Rusty A. Gonser, Dept. of Biology, Indiana State University

Research Interests: population genetics; conservation biology; herpetology

Dr. Gonser's primary research interests focus on conservation of species due to loss of suitable habitat and continuing habitat fragmentation. More specifically, he studies proximate and ultimate aspects affecting population structure. This includes such factors as behavior, ecology, and evolution.

Dr. Gonser is currently studying gene flow and genetic diversity of the white-tailed deer, Odecoiles virginianus. White-tailed deer have a large, ubiquitous geographic distribution and are important to the North American ecosystem, as well as the economy. He is investigating the genetic structure of a reproductively isolated population of white-tailed deer in southern Maryland using mitochondrial DNA sequence. This population was originally colonized from a few individuals from Virginia.

Dr. Gonser's previous work examined the genetic structure of the Puerto Rican frog, Eleutherodactylus coqui, using molecular and behavioral techniques. He found that coquíes from eastern Puerto Rico are distinctly different than coquíes from western Puerto Rico, indicating that the two populations have become isolated over recent evolutionary time. As part of this research, Dr. Gonser has developed a technique for the utilization of amphibian toe-clips as important sources of genetic information (e.g. DNA sequence), which can be collected without detrimental effects on the population.

Selected Publications:

Formica VA, Gonser RA, Ramsay S, Tuttle EM. Spatial dynamics of alternative reproductive strategies: The role of neighbors. Ecology 85 (4): 1125-1136 APR 2004 PDF (1.03MB)

Gonser, R., P. Donnelly, G. Nicholson, et al. 2000. Microsatellite mutations and inferences about human demography. Genetics 154: 1793-1807.

Gonser, R. A. and R. V. Collura. 1996. Waste not, want not: toe-clips as a source of DNA. Journal of Herpetology 30: 445-447.

Gonser, R. A. and L. L. Woolbright. 1995. Homing behavior of the Puerto Rican frog, Eleutherodactylus coqui. Journal of Herpetology 29: 481-484.

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