Lucinda Lawson

Lucinda received her Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology in 2010.

Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Florida

Lucinda’s research focuses the past, present, and future of montane frogs in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania. This unique montane system is part of a Global Biodiversity Hotspot that contains some of the rarest and most poorly described species of amphibians on Earth. Using codistributed species as a guide, she is investigating how past climate cycles have shaped the geographic distributions that we see today, and is working to extend these models into future global warming scenarios to aid conservation efforts of montane amphibians. Another aspect of her research is aimed at investigating species relationships in the genus Hyperolius to determine which ecological and environmental factors underlie the high levels of diversity and endemism found in East Africa. In collaboration with an international team of herpetologists, she has been involved in biodiversity surveys of unexplored forests, is a contributor to a website documenting the herpetological diversity of the Eastern Arcs, and has assisted in the training of students and field assistants in modern field techniques and analyses. In her research she has identified a number of new and/or cryptic species, which enhance our understanding of the true biodiversity in this understudied and biologically diverse and important region. Lucinda is also working with Tanzanian students and non-academics to promote increased awareness and appreciation for their local amphibian diversity.