfass.  2013.  Enhancing tourist opportunities to view spotted-necked otters (Lutra maculicollis) at Rubondo Island National Park: can the apriori location of latrines simplify identifying best viewing areas?  African Journal of Ecology 51:609-617.    

      Brooks, R.P, and T.L. Serfass.  2013.  Wetland-riparian wildlife of the Mid-Atlantic Region.   Pages 259-268 in R.P. Brooks, and .D.H. Wardrop, Editors.  Mid-Atlantic freshwater wetlands: advances in wetlands science, management, policy, and practice.  Springer-Verlag New York, Inc., New York, New York, USA.   

      Loughry, S. C.,  M. D. Triska, D. M. Fecske, and T. L. Serfass.  2012.   A direct comparison of enclosed-track plates and remote cameras in detecting fishers in North Dakota.  Canadian Field-Naturalist126:281-287.   

      Just, E. H., S. S. Stevens, R. M. Spinola, and T. L. Serfass.  2012.  Detecting river otter latrines near bridges: does habitat and season influence survey success? Wildlife Biology 3:264-271.

      Serfass, T. L., and S. S. Stevens.  2012.  Book review: human impacts on seals, sea lions, and sea otters:  integrating archaeology and ecology in the northeast Pacific.  The Quarterly Review of Biology 87:285.

      Bagherian, A. J., D. M. Fecske, M. D. Triska, J. A. Bishop, D. J. Berezanski, S. K. Johnson, R. P. Brooks, and T. L. Serfass. 2012.  Evidence of American Martens Populating the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota.  The Prairie Naturalist 44:10-16.

      Bohrman, J. A., S. S. Stevens, and T. L.Serfass.  2012.  Long-term survival and reproduction in a river otter (Lontra canadensis) with an intraperitoneal radio-transmitter.  Canadian Field-Naturalist:125:252-254.  

      Brooks, R. P., T. L. Serfass, M. Triska, and L. M. Rebelo.  2011.  Ramsar Protected Wetlands of International Importance as Habitats for Otters.  IUCN Otter Specialist Group Bulletin 29:47-63.

      Hanley, Z., and T. L. Serfass.  2011.  Distribution and detection rates of a reintroduced fisher population in western Maryland.  Martes Working Group Newsletter 18(1):25-27.

      Stearns, C. R., and T. L. Serfass.  2011.  The use of scales to estimate the size of the fish prey of river otters (Lontra canadensis) and other piscivores.  American Midland Naturalist 166:163-176.

      Stearns, C. R., and T.L. Serfass.  2011.  Food habits and fish prey size selection of a newly colonizing population of river otters (Lontra canadensis) in eastern North Dakota.  American Midland Naturalist 165:169–184.

      Stevens, S. S., E. H. Just, R. C. Cordes, R. P. Brooks, T. L. Serfass.  2011.  The influence of habitat quality on the detection of river otter (Lontra canadensis) latrines near bridges.  American Midland Naturalist 166:435-445.  

      Stevens, S. S, J. F. Organ, and T. L. Serfass.  2011.  Otters as flagships: social and cultural considerations.  IUCN Otter Specialist Group Bulletin 28:150-161.

      Triska, M. D., S. C. Loughry, and T. L. Serfass.  2011. Persistence of fishers in riparian forests in North Dakota, USA following a severe flood event.  Acat Theriologica 56:367–374.

      Triska, M. D., S. C. Loughry, and T. L. Serfass.  2011.  River otters use agricultural field along the Turtle River in eastern North Dakota as crossover and latrine area.  The Prairie Naturalist 43(1/2):52-55.


Dr. Rebekah Taylor

Biology Faculty Rebekah Taylor

Associate Professor

Compton Science Center 303


Ph.D. Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.  Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis 2007
B.A. Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Molecular Biology; Theatre 2001

    • Additional Information
      Courses Taught:

      Immunology, Cell Biology, Advanced Microscopy, General Biology, Seminar in Biology, Biotechnology Laboratory
      Special Topics: Host-Pathogen Interactions

      Research Interest:

      Dr. Taylor’s research interests are centered on immunology, specifically the immune responses and tissues in the mucosal layers of the intestine.  Recent projects have included the characterization and analysis of microscopic lymphoid tissues called cryptopatches and isolated lymphoid follicles in the small intestine of wild animals, including field mice (Peromyscus sp.) and fish (C. commersonii).  These tissues have been shown to form and change dramatically in response to diet and inflammation in laboratory animals, but little is known about cryptopatches and isolated lymphoid follicles in wild vertebrates.

      Another of Dr. Taylor's research interests is that of host-pathogen interactions and pathogenesis.  To that end, Dr. Taylor and several undergraduate and graduate students are currently investigating the prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, in Western Maryland.  Ticks are collected and tested for the presence of Borrelia by PCR analysis, and blood and tissue samples from wild mice are also tested by ELISA and PCR.  These data along with environmental information will allow a broad picture of the emergence of Lyme in the regional area.

      Dr. Taylor mentors undergraduate and graduate students who have an interest in learning advanced biological techniques such as small mammal trapping and handling, dissection and cryopreservation, tissue sectioning, histochemical staining, immunofluorescence microscopy, ELISA, PCR, and cell culture.

      Currlculum Vita