Joanna Larson, PhD

Contact Information



B.A. Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, 2011

PhD Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, 2020



As an evolutionary biologist and herpetologist, I am interested in the diversification, phenotypic evolution, and community ecology of amphibians and reptiles. In my dissertation research, I applied phylogenetic comparative methods to large morphological and diet datasets that I collected to test between mechanisms structuring frog diversity across space and time. As a Moreau Postdoctoral Fellow, I am investigating how the intestinal microbial community varies across the frog tree of life and how this variation correlates with ecological differences between species and the health of individuals.


Recent Publications

Zimkus, B.M., V. Baláž, A.M. Belasen, R.C. Bell, A. Channing, J. Doumbia, E. Fokam, L.N. Gonwouo, E. Greenbaum, V. Gvoždík, M. Hirschfeld, K. Jackson, T. James, C. Kusamba, J. G. Larson, L.-B. Mavoungou, M.-O. Rödel, A.-G. Zassi-Boulou, and J. Penner. 2020. Chytrid pathogen (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) in African amphibians: a continental analysis of occurrences and modeling of its potential distribution. Herpetologica, 76(2): 201-215.


Moore, T.Y, S. Danforth, J.G. Larson, and A.R. Davis Rabosky. 2020. A quantitative analysis of Micrurus coral snakes reveals unexpected variation in stereotyped anti-predator displays within a mimicry system. Integrative Organismal Biology, 2(1):


Russell, I.D.R, J.G. Larson, R.V. May, I.A. Holmes, T.Y. James, and A.R. Davis Rabosky. 2019. Chytrid in the lowlands: widespread fungal infection across frogs in the Peruvian Amazon suggests critical role for low elevation in pathogen spread and persistence. PLoS ONE 14(10): e0222718


May, R.V., E. Biggi, H. Cárdenas, M.I. Diaz, C. Alarcón, V. Herrera, R. Santa-Cruz, F. Tomasinelli, E. Westeen, C. M. Sánchez-Paredes, J.G. Larson, P. Title, M.R. Grundler, M.C. Grundler, A.R. Davis Rabosky, and D.L. Rabosky. 2019. Ecological interactions between arthropods and small vertebrates in a lowland Amazon rainforest. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, 13: 65-77.


Larson, J.G. and B.M. Zimkus. 2018. Preliminary assessment of the amphibians from three sites adjacent to national parks in Gabon. Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 13(1): 240–256.