Students interested in pursuing a master's degree in biology with the main emphasis on herpetology are encouraged to consider work at Emporia State University. Emporia State University is located at the eastern edge of the Flint Hills in eastern Kansas. The Department of Biological Sciences has over 20 graduate students and 15 full-time faculty members. Emporia is a small town of 27,000 that is situated within easy driving distance to the Kansas cities of Topeka, Wichita, Lawrence, Manhattan, and Kansas City.


  • Scott Crupper - the microbiology and genetic diversity of amphibians and reptiles
  • David Edds - ecology of freshwater turtles in Kansas
  • Michael Morales - amphibian and reptilian paleontology
  • Alexis Powell - Natural history and conservation of local species; molecular phylogenetics and phylogeography
  • Greg Sievert - (clinical instructor) natural history and photography of amphibians and reptiles
  • Lynnette Sievert - comparative physiology of amphibians and reptiles, especially dealing with thermoregulation and metabolism; also, behavior of amphibians and reptiles
  • Brent Thomas - behavioral ecology of turtles


  • The faculty at ESU are dedicated to and highly involved in student education. Faculty take students to a number of meetings each year at the local, regional, and national level.
  • Students have the opportunity to take classes in foreign countries and see the herps of the Bahamas and Mexico first-hand.
  • The Department of Biological Sciences has several natural areas where students can do research. This includes a wetland, two small woodland areas, and a large tract of prairie.
  • The Department of Biological Sciences has a modern molecular laboratory, thermal gradients for studying thermoregulation, an oxygen analyzer for studying metabolic rate, a viscometer for blood studies, walk-in cold rooms, a field vehicle, aquaria, boats, turtle traps, and on-site housing for amphibians and reptiles.
  • The biology graduate students have an active graduate student organization.
  • The biology faculty maintain a strong organismal focus.
  • Fifteen of the 21 Gloyd-Taylor Scholarships awarded to the outstanding herpetology student in Kansas by the Kansas Herpetological Society have gone to ESU students.
  • The department works closely with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.
  • Several faculty participate in the Kansas Amphibian Monitoring Program.


Current projects include: monitoring the herpetofauna of the Ross Natural History Reserve; snake community composition of the Flint Hills Wildlife Management Area; meal size and thermoregulatory behavior of cornsnakes; temperature effects on digestion of cornsnakes; diet composition and metabolic rate in an omnivorous turtle and lizard.

Past projects have included: cover choice in two small snake species; thermoregulation in toads; territorial behavior in salamanders; feeding effects on metabolism of toads; habitat differentiation among species of map turtles; investigation of turtle deformity rates in Kansas; surveys of aquatic turtle communities in SE Kansas; biotelemetry study of alligator snapping turtle movements; bait preferences of aquatic turtles; investigation of the microflora of treefrogs; blood parameters of hibernating herps; nematode parasites of amphibians; softshell turtle ecology; energetics of toads, long-term monitoring of amphibians and reptiles in a prairie; thermoregulation of salamanders; assimilation efficiency in toads; comparison of turtle assemblages in a river, stream, and oxbow.