Professor and Director, Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology
Ecology & Evolution
Ph.D., University of Michigan (1998)
Dr. Relyea is an aquatic ecologist who received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1998, under the mentorship of Dr. Earl Werner. He joined the department in 1999 and has served as the Director of the University's field station, the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology, since 2007.
For effective conservation, we have to understand how natural communities work and how they are affected by human impacts. To accomplish this goal, my lab works at the interface of several biological fields, including ecology, evolution, animal behavior, and ecotoxicology. By integrating our thinking (and our experiments) across these diverse biological disciplines, we can develop exciting new insights that improve our basic understanding of ecological communities and make discoveries that are important to conservation. I have applied this approach to my studies of aquatic communities. My research group works in a variety of environments (from highly controlled laboratory experiment to outdoor mesocosms and natural field sites) and we focus on a wide diversity of aquatic organisms including amphibians, fish, insects, snails, amphipods, crayfish, zooplankton, aquatic plants, and algae.
My research program can be broken down into several broad areas:
- The effects of pesticides and nutrients on aquatic communities
- The interaction of diseases with other natural and anthropogenic stressors
- The impact of leaf litter inputs on wetland communities
- Sexual selection in crustaceans
- The ecology and evolution of phenotypic plasticity (e.g., how variation in predators, competitors, and mates induce changes in an organism's behavior, morphology, and life history)
- Long-term monitoring of aquatic communities
Ricklefs, R., and R. Relyea. 2014. Ecology: The Economy of Nature (7th ed.). Freeman Publishers. (college textbook)
Ricklefs, R., R. Relyea, and C. Richter. 2014. Ecology: The Economy of Nature (7th Canadian ed.). Freeman Publishers. (college textbook)
Friedland, A., and R. Relyea. 2014. Environmental Science: Foundations and Applications (2nd ed.) Freeman Publishers. (college textbook)
Werner, E. E., C. J. Davis, D. K. Skelly, R. A. Relyea, M. Benard, and S. McCauley. 2014. Cross-scale interactions and the distribution-abundance relationship. PLOS ONE __:__-__.
Hua, J., D. K. Jones, and R. A. Relyea. 2014. Induced tolerance from a sublethal insecticide leads to cross-tolerance to other insecticides. Environmental Science & Technology__:__-__.
Brogan, W. R., and R. A. Relyea. 2014. A new mechanism of macrophyte mitigation: How submerged plants reduce malathion's acute toxicity to aquatic animals. Chemosphere __:__-__.
Hua, J., and R. A. Relyea. 2014. Chemical cocktails in aquatic ecosystems: Pesticide effects on resistance and resilience. Environmental Pollution __:__-__.
Hoverman, J. T., R. D. Cothran, and R. A. Relyea. 2014. Generalist versus specialist strategies of plasticity: Snail responses to predators that have different foraging modes. Freshwater Biology __:__-__.
Cothran, R. D., A. B. Stoler, and R. A. Relyea. 2014. Leaves and litterbugs: how litter quality affects the performance of freshwater amphipods. Freshwater Science __:__-__.
Murren, C. J., H. J. Maclean, S. E. Diamond, U. K. Steiner, M. A. Heskel, C. A. Handelsman, C. K. Ghalambor, J. R. Auld, H. S. Callahan, D. W. Pfennig, R. A. Relyea, C. D. Schlichting, and J. Kingsolver. 2014. Evolutionary change in continuous reaction norms. American Naturalist 183:453-467.
Groner, M. L., L. A. Rollins-Smith, L. K. Reinert, J. Hempel, M. E. Bier, and R. A. Relyea. 2013. Interactive effects of competition and predator-cues on immune responses of leopard frogs at metamorphosis. Journal of Experimental Biology 217:351-358.
Cothran, R. D., A. R. Stiff, K. Chapman, G. A. Wellborn, and R. A. Relyea. 2013. Reproductive interference via interspecific pairing in an amphipod species complex. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 67:1357-1367.
Hua, J., N. Morehouse, and R. A. Relyea. 2013. Pesticide resistance in amphibians: Induced resistance in susceptible populations, constitutive tolerance in tolerant populations. Evolutionary Applications 6:1028-1040.
Groner, M. L., J. C. Buck, S. Gervasi, A. R. Blaustein, L K. Reinert, L. A. Rollins-Smith, M. E. Bier, J. Hempel, and R. A. Relyea. 2013. Lasting effects: Larval exposure to predators alters immune function and disease in post-metamorphic wood frogs. Ecological Applications 23:1443-1454.
Gervasi, S. S., J. Urbina, J. Hua, T. Chestnut, R.A. Relyea, and A. R. Blaustein. 2013. Experimental evidence for differential susceptibility to the amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) in the American bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus). EcoHealth 10:166-171.
Brogan, W. R., and R. A. Relyea. 2013. Mitigating with macrophytes: Submersed plants reduce the toxicity of pesticide-contaminated water to zooplankton. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 31:699-706.
Hua, J., R. Cothran, A. Stoler, and R. A. Relyea. 2013. Cross-tolerance in amphibians: Wood frog mortality when exposed to three insecticides with a common mode of action. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 32:932-936.
Cothran, R. D., K. A. Henderson, D. Schmidenberg, and R. A. Relyea. 2013. Phenotypically similar but ecologically distinct: Differences in competitive ability and predation risk among amphipods. Oikos 122:1429-1440.
Cothran, R. D., J. Brown, and R. A. Relyea. 2013. Proximity to agriculture is correlated with pesticide tolerance: Evidence for the evolution of amphibian resistance to modern pesticides. Evolutionary Applications 6:832-841.
Tejedo, M., H. Duarte, L. M. Gutiérrez-Pesquera, J. F. Beltrán, M. Katzenberger, F. Marangoni, C. A. Navas, A. G. Nicieza, R. A. Relyea, E. L. Rezende, A. Richter-Boix, M. Santos, M. Simon, and M. Solé. 2012. El studio de las tolerancias térmicas para el examen de hipótesis biogeográficas y de la vulnerabilidad de los organismos ante el calentamiento global. Ejemplos en anfibios. Boletín de la Asociación Herpetológica Española 23:1-26.
Cothran, R. D., K. Chapman, A. R. Stiff, and R. A. Relyea. 2012. "Cryptic" direct benefits of mate choice: Choosy females experience reduced predation risk while in precopula. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 66:905-913.
Hammond, J. I., D. K. Jones, P. R. Stephens, and R. A. Relyea. 2012. Phylogeny meets ecotoxicology: Evolutionary patterns in sensitivity to a common insecticide among North American amphibians. Evolutionary Applications 5:593-606.
Buck, J. C., E. A. Scheessele, R. A. Relyea, and A. R. Blaustein. 2012. The effects of multiple stressors on wetland communities: pesticides, pathogens, and competing amphibians. Freshwater Biology 57:61-73.
Friedland, A., R. Relyea, and D. Courard-Hauri. 2011 (1st ed.). Environmental Science: Foundations and Applications. Freeman Publishers. (college textbook)
Friedland, A., R. Relyea, and D. Courard-Hauri. 2011 (1st ed.). Environmental Science for AP. Freeman Publishers. (AP high school textbook)
Searle, C. L., S. S. Gervasi, J. Hua, J. I. Hammond, R. A. Relyea, D. Olson, and A. R. Blaustein . 2011. Differential host susceptibility to Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, an emerging amphibian pathogen. Conservation Biology 25:965-974.
Cothran, R. D., F. Radarian, and R. A. Relyea. 2011. Altering aquatic food webs with a global insecticide: Arthropod-amphibian links in wetland communities. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 30:893-912.
Blaustein, A. R., B. A. Han, R. A. Relyea, P. T. J. Johnson, J. C. Buck, S. S. Gervasi, and L. B. Kats. 2011. The complexity of amphibian population declines: Understanding the role of co-factors in driving amphibian losses. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 123:108-119.
Auld, J. R., and R. A. Relyea. 2011. Adaptive plasticity in predator-induced defenses in a common freshwater snail: Altered selection and mode of predation due to prey phenotype. Evolutionary Ecology 25:189-202.
Auld, J. R., and R. A. Relyea. 2010. Life-history plasticity and inbreeding depression under mate limitation and predation risk: cumulative lifetime fitness dissected with a life table response experiment. Evolutionary Ecology 24:1171-1185.
Cothran, R. D., A. Kuzmic, G. A. Wellborn, and R. A. Relyea. 2010. Phenotypic manipulation provides insights into the function of a sexually selected trait in a freshwater crustacean species complex. Animal Behaviour 80:543-549.
Jones, D. K., J. I. Hammond, and R. A. Relyea. 2010. Roundup® and amphibians: The importance of concentration, application time, and stratification. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 29:2016-2025.
- Rickey Cothran, Post Doc
- Brian Mattes, Technician
- R.J. Bendis, Graduate Student
- Devin Jones, Graduate Student
- Sebastian Estrada, Undergraduate student
- Maddy Kelley, Undergraduate student
- Annie McAndrew, Undergraduate student
- Pat Monahan, Undergraduate student
- Erika Yates, Undergraduate student