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Todd Lab Herpetolgy and Wildlife Conservation

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Cathy in the field.

About Cathy


Cathy is a wildlife biologist with the USDA Forest Service and has been active in the conservation of amphibians in the Sierra Nevada, California. She received her BS in Conservation and Resource Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, specializing in herpetology, and her MS in Forest Science from Oregon State University, Corvallis, where she studied large-scale population dynamics in pond-breeding amphibians. She served as team leader of the USDA Forest Service’s Sierra Nevada Amphibian Monitoring Program, which assessed bioregional status and trends of two federally listed amphibian taxa, the Yosemite Toad (Anaxyrus canorus) and the Mountain Yellow-legged Frog complex (Rana sierrae, R. muscosa). Cathy also has a wide range of professional experience in other areas of ecology and has worked as a computer programmer and database developer for research, private, and public organizations.

Cathy has returned to graduate school to continue her research on amphibian conservation. She is interested in factors that contribute to population persistence in patchy, stochastic environments and how these inform effective and resilient conservation strategies. Her current research focuses on (1) hydrogeomorphic processes that create amphibian habitat in wet meadows with the goal of increasing the success of meadow restoration designed specifically for amphibians, and (2) the ecology of the Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog (R. sierrae) in the northern portion of its range with the goal of developing effective conservation measures. In this portion of the species’ range, declines are most pronounced, the species primarily inhabits streams, and general ecological information is lacking. Cathy also continues her interest in multi-scale monitoring.


Examples of recent publications


Brown C, Wilkinson LR, Kiehl KB. 2014. Comparing the status of two sympatric amphibians in the Sierra Nevada, California: insights on ecological risk and monitoring common species. Journal of Herpetology 48:74-83.

Brown C, Olsen AR.. 2013. Bioregional monitoring design and occupancy estimation for two Sierra Nevadan amphibian taxa. Freshwater Science 32:675-691.

Brown C, Kiehl K, Wilkinson LR. 2012. Advantages of long-term, multi-scale monitoring: assessing the current status of the Yosemite toad (Anaxyrus (=Bufo) canorus) in the Sierra Nevada, California. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 7:115-131.