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Brent Thomas

Brent Thomas

Dean of College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Professor of Biological Sciences

Campus Box 4010

Building Butcher Education Center

Room 008

  • 620-341-5278

I have taught a variety of courses at ESU (e.g., Introduction to Human Anatomy & Physiology, Research Design & Analysis, Natural History of Vertebrates, Animal Behavior, and Herpetology. My research interests include Behavioral and Evolutionary Ecology, Conservation Biology, and Natural History. Vertebrates (primarily reptiles and amphibians) usually serve as the test subjects for the bulk of my research. Most of my published research projects have involved freshwater turtles. Recent projects on slider turtles have involved male alternative mating tactics, characteristics of the foreclaw display behaviors of females, overland movements between aquatic habitats, and various aspects of their basking behaviors. I enjoy getting students involved with research projects and encourage students interested in conducting (undergraduate or master’s level) research to contact me. I have served as an associate editor for Herpetological Review and as a member of the World Conservation Union/Species Survival Commission’s Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group.

Dean

It is my privilege to welcome you to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. I am honored to work with about 145 faculty members distributed across eleven academic departments and six special programs. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is responsible for providing most of the courses within the general education curriculum. In addition, our college offers a broad array of majors, minors, certificates, and Master’s programs. Therefore, we provide students with opportunities to specialize in a number of fields and to develop long-standing interests or discover new passions. I encourage you to explore these opportunities through our webpages or through a visit to our campus.

Sincerely,

R. Brent Thomas

Education

B.S. Biology, University of the Ozarks (1991)
M.S. Biology, Missouri State University (1993)
Ph.D. Biological Sciences, Mississippi State University (1999)

Previous Positions

  • Associate Professor: Emporia State University, 8/06 – 6/10
  • Associate Professor: University of South Carolina Upstate, 8/05 – 5/06. Same duties as below
  • Assistant Professor: University of South Carolina Upstate, 8/99 – 8/05. Taught Human Anatomy + lab, Human Physiology + lab, General Biology lab, Bioscience II (equivalent to General Zoology) + lab, Human Biology and Society, and Biology; Introduction to Ecology and Evolutionary Biology + lab; Evolutionary Biology + lab; and Senior Seminar. Provided research opportunities for undergraduates and served as an academic advisor to undergraduates.
  • Teaching Assistant: - Mississippi State University / Biological Sciences, 9/95-5/99. Lab instructor for General Ecology, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, and Biology of Vertebrates, and Human Anatomy lectures
  • Part-time Faculty, Mississippi University for Women, 7/96-8/96. Taught General Biology lecture during their summer session
  • Research Biologist, Missouri Department of Conservation, 1/95-8/95. Conducted herpetofaunal surveys within several Missouri River floodplain habitats.
  • Part-time Faculty, Ozarks Technical Community College, 1/94-12/94. Taught the lecture and lab components of Anatomy and Physiology.
  • Research Assistant, Southwest Missouri State University, 6/93-12/93. Coordinator for the implementation of a faunal survey of two military bases in southwestern Missouri, responsible for coordinating and supervising the activities of a crew of my peers (other graduate students) and writing the final reports for the Army National Guard.
  • Teaching Assistant, Southwest Missouri State University, 9/91-5/93.. Lab instructor for General Biology.

Publications

  • Everly, A., L. M. Sievert, and R. B. Thomas. 2011. Dear enemy recognition in captive Brown Anoles (Anolis sagrei). Journal of Kansas Herpetology 40:13-16.
  • House, W. J., I. M. Nall, and R. Brent Thomas. 2011. Selected aspects of semi-aquatic turtle assemblages in east-central Kansas ponds. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 114:239-244.
  • House, W. J., I. M. Nall, and R. B. Thomas. 2010. Interpond movements of Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta) in east-central Kansas. Southwestern Naturalist 53(3):403-410.
  • Nall, I. M., and R. B. Thomas. 2009. Does method of bait presentation within funnel traps influence capture rates of semi-aquatic turtles? Herpetological Conservation and Biology 4:161-163.
  • Thomas, R. B., I. M. Nall, and W. J. House. 2008. Relative efficacy of three different baits for trapping pond-dwelling turtles in east-central Kansas. Herpetological Review 39:186-188.
  • Thomas, R. B., and R. Altig. 2006. Characteristics of the foreclaw display behaviors of female Trachemys scripta (Slider Turtles). Southeastern Naturalist.5:227-234.
  • Taylor, C. M., R. A. Fiorillo, L. R. Williams, R. B. Thomas, T. L. Holder, and M. L. Warren, Jr. 2006. Distribution, abundance, and diversity of upland stream fishes under variable environmental conditions. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 63:43-54.
  • Thomas, R. B. 2006. Trachemys scripta – Slider of Yellow-bellied Slider. In: Meylan, P. A. (Ed.). Biology and Conservation of Florida Turtles. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 3, pp. 296-312.
  • Thomas, R. B., and K. P. Jansen. 2006. Pseudemys floridana – Florida Cooter. In: Meylan, P. A. (Ed.). Biology and Conservation of Florida Turtles. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 3, pp. 338-347.
  • Taylor, C. M., L. R. Williams, R. A. Fiorillo, R. B. Thomas, and M. L. Warren, Jr. 2004. Fish assemblage structure under variable environmental conditions in the Ouachita Mountains (pgs. 239-245). In: Ouachita and Ozark Mountains Symposium: ecosystem management research, Guldin, J. M. (Ed.). Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-74. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station.
  • Thomas, R. B. 2002. A conditional mating strategy in a long-lived vertebrate: ontogenetic shifts in the mating tactics of male slider turtles (Trachemys scripta). Copeia. 2002:456-461.
  • Thomas, R. B., and W. S. Parker. 2000. Intrasexual variations in overland movements of slider turtles (Trachemys scripta). Journal of Herpetology 34:469-472.
  • Thomas, R. B., N. Vogrin, and R. Altig. 1999. Sexual and seasonal differences in behavior of Trachemys scripta (Testudines:Emydidae). Journal of Herpetology 33:511-515.
  • Fiorillo, R. A., R. B. Thomas, M. Warren, and C. M. Taylor. 1999. Structure of the helminth assemblage of an endemic madtom catfish (Noturus lachneri). Southwestern Naturalist 44:522-526.
  • Thomas, R. B., D. Beckman, K. Thompson, K. Buhlmann, J. W. Gibbons, and D. Moll. 1997. Estimation of age for Trachemys scriptaand Deirochelys reticularia by counting annual growth layers in claws. Copeia 1997:842-845.
  • Thomas, R. B., and J. Bradford. 1997. Geographic Distribution. Graptemys pulchra. Herpetological Review 28:209.
  • Thomas, R. B., D. Moll, and J. Steiert. 1994. Evidence of a symbiotic relationship between cellulolytic bacteria and a freshwater herbivorous turtle. Southwestern Naturalist 39:386-388.

Presentations at Professional Meetings

  • Jennifer M. Singleton, Jodie Hearlson, and R. B. Thomas. 2011. Winter Thermal Profiles of Northern Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta) in Eastern Kansas. 38th Annual Meeting of the Kansas Herpetological Society, November 2011, Wichita, Kansas.
  • Singleton, J., and R. B. Thomas. 2011. Ontogeny of melanism in male Slider Turtles (Trachemys scripta). 143rd Annual Meeting of the Kansas Academy of Science, April 2011, Baldwin City, KS.
  • Singleton, J., J. Hearlson, and R. B. Thomas. 2011. Escape rates of aquatic turtles from funnel traps and basking traps. 58th Annual Meeting of the Southwestern Association of Naturalists, April 2011, Tyler, Texas.
  • Hearlson, J., J. Singleton, and R. B. Thomas. 2010. Selected Aspects of Semi-Aquatic Turtle Assemblages in East-Central Kan­sas Ponds. 37th Annual Meeting of the Kansas Herpetological Society. Topeka, Kansas.
  • J. Singleton, J. Hearlson, and R. B. Thomas. 2010. Escape Rates of Aquatic Turtles from Funnel Traps and Basking Traps. 37th Annual Meeting of the Kansas Herpetological Society. Topeka, Kansas.
  • Liu, D., C. Wilson, J. Hearlson, J. Singleton, R. B. Thomas, and S. S. Crupper, Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas. Topic: Prevalence of Antibiotic Re­sistant Bacteria Associated with the Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans). 37th Annual Meeting of the Kansas Herpetological Society. Topeka, Kansas.
  • Nall, I. M., W. J. House, and R. B. Thomas. 2008. Estimating turtle population demographics: how well do conventional techniques reflect reality? Southwestern Association of Naturalists. Memphis, Tennessee.
  • House, W. J., I. M. Nall, and R. B. Thomas. 2008. Interpond movement patterns of western painted turtles (Chrysemys picta bellii) in east central Kansas. Southwestern Association of Naturalists. Memphis, Tennessee.
  • Nall, I. M., W. J. House, and R. B. Thomas. 2008. The influence of trap bias on estimates of sex ratio for semi-aquatic turtle populations. Kansas Academy of Science. Emporia, Kansas.
  • House, W. J., I. M. Nall, and R. B. Thomas. 2008. Interpond movement patterns of western painted turtles Chrysemys picta bellii in east central Kansas. Kansas Academy of Science. Emporia, Kansas.
  • Nall, I. M., and R. B. Thomas. 2007. Linkage between foreclaw growth rate and stage of melanism in male slider turtles (Trachemys scripta): comparisons within and among populations. Kansas Herpetological Society. Topeka, Kansas.
  • House, W. J., I. M. Nall, and R. B. Thomas. 2007. Effectiveness of selected baits for trapping pond-dwelling turtles in east-central Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society. Topeka, Kansas.
  • Nall, I. M., and R. B. Thomas. 2007. Relationship between foreclaw growth rate and stage of ontogenetic melanism of male slider turtles (Trachemys scripta). Southwestern Association of Naturalists. Stephenville, Texas.
  • Thomas, R. B. 2006. Sampling methods for studies of freshwater turtles: does methodology influence our estimates of abundance, richness, and diversity. Kansas Herpetological Society. Hays, Kansas.
  • Thomas, R. B. 2006. Sampling methods for studies of freshwater turtles: does methodology influence our estimates of abundance, richness, and diversity. Association of Southeastern Biologists. Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
  • Thomas, R. B., and Shirin Treadwell. 2002. The influence of basking duration and food availability on growth rate of hatchling slider turtles (Trachemys scripta). Association of Southeastern Biologists. Boone, North Carolina.
  • Taylor, C. M., L. R. Williams, R. A. Fiorillo, R. B. Thomas, M. L. Warren, Jr. 2001. Fish assemblage structure and stability under variable environmental conditions in the Ouachita Mountains. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. University Park, Pennsylvania.
  • Fiorillo, R., R. B. Thomas, M. L. Warren, Jr., and C. M. Taylor. 2000. Helminth community structure of the Ouachita madtom (Noturus lachneri). Association of Southeastern Biologists. Chattanooga, Tennessee.
  • Thomas, R. B., K. Thompson, D. Beckman, K. Buhlmann, J. W. Gibbons, and D. Moll. 1996. Estimation of age for Trachemys scriptaand Deirochelys reticularia by counting annual growth layers in claws. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Turner, L. K., R. B. Thomas, and D. Moll. 1995. Effects on reproduction in Pseudemys concinna, inhabiting a cold water reservoir. Southwestern Association of Naturalists. Shreveport, Louisiana.
  • Turner, L. K., and R. B. Thomas. 1995. Effects on reproduction in Pseudemys concinna, inhabiting a cold water reservoir. Graduate Student Council Interdisciplinary Forum at Southwest Missouri State University. Springfield, Missouri.
  • Davis, S. D., R. B. Thomas, and D. Moll. 1995. Diet and reproduction of the stinkpot, Sternotherus odoratus, inhabiting a cold water reservoir. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. Boone, North Carolina.
  • Turner, L. K., R. B. Thomas, and D. Moll. 1994. Life history and ecology of the Missouri river cooter, Pseudemys concinna. Missouri Herpetological Association. Steeleville, Missouri.
  • Thomas, R. B., and L. Robbins. 1994. Utilization of the LCTA plot summary methodology for reptile and amphibian surveys. Missouri Herpetological Association. Steeleville, Missouri.
  • Thomas, R. B., D. Moll, and J. Steiert. 1993. Evidence of a symbiotic relationship between cellulolytic bacteria and a freshwater herbivorous turtle. Missouri Herpetological Association. Steeleville, Missouri.
  • Thomas, R. B., and D. Moll. 1993. Depressed growth rate of Trachemys scripta and Graptemys geographica in a thermally altered environment. Missouri Herpetological Association. Steeleville, Missouri.
  • Thomas, R. B., and D. Moll. 1993. The composition, status, and ecology of the turtle community of Lake Taneycomo, a cold water reservoir in southwest Missouri. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. Bloomington, Indiana.
  • Thomas, R. B., and D. Moll. 1993. The composition, status, and ecology of the turtle community of Lake Taneycomo, a cold water reservoir in southwest Missouri. Southwestern Association of Naturalists. Springfield, Missouri.

Invited Presentations

  • Thomas, R. B. 2009. Ecology, Behavior, and Natural History of Freshwater Turtles: an integrative approach to understanding a largely neglected group. Departmental Seminar, Department of Biology, Cameron University, Lawton, Oklahoma.
  • Thomas, R. B. 2009. Ecology, Behavior, and Natural History of Freshwater Turtles: an integrative approach to understanding a largely neglected group. Key Note Speaker: Tri-Beta Southcentral Regional Convention held at University of Oklahoma Biological Field Station, Lake Texoma, Oklahoma.
  • Thomas, R. B. 2008. Ecology, Behavior, and Natural History of Freshwater Turtles: an integrative approach to understanding a largely neglected group. Departmental Seminar, Division of Science and Mathematics, University of the Ozarks, Clarksville, Arkansas.
  • Thomas, R. B. 2007. The science of turtle trapping: integrating original research into the undergraduate laboratory. Departmental Seminar, Department of Biology, Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri.
  • Thomas, R. B. 2004. Selected biases of common methods of collecting freshwater turtles: implications for survey, monitoring, and conservation efforts. Tri-Beta Seminar Series, Department of Biology, Shorter College, Rome, Georgia.
  • Thomas, R. B. 2002. Herpetology: career pathways and projects. Departmental Seminar, Department of Biology, Maryville College, Maryville, Tennessee.
  • Thomas, R. B. 2000. Ontogenetic shifts in the mating tactics of male slider turtles (Trachemys scripta): A conditional mating strategy in a long-lived vertebrate. Departmental seminar, Department of Environmental Toxicology, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina.
  • Thomas, R. B. 1999. Alternative mating tactics in the slider turtle (Trachemys scripta). Departmental Seminar, University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi.
  • Thomas, R. B. 1999. The potential threats to the native turtles of Florida posed by the exotic red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans). Second Symposium on the Status and Conservation of Florida Turtles, Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, Florida.