Roger Birkhead Curator

Joined: Jun 18, 2017 Last Active: Sep 21, 2021 iNaturalist Monthly Supporter since December 2019

I have spent my entire life wandering around in the woods. I spent my formative years as an indentured field assistant to my dad who is an ichthyologist. Went to Berry College in Rome GA for my undergraduate degree and nearly became a botanist, but ultimately my love for turtles and snakes won out. I spent several years doing biological consulting work then became a field assistant at the Jones Ecological Research station in SW Georgia. I ended up doing my master's work there through Auburn University on seed dispersal by gopher tortoises. I am currently an education/outreach specialist for a state science program for public high schools and am based at Auburn University. The fauna and flora of the southeastern US are my main interest areas but I enjoy all natural history. Box turtles and gopher tortoises are the taxa I am most interested in.

Selected publications:
Martin BT, Chafin TK, Douglas MR, Placyk JS Jr, Birkhead RD, Phillips CA, Douglas ME. 2021. The choices we make and the impacts they have: Machine learning and species delimitation in North American box turtles (Terrapene spp.). Mol Ecol Resour. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/1755-0998.13350

Bradley T. Martin, Tyler K. Chafin, Marlis R. Douglas, John S. Placyk Jr., Roger D. Birkhead, Chris A. Phillips, Michael E. Douglas. 2020. Machine learning substantiates biologically meaningful species delimitations in the phylogenetically complex North American box turtle genus Terrapene. bioRxiv 2020.05.19.103598; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.05.19.103598

Bradley T. Martin, Marlis R. Douglas, Tyler K. Chafin, John S. Placyk Jr., Roger D. Birkhead, Chris A. Phillips, Michael E. Douglas. 2020. Contrasting signatures of introgression in North American box turtle (Terrapene spp.) contact zones Molecular Ecology. 2020;00:1–17.; doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.15622

Martin, B. T., Bernstein, N. P., Birkhead, R. D., Koukl, J. F., Mussmann, S. M., & Placyk, J. S. 2013. Sequence-based molecular phylogenetics and phylogeography of the American box turtles (Terrapene spp.) with support from DNA barcoding. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 68(1), 119-134.

Sean P Graham, David A Steen, Craig Guyer, Roger D Birkhead. 2012. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Tuskegee National Forest, Macon County, Alabama. Bulletin of the Alabama Museum of Natural History. 29: 1-59. https://almnh.museums.ua.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2018/12/BALMNH_No_29_2012.pdf

Joshua R Ennen, Brian R Kreiser, Carl P Qualls, Daniel Gaillard, Matthew Aresco, Roger Birkhead, Tracey D Tuberville, Earl D McCoy, Henry Mushinsky, Thomas W'Bill' Hentges, and Aaron Schrey. 2012. Mitochondrial DNA Assessment of the Phylogeography of the Gopher Tortoise. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 3 (1): 110-122.

Koons, D.N., R. D. Birkhead, S.M. Boback, M. I. Williams, and M.P. Greene. 2009. Survival and detection probability of Cottonmouths (Agkistrodon piscivorus) in an Alabama swamp: the effect of body size. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 4(2):221-235

Birkhead, R. D., C. Guyer, S. M. Hermann and W. K. Michener. 2005. Species composition and seasonal abundance of seeds ingested by gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) in a southeastern pine savanna. The American Midland Naturalist, Vol. 154 (1): 143–151.

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