As part of the Amphibian and Reptile Diversity Research Center at the University of Texas at Arlington, the Eric N. Smith research group is involved in obtaining a better understanding of the evolutionary relationships among these organisms. The group's collective research crosses a broad range of geographic and disciplinary boundaries focusing on the phylogenetic systematics, biogeography, ecology, physiology and conservation of taxa from locations in Central America, Africa, India and Indonesia.
Research interests include the evolution and systematics of a variety of tropical taxa including squamates and anurans, theoretical cladistic approaches to optimizing character information while minimizing assumptions, mitochondrial genomics and the statistical modeling of molecular and morphological data.
The research conducted in the lab focuses on the biodiversity, biogeography, and evolution of tropical amphibians and reptiles. Using both morphological and molecular techniques, our lab investigates questions on phylogenetic relationships, natural history, new species descriptions, phylogenetic theory, morphological and molecular evolution, and several other fields of study relating to tropical herpetofauna.
The following are some of the examples of herpetological and evolutionary research currently being carried out by the Eric Smith group:
1. An investigation of the phylogenetic relationships among Old and New World coral snakes using morphological and molecular data.
2. An extensive study of the evolution, natural history, biogeography, ecological-morphotypes, and species diversity of the Sceloporus formosus group.
3. An investigation of the relationships among the Middle American eleutherodactyline frogs in the genus Craugastor
4. Axamination of water loss and locomotion of several groups of lizards and snakes.
5. Description of several Indonesian tadpoles and allocation to species.
6. Intensive phylogenetic analysis of the Middle American pitviper genera.
7. Phylogenetic analysis and morphological function of the dipsadine snakes.
8. A study of the phylogenetic relationships and historical biogeography of dispholidine colubrids.
9. The description of several new species of amphibians and reptiles from throughout the World