Sky is a Masters student in the Hopkins Lab. His interests are broadly focused on using community, reproductive, physiological, and climate change ecology research on amphibians and reptiles as tools to inform more efficient conservation decision-making.

For his thesis, Sky is continuing the lab’s research efforts on hellbender conservation, examining extrinsic factors linked to reproductive success in the Eastern Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis). He is also investigating ways to improve artificial nest box placement in streams to augment existing Hellbender breeding habitat in areas where recruitment has been anthropogenically reduced.

Sky holds a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from University of Florida, where his advisor was Dr. Christina Romagosa. As a UF student, he conducted and assisted with research on several amphibian and reptile taxa, including leading drift fence sampling efforts at ephemeral ponds in Ocala National Forest, tracking invasive Argentine black-and-white tegus (Salvator merianae) in the Everglades, aiding in the monitoring of imperiled American crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus), and sampling gut contents of invasive Burmese pythons (Python bivittatus). As an undergraduate, Sky also participated in Samford University’s 2016 Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, where he led and carried out research on the importance of community dynamics in shaping microhabitat preferences in steam-dwelling Plethodontids.


Sky began his graduate studies in the Fall of 2017. He is excited to pursue Hellbender research in the Hopkins Lab that can provide both a better understanding of the species ecology, and inform conservation strategies. He is also excited to have the opportunity to conduct outreach work that can help local communities understand both environmental problems facing Appalachian streams and their solutions.

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