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David K. Skelly
Yale University
School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
370 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511 USA

Yale FES



Meredith Atwood

Office: Greeley Lab, Room 127
Address: 370 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511

B.S. Biology, Envir. Studies
Denison University
M.S. Conservation Biology
SUNY College of Env. Science & Forestry
Ph.D. Forestry & Envir. Studies
Yale University

I am broadly interested in amphibian and wetland ecology and conservation.  Not only are amphibian declines documented globally, but their wetland habitats are the most vulnerable of all aquatic systems to destruction.  These small pools lack federal protection and are often destroyed for development or agriculture.  Furthermore, we have a limited understanding of how these pools operate and how they interact on a larger landscape scale.

My research aims to unravel some of these ecosystem complexities.  By viewing ponds as a component of the landscape (instead of as their own separate system), I can look at energy and material transfers, nutrient cycling, and effects to individual species and overall biodiversity.  Hopefully by quantifying the importance of ponds on the landscape-scale, we will be one step closer to protecting them.  My ideas are still in their earliest forms, but check back for more as I move forward!


Master’s Research: At SUNY-ESF, I researched how the resource base in small pools influenced the primary consumers of these pools: amphibians.  I compared how different types of sediment (mineral vs. organic) and plant litter (mixed deciduous, coniferous, grasses) influenced algal growth and the development of wood frog tadpoles (Lithobates sylvaticus).   I found that mineral sediments reduced tadpole survival and that although plant litter types differed in nutrient composition, the differences did not influence tadpoles.  My findings suggest that algae might be a more important food resource for tadpoles than leaf litter.  The project taught me the benefits of assessing pools from an interdisciplinary, whole-ecosystem approach, and I am thankful for my advisor James Gibbs and also a very-invested committee member, Kim Schulz.  Like all research, my M.S. work led to many more questions which I hope to pursue in my doctoral studies!

Undergraduate Honors Thesis: While at Denison University (Granville, OH), I worked with Dr. Rebecca Homan researching amphibian demography and distribution at a vernal pool.  I spent many hours muddy and happy, studying spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum), wood frogs, and American toads (Anaxyrus americanus).  It was through this research that I became interested in amphibian ecology and conservation.

A non-biology but really cool project with USGS: As an undergraduate, I had the opportunity to join a professor’s (Dr. Abram Kaplan) consulting team to evaluate the Leadership Program at the USGS.  The USGS strives to form a leadership-centered culture where they train employees to demonstrate leadership behavior, in hope that leadership will then diffuse through the organization.  We conducted surveys of leadership course participants, co-workers of participants, and employees at-large in the USGS to evaluate how well leadership spread within the organization.


  • ENSR Environmental Consulting (2007): I interned in ENSR’s Division of Water and Natural Resources where I was introduced to wetland policies, wetland science, and threatened species conservation.  It was here where I realized that I could make a living by working outside and having fun in the woods and wetlands!
  • Bald Head Island Conservancy Sea Turtle Intern (2009): I performed nightly beach patrols for nesting sea turtles, PIT and flipper tagged nesting turtles, led educational programs, and also conducted amphibian call surveys for an independent research project.

Measuring tadpoles in the field during my Master’s research, 2010.



Atwood, M.A. 2013. Effects of euthanasia method on stable-carbon and stable-nitrogen isotope analysis for an ectothermic vertebrate. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 27 (8): 909-913.  Link

Atwood, M.A., J.W. Mora, and A.W. Kaplan. 2010. Learning to lead: evaluating leadership and organizational learning. Leadership and Organizational Development Journal 31 (7): 576-595.

Homan, R.N., M.A. Atwood, A.J. Dunkle, and S.B. Karr. 2010. Movement orientation by adult and juvenile wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) and American toads (Bufo americanus) over multiple years. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 5 (1): 64-72.

Mora, J.W., A.W. Kaplan, L.M. Weis, and M.A. Atwood. 2008. Recipe for change: building a leadership culture at the U.S. Geological Survey.  Training and Development 62 (3): 42-46.

Measuring tadpoles in the field during my Master’s research, 2010.

An adorable wood frog metamorph!

Mucking around for larval amphibians near Granville, OH, 2008.

Posing with a female loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) during a sea turtle internship on Bald Head Island, NC, 2009.