Geoff Smith

Geoff Smith

Professor and Henry Chisholm Chair in the Natural Sciences, Amphibian Ecologist
Position Type 
2000 - Present
All Affiliations 


B.A., Earlham College; Ph.D., University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Learning & Teaching

Academic Positions 
  • Associate Professor, Department of Biology at Denison University, 2006 - present
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Biology at Denison University, 2000 - 2006
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Biology at William Jewell College, Liberty, MO, 1997 - 2000
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Biology at Earlham College, Richmond, IN, 1996 - 1997


Population and Community Ecologist — My research examines how the environment influences populations and communities, particularly of amphibians and reptiles. I am especially interested in how human-induced changes in the environment alter community-level interactions.

Broadly speaking, my research lies within the realm of ecology. In particular, I am interested in how individuals, populations, and communities are affected by their interactions with their environment, both the living and physical components. Much of my research program focuses on these questions as they pertain to reptiles and amphibians, and so some would identify me as a herpetologist. My research program also has become increasingly concerned with understanding how anthropogenic, or human-induced, alterations of the environment influence amphibians and reptiles. I am especially interested in examining how the introduction of non-native species and chemical pollutants affect amphibian and reptile individuals and communities.

I also collaborate with a colleague at the Universidad Nacional Autonomia de Mexico to study the ecology of Mexican reptiles and amphibians, and with a colleague at Earlham College (John Iverson) to study the ecology of turtles in Dewart Lake in northern Indiana and iguanas in Bahamas. I am very interested in including students in my research.


  • Ballinger, R.E., J.D. Lynch, and G.R. Smith. 2010. Amphibians and Reptiles of Nebraska. Rusty Lizard Press, Oro Valley, AZ.
  • Lemos-Espinal, J.A., G.R. Smith, and G.A. Woolrich-Piña. 2012. The Family Xenosauridae in Mexico. ECO Herpetological Publishing, Rodeo, NM.
  • Smith, G.R., and C.J. Dibble. 2012. Effects of an invasive fish (Gambusia affinis) and anthropogenic nutrient enrichment on American toad (Anaxyrus americanus) tadpoles. Journal of Herpetology. v. 46 p. 198-202
  • Smith, G.R., and A.A. Burgett. 2012. Interaction between two species of tadpoles mediated by nutrient enrichment. Herpetolgica. v. 68 p. 174-183
  • Li, Y., Z. Ke, S. Wang, G.R. Smith, and X. Liu. 2011. An exotic species is the favorite prey of a native enemy. PLoS ONE. v. 6 no. 9 p. e24299
  • Krishnamurthy, S.V., and G.R. Smith, and X. Liu. 2010. Growth, abnormalities, and mortality of free feeding tadpoles of American toad Bufo americanus exposed to combinations of malathion and nitrate. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. v. 29 no. p. 2777-2782
  • Smith, G.R., A. Boyd, C.B. Dayer, M.E. Ogle, A.J. Terlecky, and C.J. Dibble. 2010. Effects of sibship and the presence of multiple predators on the behavior of green frog (Rana clamitans) tadpoles. Ethology. v. 116 no. p. 217-225
  • Iverson, J.B., S.J. Converse, G.R. Smith, and J.M. Valiulis. 2006. Long-term trends in the demography of the Allen Cays Rock Iguana (Cyclura cychlura inornata): Human disturbance and density-dependent effects.. Biol. Conserv. . v. 132 no. p. 300-310
  • Smith, G.R., H.A. Dingfelder, and D.A. Vaala. 2004. Asymmetric competition between Rana clamitans and Hyla versicolor tadpoles. Oikos. v. 105 no. p. 626-632
  • Burger, A.C., G.R. Smith, and J.E. Rettig. . 2011. Competition between invasive mosquitofish and native bluegill sunfish. Ecological Society of America meeting. Austin, TX
  • Rettig, J.E. and G.R. Smith. 2008. Double duty courses: Using an ecology course to fulfill a general education requirement for oral communication. Ecological Society of America annual meeting. Milwaukee, WI
  • Smith, G.R.. 2008. Ecology's role in solving environmental problems: A module-based environmental science course for non-majors. Ecological Society of America meeting. Wilwaukee, WI
  • Smith, G.R., C.J. Dibble, and J.E. Rettig. 2008. Small fish, big effects: The impacts of mosquitofish and ammonium nitrate on tadpoles, zooplankton, and phytoplankton. Ecological Society of America. Milwaukee, WI
  • Dayer, C.B., C.J. Dibble, and G.R. Smith. 2007. Variation in American toad tadpole and metamorph performance among three ponds. Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. St. Louis, MO


Professional Memberships 
  • American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
  • British Herpetological Society
  • Ecological Society of America
  • Herpetologists’ League
  • International Reptile Conservation Foundation
  • Natural History Society of Maryland
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Sigma Xi
  • Societas Europae Herpetologica
  • Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
  • Southwestern Association of Naturalists
Professional Service (includes Denison Service) 

Editor, Journal of Herpetology 2006 - 2008, 2010 (Associate Editor from 1998-2005, 2010-present)

Reviewer: Acta Oecologica, American Midland Naturalist, Amphibia-Reptilia, Animal Biology, Animal Conservation, Applied Herpetology, Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, Behavioral Ecology, Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Biologia, Biological Conservation, Biological Invasions, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, Biopesticides International, BIOS, Canadian Journal of Zoology, Caribbean Journal of Science, Chemosphere, Chinese Journal of Oceanology and Limnology, Comparative Biochemistry and Physiolog, Conservation Biology, Contemporary Herpetology, Copeia, Cuadernos de Herpetologia, Ecological Applications, Ecology, Environmental Pollution, Environmental Science and Technology, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Ethology, Ethology, Ecology & Evolution, Functional Ecology, Fundamental and Applied Limnology, Global Change Biology, Hamadryad, Herpetologica, Herpetological Conservation and Biology, Herpetological Journal, Herpetological Natural History, Herpetological Review, Hydrobiologia, Journal of Animal Ecology, Journal of Comparative Psychology, Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A, Journal of Herpetology, Journal of Natural History, Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Journal of Zoology, Marine & Freshwater Research, Northeastern Naturalist, Oecologia, Ohio Journal of Science, Oikos, Phyllomedusa, Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, Revista de Biologia Tropical, Southwestern Naturalist, Toxicological and Environmental Chemistry, Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences, Western North American Naturalist, Zoological Science


Honors & Awards 

Fellowships and Honors

  • National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship
  • Presidential Fellowship, University of Nebraska