David Nelson's Research Area

My research interests are rooted in the ecology and natural history of vertebrates.   Specific projects focus on population ecology: geographic distribution, movements, reproduction, and conservation of reptiles and amphibians. Current research projects are as follow: 

1. Population ecology and conservation of the Alabama Red-bellied Turtle
2. Herpetological survey of the Upper Mobile/Tensaw Delta
3. Status of the Mississippi Diamondback Terrapin along coastal Alabama
4. Vertebrate road-kill survey along the Mobile Bay Causeway (US90/98)

Recent Publications

  • Nelson, D. H . and J. W. Gibbons. 1972.   Ecology, abundance and seasonal activity of the scarlet snake,Cemophora coccinea .   Copeia.   1972: 582-584.
  • Gibbons, J. W. and D. H. Nelson .   1978.   The evolutionary significance of delayed emergence from the nest by hatchling turtles.   Evolution 32: 297-303.
  • Nelson, D. H. and S. D. Carey. 1993.   Range extension of the Mediterranean gecko ( Hemidactylus turcicus ) along the northeast gulf coast of the United States.   Northeast Gulf Science 13 (1): 53-58.
  • Nelson, D. H. 1998.   Final Report: Population ecology of the Alabama Red-bellied Turtle ( Pseudemys alabamensis ).   Submitted to the Alabama Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources.
  • Nelson, D. H. and Turner, W. M. 2004. Alabama Red-bellied turtle (Pseudemys alabamensis). Pages 54-55 in Alabama Wildlife (Volume III), Imperiled Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals. Edited by R.E. Mirarchi, M.A. Bailey, T.M. Haggerty and T. L. Best. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, 225 p. 
  • Nelson, D. H. 2004. Eastern Coral Snake (Micrucus fulvius). Pages 72-73 in Alabama Wildlife (Volume III), Imperiled Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals. Edited by R.E. Mirarchi, M.A. Bailey, T.M. Haggerty and T. L. Best. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, 225 p.

Current Funding

2003. Nesting Activity in the Alabama Red-bellied Turtle. ACES/EPA.   ($25, 476)

2003-2004. Herpetological Inventory of the Upper Mobile Delta. Alabama Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources:State Lands. ($50, 000)

2004-2006.(CO- PI) Survey of Diamondback Terrapin Populations in Alabama Estuaries. ACES ($42,300)

Current Graduate Students:

Gabriel Langford is currently working in Population/community ecology and conservation of reptiles and amphibians, specially snakes!. He is also interested in ecotoxicology, exotic species biology and ecosystem ecology

Joel A. Borden is interested in reptile and amphibian ecology, with an emphasis on declining amphibians and estuarine reptiles

Current Graduate Publications/Presentations:

Langford, G. J., D. H. Nelson, and J. A. Borden. Nesting Ecology of the Alabama Red-bellied Turtle at Meaher State Park. Oral Presentation: 2004 Alabama Academy of Sciences.

Borden, J. A., D. H. Nelson, and G. J. Langford. Herpetological Inventory of the Upper Mobile-Tensaw Delta. Oral Presentation: 2004 Alabama Academy of Sciences.

Langford, G. J. and Borden J. A. Farancia abacura (Mud Snake). Courtship Behavior. Herpetological Review. (Accepted) .