Undergraduate Work

Undergraduate Research

Cannibalism in larval ringed salamanders

  • Detection of chemical cues from cannibalistic larvae and the response from non-cannibals

Seasonal ecology of gray bats

  • Sex ratios differed in arrival times and departure times from their hibernacula

Publication: D.M. Green and L. W. Robbins (2020) Seasonal sex ratio variation of Gray Bats (Myotis grisescens) at a hibernaculum. The Northeastern Naturalist 27 (4): 649-655.

Circadian rhythm shift in the nine-banded armadillo

  • Armadillos shift from nocturnal activity to diurnal activity, possibly as a mechanism to avoid the cold winter temperatures at night

Publication: Green, E.N., D.M. Green, S.P. Maher, L.W. Robbins. (2017) Seasonal circadian rhythm shift and lunar chronobiology of the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus). The Southeastern Naturalist 61(3): 251-256.

Ambystoma annulatum

A slender and elongated salamander, usually with 15 rib-like grooves on the sides. The head and neck are somewhat elongated compared to its close relatives. Above, the ground color ranges from dark brown to black. The belly is normally buff-yellow. Sides of the belly are covered with white and black mottling. A series of pale (dull white to yellow) rings usually extends over the back but may be broken at the midline. The rings never completely encircle the body.


Usually hides under logs and rocks or in burrows made by small mammals, seldom venturing into the open and preferring heavily forested areas. In the autumn, stimulated by heavy rains and cool temperatures, they travel by night to fishless woodland ponds, where they may congregate by the hundreds for breeding.

Myotis grisescens

The gray myotis, or gray bat, is one of the largest myotis (mouse-eared) bats. Gray myotises are hard to distinguish from their myotis cousins. Gray myotises have grayer fur; it is a uniform brownish gray most of the year, turning a light rusty brown in summer. Other myotises have bi- or tricolored fur, with the tips of each strand contrasting with the base. The gray myotis’s ears and wing membranes are gray to black. Its key identifying feature is wings that attach to the ankle and not at the base of the toes. The gray myotis also has a distinct notch on the inside curve of each claw.


This species once flourished in limestone caves, especially caves within two miles of rivers, streams, or lakes. Conservation efforts include protecting known gray myotis wintering and nursery caves from disturbance, reducing the use of pesticides (which not only affect their prey but also accumulate in the bat's tissues and mother's milk), and maintaining wooded corridors along streams. White-nose syndrome, a deadly fungal disease, is a new and grave threat to this species' survival.

Dasypus novemcinctus

It does not have furry skin; instead, it has hair only between hardened plates of skin that nearly encompass the body. There are two large plates with a series of 9 smaller moveable “girdles” or “bands” around the midsection. The head, short legs, and tail are covered with plates. The toes have well-developed claws. Overall color is mottled dark brown to yellowish white.


A variety of terrestrial habitats are used, but they seem to prefer oak-hickory or shortleaf pine forests. Because they dig burrows in the ground, they select wooded bottomlands, brushy areas, and fields with ground cover and loose soil. Their sight and hearing are poor, and they have the unusual habit of jumping upright when frightened, which explains why so many are hit by automobiles. They can run fast when pursued, and though their shell protects them somewhat, they cannot curl into a ball.