Jen Sheridan







My research interests can be broadly defined as tropical conservation biology. I utilize frogs as study organisms because of their fascinating biology: as a taxonomic group they are well adapted to almost every environment, able to tolerate freezing and desert droughts, but at the species level they are extremely sensitive to environmental changes. This makes them well-suited to studies of evolution, ecology, and conservation.

I joined Dr. Bickford’s lab as a post-doctoral research fellow in July 2009. Starting in May 2010, and continuing through March 2011, I have been conducting field work in Sabah, Sarawak, and Thailand, replicating abundance and diversity studies that were conducted 23-80 years ago. Our goals are to determine:


1) whether current levels of anuran abundance and diversity differ significantly from historical surveys and


2) whether changes in abundance and diversity are correlated with changes in temperature, rainfall, net primary productivity, and land cover.

In addition to our main project, we are examining changes in body size due to climate change. A number of studies have reported shrinking size of organisms across all taxonomic levels, and we’re currently conducting the first study on changes in SE Asian anurans. We hope to secure funding to pursue studies of the mechanisms behind this widespread pattern, to examine how shrinkage affects multiple trophic levels, and how the variable rates of shrinkage may affect ecosystems.

  Another component of my work is community education and scientific outreach. At most of our field sites, we have developed education programs with field station staff and we teach visiting school groups about frogs in general, and our research specifically. Additionally, I have maintained a blog aimed to inform students in the US about tropical biology and field work, with the hope that I can encourage others to pursue tropical field studies. I also enjoy natural history, focusing on my interests in acoustics and reproduction. In effect, we’re amassing a library of calls from each site, and counting every egg clutch we can get our hands on. We have found a number of new locality records, discovered unusual calling behavior in Rhacophorus appendiculatus, and observed interesting egg-laying patterns in Rhacophorus pardalis.

My future plans include establishing long-term monitoring of SE Asian herps, becoming more active in mitigating climate change, and reducing my impact on the planet while helping others do the same.





Sheridan, J.A., D. Bickford, K.F.Y. Su, and R. Meier. An examination of call and genetic variation in three wide-ranging Southeast Asian anuran species. In review. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. PDF


Bickford, D., S.D. Howard, D.J.J.Ng, and J.A. Sheridan. 2010. Impacts of climate change on the amphibians and reptiles of Southeast Asia. Biodiversity and Conservation. DOI 10.1007/s10531-010-9782-4. PDF


Sheridan, J.A. 2009. Reproductive variation corresponding to breeding season length in three tropical frog species. Journal of Tropical Ecology 25, 583–592. PDF


Sheridan, J.A. and J.F. Ocock. 2008. Parental care in Chiromantis hansenae (Anura, Rhacophoridae).  Copeia. (4) 733-736. PDF


Sheridan, J.A.  2008. Ecology and behavior of Polypedates lecuomystax (Anura: Rhacophoridae) in northeast Thailand. Herpetological Review. 39 (2) 165-169. PDF


McLeod, D.S., J.A. Sheridan, W. Jiraungkoorskul, and W. Khonsue. 2008. Survey for chytrid fungus in Thai amphibians. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 56 (1) 191-196. PDF


Sheridan, J.A., S.R. Beissinger, and C.R. Hughes. 2004. Weak association between measures of health and reproductive success in green-rumped parrotlets (Forpus passerinus) in Venezuela. The Auk 121(3):717-725. PDF