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About Ryan Kerney

I am an organismal biologist, specializing on the ecology, evolution, and development of amphibians. My work builds on a rich history of researchers working on this group; who have provided insights into many fundamental biological processes.
Why study frogs, salamanders and caecilians? The group is often under-appreciated by the public, despite their fascinating diversity and critical ecological roles. Amphibians are interesting developmentally because of their diverse life histories, which includes metamorphosis among many others. Amphibians are important ecologically because they are in peril. Recent global declines in amphibian populations provide a frightening example of the effects of global change on biological diversity. Amphibians are a great topic of study for students because they are local. While my research has taken me to every continent (except Antarctica), I most enjoy learning about the animals found in local forests. The east coast of America contains a terrific diversity of amphibians. These continue answer to a wide range of biological questions, provided we know how to ask.
My work includes researching the diversity of skeletal development, the formation of “vestigial” structures, symbioses between salamander embryos and green algae, limb development, lung development, and descriptive morphology.
I also have worked extensively on science policy through the American Association for the Advancement of Science. My academic interest in science policy includes both the measurement of research and development impacts on society, and environmental and energy policy that addresses global changes that are attributable to human activity.


Present Faculty Member, Gettysburg College

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symbiosis (2)

evolution and development (2)

direct development (1)

Dollo's law (1)

embryology (1)

Xenopus laevis (2)

novelty (1)

transgenics (1)

No Subject Area (3)