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Big Thinkers

Studying Reptiles and Amphibians Worldwide


When you consider the fact that Nancy Karraker, Ph.D, was raised in Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Parks, and that her parents were park rangers, it is no wonder that Karraker turned out to be a naturalist. The first clue her parents had that Karraker was destined to study animals was when she proudly brought home a jar full of frogs at age six.

Today, Karraker is an Assistant Professor at the University of Rhode Island’s (URI) College of the Environment and Life Sciences (CELS) where she teaches herpetology (study of reptiles and amphibians) and wetland ecology while conducting research in Southeast Asia and the United States.

Her current research focuses on wetland ecology and conservation biology of reptile and amphibian populations.  In Southeast Asia, Karraker and her graduate student studied the Giant Spiny Frog, which has been on the decline due to their value in food markets.  Her research showed that the Giant Spiny Frog population might be wiped out in 50 years if the current collection rate continues.

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