Matthew Chatfield

Assistant Professor of Evolution and Eco-Health Matt Chatfield

Degree: PhD 2009, University of Michigan
Phone: 207.581.2568
Website: The Chatfield Lab
Location: 311 Murray Hall
Research Topic:  Ecology, evolution, conservation, and population-level health of reptiles and amphibians

Research Program:The staggering global decline of reptiles and amphibians is one of conservation biology’s biggest challenges. The unprecedented loss of habitat and its fragmentation, the illegal pet trade and the devastating amphibian disease crisis are some of the major themes of my research. By integrating field-based, population-level ecological studies with cutting-edge methodologies, my research program is aimed at conserving our herpetofauna, wetlands and forested communities in the eastern United States. A major focus of my research is aimed at understanding the ecology and evolution of the charismatic North American wood turtle, an endangered species that is declining throughout its range and is listed as a species of special concern in Maine. This work will provide crucial details that will support conservation and management of this endangered species by working alongside government, non-profit, and community stakeholders. Another major theme in my eco-health research program is identifying drivers of amphibian declines, especially the impact of emergent diseases and the effects these may have when combined with other environmental stressors. Amphibians are the most endangered vertebrate class on earth, and developing a holistic understanding of what is driving population declines is central to halting the extinction crisis. Cumulatively, this highly collaborative work has revealed novel insights on these systems, which will impact the conservation of these and other threatened groups.


LeClair GD, Chatfield MWH, Wood Z, Parmelee JR, Frederick CA. Influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on amphibian road mortality. In review.

Bates AE…Chatfield MWH…et al. Diverse Human-Nature Interactions Revealed by the Global COVID-19 Lockdown. Biological Conservation, in press.

Enbody ED, Boersma J, Johns JA, Chatfield MWH, Ketaloya S, Baldassarre DT, Hazlehurst J, McGowen O, Schwabl H, Karubian J (2019) Social organization and breeding biology of the white-shouldered fairy-wren Malurus alboscapulatus. EMU–Austral Ornithology 119:274-285

Brannelly LA, Chatfield MWH, Sonn J, Robak M, Richards-Zawacki CL (2018) Fungal infection has sublethal effects in a lowland subtropical amphibian population. BMC Ecology 18:34

Drabeck DH, Chatfield MWH, Richards-Zawacki CL (2014) The status of Louisiana’s diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) populations in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill: Insights from population genetic and contaminant analyses. Journal of Herpetology 48:125-136

Brannelly LA, Chatfield MWH, Richards-Zawacki CL (2013) Visual implant elastomer tags are an unreliable method of identification in adult anurans. Herpetological Journal 23:125-129

Chatfield MWH, Brannelly LA, Robak MJ, Freeborn L, Lailvaux SP, Richards-Zawacki CL (2013) Sublethal fitness consequences of infection by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in northern leopard frogs (Lithobates pipiens). EcoHealth 10:90-98

McMahon TA, Brannelly LA, Chatfield MWH, Johnson PTJ, Joseph MB, McKenzie VJ, Richards-Zawacki CL, Vesesky MD, Rohr JR (2013) Chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has non-amphibian hosts and releases chemicals that cause pathology in the absence of infection. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110:210-215

Chatfield MWH, Moler P, Richards-Zawacki CL (2012) The amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, in fully aquatic salamanders from southeastern North America. PLoS One 7:e44821

Brannelly LA, Chatfield MWH, Richards-Zawacki CL (2012) Field and laboratory studies of the susceptibility of the green treefrog (Hyla cinerea) to Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection. PLoS One 6:e38473

Chatfield MWH, Richards-Zawacki CL (2011) Elevated temperature as a treatment for Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection in captive frogs. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 94:235-238

Chatfield MWH, Kozak KH, Fitzpatrick BM, Tucker PK (2010) Differential introgression in a salamander hybrid zone: inferences from genetic data and ecological niche modeling. Molecular Ecology 19:4265-4282 

Chatfield MWH, Rothermel BB, Brooks C, Kay J (2009) Detection of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in amphibians from the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, USA. Herpetological Review 40:176-179

Semlitsch RD, Ryan TJ, Hamed K, Chatfield M, Drehman B, Pekarek N, Spath M, Watland A (2007) Salamander abundance along road edges and within abandoned logging roads in Appalachian forests. Conservation Biology 21:159-167