Erin Kenison (PhD)
Graduate Research Assistant
Dept. of Forestry and Natural Resources
195 Marstellar Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2061
My research focuses on advancing eastern hellbender head-starting techniques to increase the effectiveness of reintroduction-based conservation efforts for remaining populations. Drastic declines in hellbender populations have been observed nationwide and no evidence of recruitment has been documented in populations in Indiana for two decades. Moreover, very little is known about larval habitat use, behavior, movement, or reasons for their absence within the state. The objective of my doctoral work is to increase post-release survival of juveniles through novel captive-rearing methods. Specifically, I will investigate larval responses to a variety of natural conditions and stimuli presented in the laboratory while increasing our understanding of the ecology and natural history of the species.
In addition, I completed my Master's research at Montana State University where I studied the nonconsumptive effects of introduced trout, stocked for recreational angling, on native long-toed salamanders. Both of these projects match my broader interests in larval amphibian growth and development, predator-prey interactions, anthropogenic influences on aquatic communities, and amphibian conservation.
Kenison, E.K., Z.H. Olson, and R.N. Williams. 2016. A novel transport system for Hellbender salamanders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis). Herpetological Conservation and Biology 11(2):355-361.