Kristen Cecala, Assistant Professor of Biology, Co-Director Island Ecology Program

Kristen Cecala

Research Emphasis:

I study aspects of the basic and applied ecology of aquatic organisms. I am specifically interested in how environmental change alters the ecology and distribution of amphibians and reptiles through behavioral mechanisms. I use a combination of observational, experimental, and modeling approaches to develop information that can guide the management and conservation of aquatic ecosystems and the organisms that inhabit them in the southern highlands including the Appalachian Mountains and Cumberland Plateau.

Contact Information:

Primary Organization:  The University of the South-Sewanee


Web Page:

CWT Publications and Presentations: (custom bibliography)

Journal Articles

Cecala, K. K., J. C. Maerz, B. J. Halstead, J. R. Frisch, T. L. Gragson, J. Hepinstall-Cymerman, D. S. Leigh, C. R. Jackson, J. T. Peterson, and C. M. Pringle. 2018. Multiple drivers, scales, and interactions influence southern Appalachian stream salamander occupancy. Ecosphere 9(3):e02150. 10.1002/ecs2.2150

Frisch, John R., Peterson, James T., Cecala, Kristen K., Maerz, John C., Jackson, C. Rhett, Gragson, Ted L., and Pringle, Catherine M. 2016. Patch occupancy of stream fauna across a land cover gradient in the southern Appalachians, USA. Hydrobiologia. 773:163-175. doi:10.1007/s10750-016-2695-9.

Cecala, K.K. and Maerz, J.C. 2015. Context-dependent responses to light contribute to salamander responses to landscape disturbances. Canadian Journal of Zoology 94:7-13. 10.1139/cjz-2015-0111

Wyderko, Jennie A., Benfield, Ernest F., Maerz, John C., Cecala, Kristen K., Belden, Lisa K. (2015) Variable infection of stream salamanders in the southern Appalachians by the trematode Metagonimoides oregonensis (family: Heterophyidae). Parasitol Research, 114:3159-3165. DOI 10.1007/s00436-015-4550-8

Bryan Currinder, Kristen K. Cecala, Robert M. Northington & Michael E. Dorcas (2014) Response of stream salamanders to experimental drought in the southern Appalachian Mountains, USA, Journal of Freshwater Ecology, 29:4, 579-587, DOI: 10.1080/02705060.2014.938135

Cecala, K. K., Lowe, W. H. and Maerz, J. C. (2014), Riparian disturbance restricts in-stream movement of salamanders. Freshwater Biology, 59: 2354-2364. doi: 10.1111/fwb.12439

Davis, Andrew K., Cecala, K. (2010) Intraerythrocytic rickettsial inclusions in Ocoee salamanders (Desmognathus ocoee): prevalence, morphology, and comparisons with inclusions of Plethodon cinereus. Parasitol Research, 107:363-367. DOI 10.1007/s00436-010-1869-z

Books and Book Sections

Webster, J.R., Benfield, E.F., Cecala, K.K., Chamblee, J.F., Dehring, C.A., Gragson, T.L., Cymerman, J.H., Jackson, C.R., Knoepp, J.D., Leigh, D.S., Maerz, J.C., Pringle, C., Valett, H.M., 2012. Water Quality and Exurbanization in Southern Appalachian Streams. In River Conservation and Management (Chapter on Catchment Conservation, Ecosystem Integrity and Threats to River Systems). P.J. Boon and P.J. Raven, eds. Published 2012 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., p. 91-107

Theses and Dissertations

Cecala, Kristen K. The Role of Behavior in Influencing Headwater Salamander Responses to Anthropogenic Development. Ph.D. Dissertation. 2012. University of Georgia.

Conference Posters and Presentations

Jackson, C.R., J.R. Webster, K.K. Cecala, J.R. Frisch, J.E. Kirsch, J.C. Maerz, D.S. Leigh, J.T. Peterson, C.M. Pringle, and J.D. Knoepp. 2018. Hydrologic, Morphologic, and Water Quality Effects of Rural Development in Streams of the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains. Society for Freshwater Science Annual Meeting, May 20-24, Detroit, MI.