Office HoursFaculty Website
PhD in Interdisciplinary Ecology – University of Florida (2011)
MA in Latin American Studies (Tropical Conservation and Development) – University of Florida (2006)
BSc in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation – University of Florida (2004)
AA in Biology – Miami-Dade Community College (2000)
Systematics, Evolution, Conservation, and Herpetology
I am interested in the patterns and processes that characterize the
generation of biological diversity, and in promoting the conservation of
habitat and landscapes through the application of field and lab-based
scientific research. Much of my research focuses on neotropical
amphibians and reptiles, and emphasizes the inherit connections between
systematic biology and conservation. Through the integration of
phylogenetics, morphological systematics, population genetics, and
macroecological modeling, I have developed a framework that uses
taxonomic inventory and monitoring to promote education and extension in
support of broader conservation goals in fragmented landscapes.
have an active interdisciplinary research program in northern Central
America, focusing on herpetofaunal diversity and conservation in
poorly-studied and highly threatened montane cloud forests, and driven
by fieldwork in remote and isolated locations. To date, this work led to
the description of more than two dozen new species from Central
America, with literally dozens more phylogenetically-delimited candidate
species under investigation in my lab.
and its effect on biodiversity is a continuing issue in Cnetral America,
as well as in the Appalachian Mountains, a region that itself is home
to a diverse endemic herpetofauna. Intensive development by the energy
industry, both historical (coal) and ongoing (Marcellus and Utica
Shale), has led to long-term contamination and fragmentation issues
through acid mine drainage and forest fragmentation through the
installation of oil and gas drilling platforms. The Appalachians are
also home to the richest salamander fauna in the world, offering
extensive opportunities for the development of applied research project.
Thomas J. Firneno (2016): Thesis:
An integrative assessment of species boundaries in Mesoamerican toads
(Bufonidae: Incilius coccifer complex). Currently PhD student in M.
Fujita Lab, University of Texas at Arlington. 2016 IUP Outstanding
Graduate Research Award.
Alexander Hess (2016): Thesis: Community
ecology and evolution of lungless salamander assemblages (Caudata:
Plethodontidae) in temperate and tropical systems. Currently PhD student
in R. Bonett Lab, University of Tulsa.
Michael Itgen (2016):
Thesis: Taxonomic revision of Magnadigita (Caudata: Plethodontidae:
Bolitoglossa) from Honduras. Currently PhD student in R. Mueller Lab,
Colorado State University.
Erich Hofmann (2017): Thesis: Cryptic
diversity and phenotypic stasis in a complex of highland anoles
(Squamata: Dactyloidae: Norops crassulus species subgroup). Currently
PhD student in C. Parkinson Lab, Clemson University. 2017 IUP
Outstanding Graduate Research Award.
Kathryn Coates (2018):
Thesis: Assessing genetic diversity, hybridization, and microhabitat
associations of Valley & Ridge Salamander (Plethodon hofmanni)
populations from the Allegheny Plateau of western Pennsylvania.
Currently PhD student in K. Detwiler Lab, Florida Atlantic University.
Garbark (2019): Thesis: the relationship of the red-backed salamander
abundance to the direct and indirect use value of undisturbed forest, a
timberland mosaic of forest, and agriculture land-uses. Currently
Program Director, Conemaugh Valley Conservancy.
Wilson LD, JH Townsend, and JD Johnson (eds.). 2010. Conservation of Mesoamerican Amphibians and Reptiles. Eagle Mountain Publications, LC. Eagle Mountain, Utah. xviii + 812 pp.
Townsend JH, and LD Wilson. 2008. Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Cusuco National Park, Honduras / Guía de los Anfibios y Reptiles de Parque Nacional Cusuco, Honduras. Bibliomania!, Salt Lake City, Utah. xiv + 322 pp.
McCranie JR, JH Townsend, and LD Wilson. 2006. The Amphibians and Reptiles of the Honduran Mosquitia. Krieger Publishing Co., Malabar, Florida. x+291 pp.
TJ*, and JH Townsend. 2019. Integrative evaluation of species
boundaries in sympatric and parapatric populations of Mesoamerican toads
(Bufonidae: Incilius coccifer group). Zoologica Scripta 48(4): 454–465.
Hofmann EP*, KE Nicholson,
IR Luque-Montes, G Köhler, C Cerrato-Mendoza, M Medina-Flores*, LD
Wilson, and JH Townsend. 2019. Cryptic diversity, but to what extent?
Discordance between single-locus species delimitation methods within
mainland anoles (Squamata: Dactyloidae) from Northern Central America.
Frontiers in Genetics 10: 11 (1–13).
Hofmann, EP* and JH
Townsend. 2018. A cryptic new species of anole (Squamata: Dactyloidae),
previously referred to as Anolis crassulus Cope, 1864, from the Lenca
Highlands of Honduras. Annals of the Carnegie Museum 85(2): 91–111.
IR, JD Austin, KD Weinfurther*, LD Wilson, EP Hofmann*, and JH
Townsend. 2018. An integrative assessment of the taxonomic status of
putative hybrid leopard frogs (Anura: Ranidae) from the Chortís
Highlands of Central America, with description of a new species.
Systematics and Biodiversity 16(4): 340–356.
Hofmann EP*, and
JH Townsend. 2017. Origins and biogeography of the Anolis crassulus
subgroup (Squamata: Dactyloidae) in the highlands of Nuclear Central
America. BMC Evolutionary Biology 17: 267 (1–14).
and LD Wilson. 2016. Amphibians of the Cordillera Nombre de Dios,
Honduras: COI barcoding suggests underestimated taxonomic diversity in a
threatened endemic fauna. Mesoamerican Herpetology 3(4): 910–928.
AJ*, MW Itgen*, TJ Firneno*, JC Nifong, and JH Townsend. 2016.
Microsympatry in cryptic lowland salamanders (Caudata: Plethodontidae:
Bolitoglossa subgenus Nanotriton) from northwestern Honduras:
implications for taxonomy and regional biogeography. Journal of
Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research: doi:10.1111/jzs.12151.
Townsend JH. 2016. Taxonomic revision of Nototriton barbouri
(Schmidt)(Caudata: Plethodontidae), with description of two new species
of moss salamanders from the Cordillera Nombre de Dios, Honduras.
Zootaxa 4196(4): 511–528.
Köhler G, JH Townsend, and CBP
Petersen 2016. Taxonomic revision of Norops tropidonotus (Peters 1863),
with the resurrection of N. spilorhipus (Alvarez del Toro & Smith
1956) and description of two new species. Mesoamerican Herpetology 3(1):
Townsend JH. 2014. Characterizing the Chortís Block
Biogeographic Province: Geological, physiographic, and ecological
associations and herpetofaunal diversity. Mesoamerican Herpetology 1(2):
Townsend JH, M Medina-Flores*, LD Wilson, RC Jadin, and
JD Austin. 2013. Molecular and morphological analysis reveals a relict
lineage of green palm-pitviper (Squamata: Viperidae:Bothriechis) from
the Chortís Highlands of Mesoamerica. ZooKeys 298: 77–105.
JH, M Medina-Flores*, O Reyes–Calderón, and JD Austin. 2013. A new
Nototriton (Caudata: Plethodontidae:) from Montaña de Botaderos National
Park in northeastern Honduras. Zootaxa 3666(3): 358–368.
JH, LD Wilson, M Medina-Flores*, and LA Herrera-B. 2013. A new species
of centipede snake in the Tantilla taeniata group (Squamata: Colubridae)
from premontane forest in Refugio de Vida Silvestre Texíguat, Honduras.
Journal of Herpetology 47(1): 191–200.
Wilson, LD, IR
Luque-Montes, A Alegría, and JH Townsend. 2012. El componente endémico
de la herpetofauna hondureña en peligro crítico: priorización y
estrategias de conservación. Revista Latinoamericano de
Conservación/Latin American Journal of Conservation 2: 47–67.
JH, LD Wilson, M Medina-Flores*, E Aguilar-Urbina, BK Atkinson, CA
Cerrato M., A Contreras-C., LN Gray, LA Herrera-B., IR Luque-M., M
McKewy- Mejía, A Portillo-A., AL Stubbs, and JD Austin. 2012. A
premontane hotspot of herpetofaunal endemism on the windward side of
Refugio de Vida Silvestre Texíguat, Honduras. Salamandra 48(2): 92–114.
RC, JH Townsend, TA Castoe, and JA Campbell. 2012. Cryptic diversity in
disjunct populations of Middle American Montane Pitvipers: a systematic
reassessment of Cerrophidion godmani. Zoologica Scripta 41(5): 455–470.