Harper, Dr. Elizabeth

Assistant Professor of Natural Resources Ecology
207 Freer
(518) 327-6254


I grew up in the suburbs of Kansas City but always found a way to discover wild places near my home. Tracking mammals and catching frogs were some of my earliest experiences with wildlife.

After high school I decided to pursue biology at Middlebury College in Vermont. My interactions with the faculty there gave me the opportunity to gain a wide range of research experience from studies of pollination ecology to coral reefs in Panama.

With support from a Watson Fellowship, I spent my first year after graduation traveling to Thailand, Australia, Tanzania and Venezuela to study frogs and develop amphibian field guides.

I continued my research on amphibians as a Ph.D. student at the University of Missouri where I studied the effects of forestry practices on amphibian population dynamics. This project led to a post-doctoral position at SUNY-ESF where I developed computer simulations of amphibian population dynamics and became involved in a second post-doctoral position modeling the population dynamics of Fremont cottonwood populations in California's Central Valley.

Since joining the faculty here at Paul Smith's College, I have enjoyed the opportunity to bring my research experience into the classroom. Our unique setting in a 6 million acre protected area provides a stunning landscape in which to teach about and understand the world around us. I love that I can walk my students out the door for an afternoon lab of mammal trapping or wetland mapping.

Interests and Activities

I am currently collaborating with the Center for Adirondack Biodiversity, housed on the Paul Smith's campus, to conduct research on climate effects on mink frogs in the Adirondack Park. I also continue to collaborate with colleagues from SUNY-ESF and the University of Idaho on computer simulations of population dynamics and natural resource use.

Academic Background

2007 Ph.D. University of Missouri Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
2001 B.S. Middlebury College Biology

2012 Patrick, D. A., Harper, E. B., Popescu, D. V., Bozic, Z., Byrne, A., Daub, J., LeCheminant, A., and Pierce
The ecology of the mink frog, Lithobates septentrionalis, in the Adirondack Park, New York, with notes on conducting experimental research. Herpetological Review 43(3): 396-398.
2011 Harper, E.B., J. Stella, A. Fremier
Global sensitivity analysis for complex ecological models: A case study of riparian cottonwood population dynamics. Ecological Applications 21(4): 1225 – 1240.
2011 Patrick, D.A., Shirk, P., Vonesh, J.R., Harper, E.B., Howell, K.M.
Abundance and Roosting Ecology of Chameleons in the East Usambara Mountains of Tanzania and the Potential Effects of Harvesting. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 6(3): 422-431.
2010 Harper, E. B., Measey, G. J., Patrick, D. A., Menegon, M., and Vonesh, J. R.
Field guide to the amphibians of the Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests of Tanzania and Kenya. Camerapix Publishers International.
2009 Harper, E.B., J.H.K Pechmann, and J.W. Petranka
Field enclosures and terrestrial cages. (pg. 203 – 226) In: C.K. Dodd, Jr. (ed.) Amphibian Ecology and Conservation: A Handbook of Techniques. Oxford University Press.
2009 Semlitsch, R.D., S.M. Blomquist, A.J.K. Calhoun, J.W. Gibbons, J.P. Gibbs, G.J.Graeter, E.B. Harper, D.J. Hocking, M.L. Hunter, Jr., D.A. Patrick, T.A.G. Rittenhouse, B.B. Rothermel, and B.D. Todd
Effects of timber management on amphibian populations: Understanding mechanisms from forest experiments. BioScience 59(10):853 - 862.
2008 Rittenhouse, T. A. G., E. B. Harper, L. R. Rehard, and R. D. Semlitsch
The role of microhabitats in the desiccation and survival of amphibians in recently harvested oak-hickory forest. Copeia 2008(4):807 - 814.
2008 Harper, E.B., Rittenhouse, T.A.G., and Semlitsch, R.D.
Demographic consequences of terrestrial habitat loss for pool-breeding amphibians: predicting extinction risks associated with inadequate buffer zone size. Conservation Biology 22(5):1205 – 1215.
2008 Patrick, D. A., E. B. Harper, M. L. Hunter, Jr., and A. J. K. Calhoun
Terrestrial habitat selection and strong density-dependent mortality in recently metamorphosed amphibians. Ecology. 89(8):2563 – 2574
2008 Hocking, D.J., Rittenhouse, T.A.G., Rothermel, B.B., Johnson, J.R., Conner, C.A., Harper, E.B., Semlitsch, R.D.
Breeding and recruitment phenology of amphibians in Missouri oak-hickory forests. American Midland Naturalist. 160:41 – 60.
2008 Semlitsch, R.D., Conner, C.A., Hocking, D.J., Rittenhouse, T.A.G., and Harper, E.B.
Effects of timber harvesting on pond-breeding amphibian persistence: testing the evacuation hypothesis. Ecological Applications. 18(2):283 – 289.
2007 Harper, E. B., and R.D. Semlitsch.
Terrestrial stage density-dependence in the complex life cycle of two anurans. Oecologia. 153: 879 – 889.
Courses Taught

BIO 210 General Ecology
FWS 101 Introduction to Fisheries and Wildlife Labs
FWS 105 Introduction to Wildlife Management
FWS 470 Wildlife Management
SUS 101 Ecological Foundations of Sustainability


Paul Smith's College
7833 New York 30
Paul Smiths, NY 12970

(518) 327-6227
(800) 421-2605



© Paul Smith's College 2015