Jennifer Purrenhage, Ph.D.

Jennifer Purrenhage, Ph.D.


Areas of Interest

  • Conservation Biology
  • Amphibian Ecology and Conservation
  • Conservation Ethics and Environmental Worldviews
  • Pedagogical Content Knowledge in Science Education


  • 2009   Ph.D., Miami University – Zoology; Program in Ecology
  • 2004   M.S., University of Akron – Biology
  • 2004   Graduate Certificate, University of Akron – Postsecondary Education
  • 1998   B.S., University of Wisconsin – Wildlife Ecology; Biological Aspects of Conservation

    Teaching Responsibilities

  • NR 435/NR 435H: Contemporary Conservation Issues & Environmental Awareness
  • IA 401: International Perspectives - Global Environmental Science
  • NR 650: Principles of Conservation Biology (Spring 2013)

    Selected Service Activities

  • Member, University Committee on International Studies (2011 - present)
  • Advisor, International Affairs Dual-Major
  • Moderator & Judge, Undergraduate Research Conference (2012 – present)
  • Speaker, CETL Inquiry Training for Teaching Assistants (2010 - present)

    Research Area

  • My graduate and postdoctoral research focused on the impacts of variations in aquatic and terrestrial habitat quality on pond-breeding amphibians (mostly spotted salamanders and American toads), and was always conceived in a conservation context. I have used a wide range of experimental approaches---from molecular analyses and small-scale behavioral studies to large, landscape-scale field experiments---to study the ecological implications of habitat alteration for amphibians. Past research topics include: the effects of landscape composition on the genetic population structure of salamanders; the importance of aquatic vegetation structure in mediating biotic interactions of pond-breeding amphibians; differential growth, locomotor performance, and survival of larval and juvenile amphibians from shaded and open-canopy ponds; and the importance of wetland hydroperiod and upland forest buffers for vernal pool-breeding amphibians. By observing how populations and communities respond along environmental gradients (e.g., hydroperiod, canopy cover), and in the presence of multiple stressors (e.g., predation pressure, pesticide exposure), we can: (1) deepen our understanding of how systems function and (2) make predictions about how communities will respond to future environmental alterations caused by global climate change and changes in land use.

    Selected Publications

  • Davis MJ, Purrenhage JL, Boone MD. (2012) Elucidating predator–prey interactions using aquatic microcosms: Complex effects of a crayfish predator, vegetation, and atrazine on tadpole survival and behavior. J. of Herpetology 46: 527-534.
  • Freidenfelds NA, Purrenhage JL, Babbitt KJ. (2011) The effects of clearcuts and forest buffer size on post-breeding emigration of adult wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus). Forest Ecology and Management 261: 2115-2122.
  • Greenwald KR, Purrenhage JL, Savage W. (2009) Landcover predicts isolation in Ambystoma salamanders across region and species. Biological Conservation 142: 2493-2500.
  • Purrenhage JL, Boone MD. (2009) Amphibian community response to variation in habitat structure and competitor density. Herpetologica 65: 14-30.
  • Purrenhage JL, Niewiarowski PH, Moore FB-G. (2009) Population structure of spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) in a fragmented landscape. Molecular Ecology 18: 235-247.
Jennifer Purrenhage
James Hall, Room 156
Durham, NH 03824