Robert Browne

Professor of Biology

B.S., M.S. University of Dayton (1972, 1974)
Ph.D., Syracuse University (1977)


243 Winston Hall
(336) 758-5569

Areas of Interest

Evolutionary Ecology, Effects of Fragmentation on the Genetics of Populations, Biogeography, Reproductive Strategies, Parthenogenesis, Conservation and Environmental Issues


The field of evolutionary ecology encompasses the fields of ecology, evolution and genetics. Our work involves both field and laboratory research, often utilizing molecular analyses of mitochondrial DNA and protein allozymes. Specific areas of current interest are:

Conservation Genetics. We assay genetic diversity of isolated populations that are often rare/endangered. Current projects include research on small mammals (mice, voles, shrews and flying squirrels) and salamanders which are found in the spruce-fir forests crowning the Southern Appalachians, and work on Galápagos cacti and bird populations.

Life-history and Reproductive Strategies. We are interested in how organisms adapt to their environment and the trade-offs that often occur in reproduction and lifespan. The majority of this work has occurred using the brine shrimp Artemia as the model organism and has involved laboratory and field work, especially in the Mediterranean region where parthenogenetic (all-female) populations of Artemia occur.

Selected Publications

Hoekman, D, KE Levan, G Ball, RA Browne, R Davidson, T Erwin, J LaBonte, K Ober, B Kinisley, J Lundgren, D Maddison, W Moore, J Niemela, D Pearson, J Spence, K Will, and T Work. In press. Design for ground beetle abundance and diversity: sampling within the National Ecological Observatory Network. Ecosphere.

Riley, K, RA Browne, and TL Erwin.  2016.  Comparisons of two sampling techniques for carabid beetles in temporarily flooded and terra firme habitats of western Amazonia.  Journal of Neotropical Fauna and the Environment 51:78-95.

Browne, RA.  2015.  The Appalachian Trail: History, Humanity and Ecology. Revised edition, with a new introduction. Library Partners Press.

Browne RA, SA Maveety, EL Cooper, and KN Riley.  2014.  Ground beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) species composition in the southern Appalachian Mountains.  Southeastern Naturalist 13:407-422.

Maveety SA and RA Browne.  2014.  Patterns of carabid beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) morphology along an altitudinal gradient. Ecological Entomology, in press.

Maveety SA, RA Browne, and TL Erwin. 2014.  Carabid beetle diversity related to altitude and seasonality in the Peruvian Andes. Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment 3:1-10.

Maveety SA, RA Browne, and TL Erwin.  2014. Patterns of morphological attributes of carabid beetles along an altitudinal gradient in the Andes of Peru.  International Journal of Tropical Insect Science, in press.

Riley KN and RA Browne.  2014.  Radine caudata, first report of a new species of ground beetle (Carabidae) in North Carolina. Coleopterist Bulletin 68:1-2.

SJ Price, KK Cecala, RA Browne, and ME Dorcas. 2012. Estimating survival of a streamside salamander: importance of temporary emigration, captive response and location. Hydrobiologia 679:205-215.

SJ Price, SJ, KK Cecala,  RA Browne, and ME Dorcas. 2012. Evaluating the effects of urbanization on salamander abundance using before/after control impact-design. Freshwater Biology 57:193-203. Cited as a high-impact article.

SJ Price, KK Cecala, RA Browne, and ME Dorcas. 2012. Effects of urbanization on occupancy of stream salamanders. Conservation Biology 25:547-555.

SJ Price, KK Cecala, RA Browne, and ME Dorcas. 2012. Effects of drought on stream salamanders: testing hypotheses of persistence in dynamic evolution. Herpetologica 14: 212-218. Highlighted by numerous (>12) websites and newsletters. Feature newspaper article in Charlotte News and Raleigh News and Record.

SA Maveety, RA Browne, and TL Erwin. 2011. Carabidae diversity along an altitudinal gradient in a Peruvian cloud forest. ZooKeys 147:651-656.

KN Riley and RA Browne. 2011. Changes in ground beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) diversity and community composition in age structured in Piedmont forests. ZooKeys 147:601-621.

C Ortiz and R Browne. 2011. Carabidae (Ground Beetle) species composition of Southern Appalachian spruce-fir forests. Southeastern Naturalist 591-608.

RA Browne, E Collins, and D Anderson. 2010. Morphological variation of Galapagos Island populations of the yellow warbler Dendroica petechia aureoloa. Galapagos Research 67:9-13.

RA Browne. 2010. Trophic cascade effects of fish recovery from selenium poisoning. Hydrobiologia 655:137-148.

EJ Crespi, RA Browne, and LJ Rissler. 2010. Taxonomic revision of Desmognathus wrighti based on molecular, ecological and morphological evidence. Herpetologica 66:283-295.

SJ Price, KK Cecala, RA Browne, and ME Dorcas. 2010. Effects of urbanization on occupancy of stream salamanders. Conservation Biology 23:38-48.

EI Collins and RA Browne. 2008. Genetic structure of yellow warblers, Dendroica petechi in Galapagos, Ecuador. Condor 110:544-553.

P Helsen, RA Browne, DJ Anderson, PJ Verdyck, and S Van Dongen. 2008. Galapagos Opuntia cacti: extensive morphological diversity, low genetic diversity. Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society 95:661-672.

RA Browne and PM Ferree. 2007. Genetic structure of southern Appalachian spruce-fir “sky-island” populations of the red backed vole. Journal of Mammalogy 88:104-112