Geoff Smith

Geoff Smith

Professor of Biology
Position Type
- Present
B.A., Earlham College; Ph.D., University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Learning & Teaching

  • W101 Writing Workshop - A Citizen’s Guide to Climate Change
  • BIOL220 Multicellular Life
  • BIOL230 Ecology and Evolution
  • BIOL313 Vertebrate Zoology
  • BIOL375 Population and Community Ecology
Academic Positions
  • Professor, Department of Biology at Denison University, 2013 - present
  • Henry Chisholm Chair in the Natural Sciences at Denison University, 2010-2015
  • Associate Professor, Department of Biology at Denison University, 2006-2013
  • 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


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.




  • Lemos-Espinal, J.A., G.R. Smith, and A. Cruz. 2018. Amphibians and Reptiles of Nuevo León. ECO Herpetological Publishing, Rodeo, NM.
  • Lemos-Espinal, J.A., G.R. Smith, and G.A. Woolrich-Piña. 2012. The Family Xenosauridae in Mexico. ECO Herpetological Publishing, Rodeo, NM.
  • Ballinger, R.E., J.D. Lynch, and G.R. Smith. 2010. Amphibians and Reptiles of Nebraska. Rusty Lizard Press, Oro Valley, AZ.

Selected Scientific Articles:

  • Smith, G.R. 2018. Does removal of invasive Garlic Mustard affect Eastern Red-backed salamanders? Ecol. Restor. 36: 113-115.
  • Estrella Zamora, A.B., G.R. Smith, J.A. Lemos-Espinal, G.A. Woolrich-Piña, and R. Montoya Ayala. 2018. Effects of nonnative Rainbow Trout on two species of endemic Mexican amphibians. Freshw. Sci. 37: 389-396.
  • Smith, G.R., S.V. Krishnamurthy, A.C. Burger, and J.E. Rettig. 2018. Effects of malathion and nitrate exposure on the zooplankton community in experimental mesocosms. Environ. Sci. Poll. Res. 25: 9992-9997.
  • Smith, G.R., J.E. Rettig, and J.B. Iverson. 2017. Is righting response lateralized in two species of freshwater turtles? Behaviour 154: 1069-1079.
  • Woolrich-Piña, G.A., G.R. Smith, R.A. Benítez-Tadeo, J.A. Lemos-Espinal, and M. Morales-Garza. 2017. Effects of salinity and density on tadpoles of Incilius occidentalis from Oaxaca, Mexico. Copeia 105: 43-45.
  • Smith, G.R., and J.B. Iverson. 2016. Effects of tourism on body size, growth, condition, and demography in the Allen Cay Iguana, Cyclura cychlura inornata, on Leaf Cay, The Bahamas. pp. 214-221 In: J.B. Iverson, T.D. Grant, C.R. Knapp, and S.A. Pasachnik, eds. Iguanas: Biology, Systematics, and Conservation. Herpetol. Conserv. Biol. 11(Monograph 6).
  • Smith, G.R., A.A. BurgettDU, K.G. TempleDU, and K.A. SparksDU. 2016. Differential effects of bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus) on two fish-tolerant species of tadpoles (Anaxyrus americanus and Lithobates catesbeianus). Hydrobiologia 773: 77-86.
  • Smith, G.R., and J.A. Lemos-Espinal. 2015. Herpetofaunal diversity of the United States – Mexico Border states. pp. 196-205. In J.A. Lemos-Espinal, ed. Amphibians and Reptiles of the US-Mexico Border States. Texas A&M University Press, College Station, TX.
  • Smith, G.R., T. Johnson, and W.O. Smith. 2015. Effects of colour morph and season on the dehydration and rehydration rates of Plethodon cinereus. Amphibia-Reptilia 36: 170-174.
  • Smith, G.R., C.J. Dibble, A.J. Terlecky, C.B. Dayer, A.B. Burner, and M.E. Ogle. 2013. Effects of invasive Western Mosquitofish and ammonium nitrate on Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans) tadpoles. Copeia 2013: 248-253.

Selected Presentations:

  • Woolrich-Piña, G.A., R.A. Lara-Resendiz, F.R. Méndez-de la Criz, N. Martínez-Méndez, J.A. Lemos-Espinal, G.R. Smith, H. Gadsden-Esparza, B. Sinervo, and D. Miles. 2017. Susceptibilidad de la familia Xenosauridae (Squamata) en México ante el cambio climático. 5° Congreso Nacional de la Asociación para la Investigación y Conservación de los Anfibios y Reptiles, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
  • Reding, J.A., G.R. Smith, J.E. Rettig, R.N. Homan, D.J. Spieles, T.D. Schultz, A.C. McCall, and B.J. Sodergren. 2016. The Granville School Land Lab: A K-12/college/government teaching & research collaboration. Ecological Society of America meeting, Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
  • Smith, G.R., and J.J. Harmon. 2012. Influence of the invasive mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) on oviposition and colonization success of Gray Treefrogs (Hyla versicolor) in experimental mesocosms. Ohio Amphibian Research and Conservation Conference, Columbus, OH.
  • 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.


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; Acting Editor 2010-2011)

Associate Editor, Journal of Herpetology (1998 to 2005, 2010 - 2015)

Member, Iguana Specialist Group, IUCN (2013-present)

Doctoral Dissertation Committee Member, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico – Guillermo A. Woolrich-Piña (2010)

Reviewer: Acta Herpetologica, Acta Oecologica, Acta Zoologica Mexicana, American Midland Naturalist, Amphibia-Reptilia, Animal Biology, Animal Conservation, Applied Herpetology, Aquatic Ecology, Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, Asian Herpetological Research, Behavioral Ecology, Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Biologia, Biological Conservation, Biological Invasions, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, Biomarkers, Biopesticides International, BIOS, Canadian Journal of Zoology, Caribbean Journal of Science, Chemosphere, Chinese Journal of Oceanology and Limnology, Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Conservation Biology, Contemporary Herpetology, Copeia, Cuadernos de Herpetologia, Current Herpetology, Ecological Applications, Ecology, Ecology and Evolution, Écoscience, Ecotoxicology, Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, Endangered Species Research, Environmental Management and Assessment, Environmental Pollution, Environmental Science and Pollution Research, Environmental Science & Technology, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Ethology, Ethology, Ecology & Evolution, Evolution, Fishes, Functional Ecology, Freshwater Biology, Fundamental and Applied Limnology, Global Change Biology, Hamadryad, Herpetologica, Herpetological Conservation and Biology, Herpetological Journal, Herpetological Natural History, Herpetological Review, Hydrobiologia, Integrative Zoology, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Journal of Animal Ecology, Journal of Biogeography, Journal of Comparative Psychology, Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A, Journal of Freshwater Ecology, Journal of Herpetology, Journal of Insect Behavior, Journal of Natural History, Journal of North American Herpetology, Journal of Thermal Biology, Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Journal of Zoology, Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems, Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology, Marine & Freshwater Research, Northeastern Naturalist, Oecologia, Ohio Journal of Science, Oikos, PeerJ, Phyllomedusa, Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, Revista de Biologia Tropical, Salamandra, Science of the Total Environment, Southeastern Naturalist, Southwestern Naturalist, Toxicological and Environmental Chemistry, Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences, Western North American Naturalist, Wilson Journal, ZooKeys, Zoological Science, Zoological Studies, Zoologischer Anzeiger, Zoology and Ecology


Honors & Awards

Fellowships and Honors

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


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