- Areas of Study
- About A&S
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- Biology Major
- Molecular and Integrative Biology
- Pre-Health Sci. Emphasis
- Fisheries and Wildlife Biology
- Teacher Certification
- Minor in Biology
- Jay Boulanger
- Jeffrey Carmichael
- Brian Darby
- Diane Darland
- Tristan Darland
- Susan Ellis-Felege
- Chris Felege
- Brett Goodwin
- Steve Kelsch
- Peter Meberg
- Robert Newman
- Igor Ovtchinnikov
- Steven Ralph
- Turk Rhen
- Isaac Schlosser
- William Sheridan
- Rebecca Simmons
- Vasyl Tkach
- Jefferson Vaughan
- Kathryn Yurkonis
Starcher Hall Room 211
Office Tel: 701.777.4290
B.S., 1981, Duke University
Ph.D., 1987, University of Pennsylvania
Director, Research Networks for Enhancing Science and Technology (RNEST- Biocomplexity Cluster), University of North Dakota (2002-2005)
Assistant Professor, Biology, University of North Dakota (1995-2001)
Director, Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU Site), Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University (1994-1995)
Coordinator, Research Training Group (RTG) Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University (1993-1995)
Visiting Assistant Professor, Biology, Virginia Tech University (1989-1992)
Instructor, Biology, University of Pennsylvania (1987-1989)
- Population Ecology and Genetics of Amphibians
- Conservation Biology
- Impacts of Climate and Landscape
I am interested in the ecological and evolutionary consequences of environmental variation. My research has focused on amphibians because their life history and demography is extremely sensitive to environmental conditions and they live on a spatial and temporal scale that is amenable to comprehensive observational and experimental study.
Out of earlier studies of phenotypic and quantitative genetic variation in larval development, I have developed an integrated study examining individual growth, development, and dispersal, population demography, dynamics and genetic structure, and landscape-level analyses of habitat use in the highly variable and dynamic Prairie Pothole ecosystem. Most of this work has involved the wood frog, Rana sylvatica, and more recently the Northern Leopard Frog, Rana pipiens, and other amphibians found in the region.
My students and I have also examined continental-scale patterns of genetic variation in wood frogs using microsatellite markers, developed microsatellite loci for the Plains spadefoot toad, Spea bombifrons, and investigated the helminth parasite communities (in collaboration with Dr. Vasyl Tkach) found in wood frogs and leopard frogs on the northern plains. Finally, I am interested in the application of scientific knowledge to the conservation of biodiversity. One of my goals is to understand the ways in which human activities alter ecological and evolutionary processes. The Prairie Pothole Region is dominated by agriculture and produces much of the nation's wheat, sunflowers, canola, sugar (beets), and other important crops. Embedded within this landscape are numerous wetlands, along with large expanses of grazing land in some areas.
Prairie wetlands fluctuate in response to the highly variable patterns of temperature and precipitation that characterize the northern plains, and amphibians are therefore exposed to a wide range of landscape and climatic conditions. The region is ideal for investigating the impacts of land use and climate change on a notoriously sensitive group of species.
- Ecological and genetic structure of amphibian populations in the northern Great Plains (1996-present)
- Amphibian-parasite spatial distribution on dynamic landscapes (2003- present)
- Amphibian responses to land use, wetland distribution and water quality in the Sheyenne National Grassland (2001-2004)
- Environmental heterogeneity, genetic population structure, and larval life history evolution of Rana sylvatica (1996-present)
- Phylogeography of the wood frog (2000-present)
- Distribution and dynamics of the northern leopard frog (R. pipiens) and Canadian toad (Bufo hemiophrys) in northeastern North Dakota (2007-present)
Pulis EE, Tkach VV, and Newman RA. 2011. Helminth parasites of the wood frog, Lithobates sylvaticus, on the northern Great Plains. Wetlands 31: 675-685.
Rice AM, Pearse DE, Becker T, Newman RA, Lebonville C, Harper GR, and Pfennig KS. 2008. Development and characterization of nine polymorphic microsatellite markers for Mexican spadefoot toads (Spea multiplicata) with cross-amplification in plains spadefoot toads (S. bombifrons). Molecular Ecology Resources 8: 1386-1389.
Poudel, SS, Newman RA, and Vaughan JA. 2008. Rodent Plasmodium: population dynamics of early sporogony within Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes. J Parasitology 94: 999-1008.
Squire, T. and R.A. Newman. 2002 Genetic population structure of the wood frog (Rana sylvatica) in a northern woodland. Herpetologica 58: 119-130.
Newman, R.A. and T. Squire. 2001 Microsatellite variation and fine-scale population structure in the wood frog ( Rana sylvatica) . Molecular Ecology 10: 1087-1100.
- Biology 150: General Biology I
- Biology 333: Population Biology
- Biology 534: Quantitative Ecology
- Biology 590: ST-Advanced Population Biology
- Biology 332: General Ecology (summer session)
Occasional seminar courses and special topics courses, have included:
- Biology 491/503: Ecological Genomics (Fall 2006)
- Biology 503/590: Ecology and Evolution of Wildlife Diseases (Fall 2003)
- Biology 503: Analysis of Population Genetic Data (Fall 1999)