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Shawn Kuchta

Shawn Kuchta, portrait outdoors
Associate Professor
Life Science Building 233

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Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Courses Taught

  • BIOS 2500 Evolution: The History of Life on Earth
  • BIOS 3300 Principles of Evolution
  • BIOS 4720 Herpetology
  • BIOS 4570 Animal Systematics
  • BIOS 6820 Advanced Topics in Systematics

Research Interests

I am broadly interested in patterns of diversity and the processes that generate, maintain, or limit these patterns. Research in my lab proceeds along multiple fronts. First, we study the interaction between biogeography and diversification using phylogenetic and population genetic approaches. Second, we study predator-mediated natural selection and the evolution of anti-predator adaptations. In general, our research is grounded in organismal biology while pursuing a modern research agenda in evolutionary biology. Salamanders are the main focus, however, work in the lab also includes studies on damselflies and turtles.


I earned my B.S. in Zoology from the University of Washington in Seattle. Raymond Huey was my research adviser. My Ph.D. in Integrative Biology was earned under David Wake in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley. After earning my Ph.D., I worked as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Santa Cruz (with Barry Sinervo), Lund University, Sweden (with Erik Svensson), and Dartmouth College (with Ryan Calsbeek). I started my position at Ohio University in the fall of 2010.

Representative Publications

Kuchta, S.R., M.D. Haughey, A. Wynn, J.F. Jacobs, & R. Highton. In Press. Ancient river systems and phylogeographic structure in the Spring Salamander, Gyrinophilus porphyriticus. Journal of Biogeography.

Kuchta, S.R. & E.I. Svensson. 2014. Predator-mediated natural selection on the wings of the damselfly Calopteryx splendens: differences in selection among trait types. American Naturalist 184(1): 91-109.

Calsbeek, R., S. R. Kuchta. 2011. Predator mediated selection and the impact of developmental stage on viability in Wood frog tadpoles (Rana sylvatica). BMC Evolutionary Biology 11:353 (11 pages).

Corl, A., A. Davis, S.R. Kuchta, & B. Sinervo. 2010. Selective loss of polymorphic mating types is associated with rapid phenotypic evolution during morphic speciation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107(9):4254-4259.

Kuchta, S.R., D.S. Parks, R.L. Mueller, & D.B. Wake. 2009. Closing the ring: historical biogeography of the salamander ring species Ensatina eschscholtzii. Journal of Biogeography 36:982-995.

Kuchta, S.R., A. Krakauer, & B. Sinervo. 2008. Why does the Yellow-eyed salamander have yellow eyes? Batesian mimicry of Pacific newts (genus Taricha) by the salamander Ensatina eschscholtzii xanthoptica. Evolution 62(4):984-990.

Kuchta, S.R. & A.M. Tan. 2006. Lineage diversification on an evolving landscape: phylogeography of the California newt, Taricha torosa (Caudata: Salamandridae). Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society 89:213-239.

Kuchta, S.R. 2005. Experimental support for aposematic coloration in the salamander Ensatina eschscholtzii xanthoptica: implications for mimicry of Pacific newts. Copeia 2005(2):265-271.