Chris Beachy, Professor and Head, Dept. of Biological Sciences, Southeastern Louisiana University, BA College of Wooster, 1986, MS Western Carolina University, 1988, PhD University of Louisiana, Lafayette, 1992

After 20 wonderful years in the northern Great Plains, Beachy decided to trade one extreme climate for another and returned to south Louisiana in 2013. Beachy enjoys hanging with his family, doing larval amphibian biology and watching and playing soccer.

CV (pdf)

at Southeastern

at ReseachGate

at GoogleScholar



Emily Bierbaum, BS, Iowa State University, 2017

Emily grew up in West Des Moines and attended Iowa State University. She graduated with her BS in Biology and Animal Ecology. Emily is examining skeletal variation within the bizarre salamander genus Amphiuma (that’s A. tridactylum, the Three-toed Amphiuma, in this photo) and across families of salamanders. She is co-advised by Beachy and Raul Diaz, a developmental morphologist here at Southeastern.


Juan Manuel Pacheco Molina, BS, University of El Salvador, 2009

Juan is testing the effect of probiotics on gut microbiomes in the axolotl, Ambystoma mexicanum. Further, he is exploring how a difference in gut microbiome affects several aspects of development, including skin response to wounding and differential allocation to metamorphosis, storage and reproduction. Juan grew up in Libertad and is in his second year at Southeastern. He has extensive background in microbiology, chemistry and pharmacy (he is a licensed pharmacist in El Salvador). Juan also speaks four languages!

Chris Cannon, BS, Southeast Missouri State University, 2018


Chris is on twitter: @Chris_L_Cannon

Chris is working on facultative paedomorphosis in the Eastern Newt, Notophthalmus viridescens. This salamander is remarkable in that there are two metamorphoses! (See the part about not minding hard work.) He joins us after doing undergraduate research on Ambystoma maculatum eggs in Jon Davenport’s lab at SEMO. Chris spent the summer of 2018 chasing Alligator Snapping Turtles (yes, we know that this picture is NOT an Alligator Snapping Turtle). He likes doing outdoor biology and working hard (see above).



Taston Brookshire, BS, Southeastern Louisiana University, 2016, MS, Southeastern Louisiana University, 2018


Taston studied the impacts of several species of leaf litter on growth, survival and development of tadpoles of the Gulf Coast Toad, Incillius nebulifer. He continues to enjoy biostatistics, math and modeling. Taston is now working for Elos Environmental. And he also continues to dig hanging with his wife and two kids. (Taz also has mad skills in graffiti art!)

James Erdmann, BS, University of Wyoming, 2015, MS, Southeastern Louisiana University, 2017. 


James is an outstanding naturalist and enjoys all biology. In his thesis, he showed how toe vibrations by the Gulf Coast Toad, Incillius nebulifer, are used to affect prey behavior and increase predator efficiency. Watch his July 2017 thesis defense on youtube.

After graduation, he spent a few months helping Kyle Piller's lab. Then after doing some conservation biology on the wonderful Wyoming Toad, Anaxyrus baxteri, James is now working as a research technician for the U. Wyoming on the adorable Spotted Skunk.

James’ CV

James website


Melanie Partin, BS, Arkansas State University, 2009, MS, Southeastern Louisiana University, 2017.

Melanie has experience in combining field biology with endocrinology. In her thesis, she explored local variables that influence stress during calling Cope's Grey Treefrog, Dryophytes chrysocelis. After traveling, she plans to continue this work in conservation efforts. 

Melanie has gone bigger than any of us: she has shifted from these small adorable frogs and is now chasing King Cobras as part of the Sakaerat Conservation and Snake Education team in Thailand! If you need someone with a sense of adventure as part of your team, Mel is the one!