Sharyn Marks Ph.D.

Professor - Zoology

Sharyn B. Marks with a white bird on her hand
(707) 826-5560
SciB 229

Research Interests: Herpetology, conservation biology, and evolutionary developmental biology


BA (1987) University of Chicago
PhD (1995) University of California, Berkeley

Courses Taught

Introductory Zoology
Science 100
Methods of Laboratory Instruction


Integrating Studies of Ecology with the Management of Natural Resources to Promote Amphibian and Reptile Population Viability:

It is well documented that there have been and continue to be severe declines in amphibian and reptile diversity worldwide. Although there is likely no single cause that explains all declines, it is clear that human activities are responsible. Government agencies have a strong interest in managing public lands such that  biodiversity is maintained or improved over current levels. However, managers are handicapped by our lack of knowledge of the natural history and ecology of many amphibian and reptile species. My research program, involving graduate students and undergraduates, investigates the ecology of various (primarily local) species of amphibians and reptiles. I have been able to secure funding for many student projects while still pursuing my interest in basic biological questions such as (1) What are the environmental factors that regulate amphibian activities? (2) How do we predict the distribution of species on a landscape scale? and, (3) How do the habitat requirements of an individual species vary over its life cycle? By integrating knowledge of amphibian and reptile ecology with information on the mechanisms of their declines, land managers can develop effective plans for maintaining biodiversity. I am conducting much of this research in collaboration with graduate students.


    • Hecker, L.J., W.T Bean & S.B. Marks. 2020. Compensatory microhabitat selection by Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus oreganus) in a cool and wet macroclimate. Journal of Herpetology, 54(1), 39-49.
    • Brown, C.E., J. Campbell-Spickler, S.B. Marks & J.O. Reiss. 2018. Aneides vagrans is absent from angiosperm crowns in an old-growth redwood forest. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 13:533–538.
    • Groff, L.A., S.B. Marks, & M.P. Hayes. 2014. Using ecological niche models to direct rare amphibian surveys: a case study using the Oregon spotted frog (Rana pretiosa). Herpetological Conservation & Biology 9: 354-368.
    • Gottscho, A. D., S. Marks, & W.B. Jennings. 2014. Speciation, population structure, and demographic history of the Mojave Fringe-toed Lizard (Uma scoparia), a species of conservation concern. Ecology and Evolution, 4(12): 2546-2562.
    • Bondi, C.A. & S.B. Marks. 2013. Differences in flow regime influence the seasonal migrations, body size, and body condition of Western Pond Turtles (Actinemys marmorata) that inhabit perennial and intermittent riverine sites in northern California." Copeia 2013: 142-153. (This manuscript was recognized as the Best Student Paper in Herpetology in 2013 by the journal Copeia.)
    • Vandergast, A. G., R. D. Inman, K. R. Barr, K. Nussear, T. Esque, S. A. Hathaway, D. A. Wood, P. A. Medica, J. W. Breinholt, C. L. Stephen, A. D. Gottscho, S. B. Marks, W. B. Jennings, & R. N. Fisher. 2013. Evolutionary hotspots in the Mojave Desert. Diversity: 5(2):293-319.
    • Reilly, S.B., S.B. Marks, & W.B. Jennings. 2012. Defining evolutionary boundaries across parapatric ecomorphs of black salamanders (Aneides flavipunctatus) with conservation implications. Molecular Ecology: 21, 5745-5761.
    • Spickler, J.C., S.C. Sillett, S.B. Marks, and H.H. Welsh, Jr. 2006. Evidence of a new niche for a North American salamander: Aneides vagrans residing in the canopy of old-growth redwood forest. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 1: 16-26.
    • Ashton, D.T., Marks, S.B., and H.H. Welsh, Jr. 2006. Evidence of continued effects from timber harvesting on lotic amphibians in redwood forests of northwestern California. Forest Ecology and Management 221: 183-193.

                    Graduate Students

                    Current: Sabrina Horrack, Mary Mackey, Stacie Nunes

                    Former: Don Ashton, Cheryl Bondi, Ryan Bourque, Jennifer Cary, Madeline Cooper, Helen Fitting, Andy Gottscho (co-advised w/ Dr. Bryan Jennings), Luke Groff, Lee Hecker, Miranda Haggarty, Andrea Herman, Sean Reilly (co-advised w/ Dr. Bryan Jennings), Lauren Smith, Leah Sloan, Jim Spickler