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Lab of Dr. Mike Forstner


Michael Forstner

Michael Forstner, Ph.D.

 Lab: 512-245-9652
Phone: 512-245-3362
Fax: 512-245-8713


Department of Biology

Supple 284
Texas State University
601 University Drive
San Marcos, TX 78666

Research Interests

Vertebrate systematics and population genetics.  The majority of projects comprise genetic and physical surveys of endangered or threatened species and/or genera.  Much of the labs' current work is turtle phylogenetics and population biology.  However, other projects include phylogenetic investigations in squamates and primates, as well as, population level examinations in the lizard genera Cnemidophorus and Heloderma and the frog Syrrophus.

Courses Taught

BIO2450: Genetics [Syllabus]

BIO4299: Undergraduate research (contact me to discuss this opportunity)

BIO4369: Biosystematics

BIO5466: Phylogenetic Methods

BIO 5434: Herpetology

BIO7466: Advanced Phylogenetic methods

BIO7402: Molecular Field techniques [Syllabus]

Selected Recent Publications

PEER-REVIEWED CONTRIBUTIONS (Student first authors, first publications)


Bailey, L., M.R.J. Forstner, J.R. Dixon, and R. Hudson. (accepted Nov 18, 05, in press Apr 28, 06). The Status of Pseudemys gorzugi (The Rio Grande river cooter) in Texas River Systems. Proceedings of the 6th Symposium of the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute.

Bailey, L.A., J.R. Dixon, R. Hudson, and M.R. J. Forstner. (submitted Dec 1, 2006, accepted May 24, 2007). Distribution and genetic structure of Pseudemys gorzugi in Texas rivers. SWAN

Bryson, R., J. Pastorini, F. Burbrink, and M.R.J. Forstner. 2007. A phylogeny of the Lampropeltis mexicana complex (Serpentes:Colubridae) based on mitochondrial DNA sequences suggests evidence for species-level polyphyly within Lampropeltis. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 43:674-684.

Feltoon, A.R., C. Lehn, T. Guerra, and M.R.J. Forstner. 2007. Isolation and characterization of six microsatellites in the Mexican beaded lizard Heloderma horridum. Molecular Evolution Notes 7:433-435.

Ferguson, A.W., M. McDonough, and M.R.J. Forstner. (resubmitted June 25, 2006, accepted Aug 30, 2007). Herpetofaunal Inventory of Camp Mabry, Austin Texas: Density and Diversity in an Urban Landscape. Texas Journal of Science.

Forstner, M.R.J., J.R. Dixon, T.M. Guerra, J.M. Winters, J.N. Stuart, and S.K. Davis. (accepted Dec 9, 05, in press Apr 28, 06). Status of U.S. populations of the Big Bend slider (Trachemys gaigeae). Proceedings of the 6th Symposium of the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute.

Gaertner, J.P., D. Hahn, J. Jackson, F.L. Rose, and M.R.J. Forstner. (accepted 22 Aug 07). Detection of salmonellae in captive and free-living turtles. Journal of Herpetology.

Hahn, D., J. Gaertner, M.R.J. Forstner, and F. Rose. 2007. An efficient and sensitive molecular approach to detection of Salmonellae from turtles in a headwater spring ecosystem. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 60(1):148-155.

Jones, M.C., J. Troy, and M.R.J. Forstner. (submitted Feb 23 2006, in press? Nov 2006). Geographic Distribution. Crotalus atrox. Herpetological Review.

Jones, M.C., T.R. Simpson, R. Manning, and M.R.J. Forstner. (submitted Apr 10, 2006, accepted July 23, 2006). Texas shrews (Blarina) lacking external eye openings. Southeastern Naturalist.

Lehn, C., I. Das, M.R.J. Forstner, R. Brown. 2007. Responsible vouchering in turtle research: an introduction and recommendations. Chelonian Conservation and Biology: Chelonian Research Monographs 4:xxx-xxx.

McAllister, C.T., M.R.J. Forstner, and J.P. Fuller. 2007 Second report of the Southern Painted Turtle, Chrysemys dorsalis (TESTUDINES: EMYDIDAE), from Texas, with comments on its genetic relationship to other populations. Texas Journal of Science 59(1):0000-0000.

McCracken, S., M.R.J. Forstner, and J.R. Dixon. 2007. A new frog in the genus Eleuthrodactylus from the bromeliad canopy of Ecuador. Phyllomedusa 6(1):23-35.

Rosenthal, J. and M.R.J. Forstner. (accepted Nov 18, 05, in press Apr 28,06). Effects of a Pleistocene Barrier on Chihuahuan desert herpetofauna. Proceedings of the 6th Symposium of the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute.

Swannack, T.M. and M.R.J. Forstner. (accepted Jan 19, 2007). Adult Houston Toad (Bufo houstonensis) sex ratios on the Griffith League Ranch, Bastrop County, TX. SWAN 52(3):xxx-xxx

Syed, G.P., H. Ota, R. Hudson, K. Buhlman, and M.R.J. Forstner. (accepted Oct 25 2006, in press Dec 22 2006). Genetics and the application of captive breeding in the conservation of freshwater turtles and tortoises. Chelonian conservation and biology.

McHenry, D., S. McCracken, and M.R.J. Forstner. 2007. Geographic Distribution: Pseudemys texana. Herpetological Review. 38(2):217.


Theses Directed & Current Graduate Students


Current students:

James (Buddy) Gaertner (2004-Ph.D. exp 2011). The autecology of Salmonella. Texas State University, San Marcos, TX. Committee member.

Allana Welsh (Ph.D. exp 2009 (2005, candidacy 2007)). Microbial ecology of the soil bacteria, Frankia. Texas State University, San Marcos, TX. Committee member.

Brian Mealey (Ph.D. exp 2007 (2004, candidacy 2007)). Vertebrate ecology of the Florida Bay estuarine vertebrates. Florida Atlantic University. Davie, FL. Committee member.

Diana McHenry (Ph.D. exp 2008). Population genetics and endemism, the Houston toad and sympatric proxy in understanding its historical population dynamics. University of Missouri, Columbia, MO. Co-Chair.

Jake Jackson (Ph.D. exp 2008). Consequences of anthropogenic changes in the Rio Grande drainage on vertebrate community composition and population dynamics. Texas State University, San Marcos, TX. Chair.

Rozihan Mohamed (Ph.D. exp 2008). The development and application of mitochondrial DNA and DNA microsatellite markers for the Horseshoe crab (Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda) in Malaysia. University Kebangsaan Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Committee member.

Shawn McCracken (Ph.D. exp 2009). Modeling hydrologic patterns correlated with diversity in tropical amphibians. Texas State University, San Marcos, TX. Chair.




Vincent Farallo (M.Sc. 2007-exp 2009). TBD. Texas State University. San Marcos, TX. Chair.

Holly Brady (M.Sc. 2007-exp2009). TBD. Texas State University. San Marcos, TX. Chair.

Akiko Fujii (M.Sc. 2006-exp 2008). Conservation genetics in Texas tortoises (Gopherus berlandieri). Texas State University. San Marcos, TX. Chair.

Adriana Pérez (M.Sc. 2006-exp 2008). Genetic variability and phylogenetics of Heloderma horridum charlesbogerti (Sauria : Helodermatidae) wild caught and captive individuals using microsatellites: relationships and implications for its conservation. Universidad de Costa Rica. San Jose, Costa Rica. Co-Chair.

Michele Gaston (M.Sc. {2001}2006-exp 2007). Are common reptile and amphibian taxa also in decline? Texas State University, San Marcos, TX. Chair.

Daniela Buzo (M.Sc. 2006-exp 2008). Conservation stewardship using GIS modeling and tools in habitat characterization of the Houston toad. Texas State University. San Marcos, TX. Chair.

Laura Villalobos (M.Sc. 2005-exp 2008). Field ecological approaches in low detection endangered species. Texas State University. San Marcos, TX. Chair.

Julie Parlos (M.Sc. 2005-exp 2007). Effects of roost size on the metapopulation genetics in microchiropterans. Texas State University. San Marcos, TX. Chair.

Jim Bell (M.Sc. 2005-exp 2007). Detection of rare fauna using automated and molecular techniques. Texas State University. San Marcos, TX. Chair.