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Sterrett, Sean C.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

University of Massachusetts – Amherst

Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

Department of Environmental Conservation

160 Holdsworth Way

University of Massachusetts


ssterrett [at]




Ph.D. – University of Georgia – Wildlife Ecology and Management – 2014

M.S. – University of Georgia – Wildlife Ecology and Management – 2009

B.S. – Butler University – Biology – 2003


Primary Interests


I am a wildlife ecologist, conservation biologist and aspiring educator. My research focuses on the influences of man-made threats on wildlife populations and how wildlife influences ecosystem function. I collaborate with states and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations and private stakeholders in conservation efforts in the Eastern U.S. Most of my past work has focused on how organisms influence ecosystems through movements, food web interactions & associated nutrient cycling. As an educator, I spend part of my time with hands on education in my local community and wholeheartedly enjoy teaching at the undergraduate level. Currently, I am working on a regional freshwater mussel conservation project aimed at understanding how management actions may influence the Brook Floater, a species of special concern throughout its range.



Current Projects

  • Brook Floater (Alasmidonta varicosa) rangewide conservation and restoration initiative
  • The development of a species-specific conservation timeline framework to improve proactive conservation of amphibians
  • Understanding the influence of “Big Night” citizen science events on pond-breeding amphibian populations
  • A review of the ecological roles of reptiles
  • An experiment to investigate the direct and indirect effects of freshwater turtles on decomposition
  • Developing a regional collaborative network designed to meet scientific and educational objectives associated with understanding the effects of climate change and land use on salamander populations
  • Understanding the spatial ecology of Shoal Bass (Micropterus cataractae) in Ichawaynochaway Creek, Georgia
  • Developing a simple decision framework for guiding dual-career job choices in science
  • The effects of electromagnetic fields on Plethodon cinereus and the implications for PIT studies of movement




Vanni, M. J., P. B. McIntyre, D. L. Arnott, J. P. Benstead, D. J. Berg, Å. B., S. Brosse, P. A. Bukaveckas, A. Caliman, K. A. Capps, L. S. Carneiro, N. E. Chadwick, A. D. Christian, A. Clarke, J. D. Conroy, W. F. Cross, D. A. Culver, C. M. Dalton, J. A. Devine, L. M. Domine, M. A. Evans-White, B. Faafeng, A. S. Flecker, K. B. Gido, C. Godinot, R. Guariento, S. Haertel-Borer, R. O. Hall, R. Henry, B. R. Herwig, B. J. Hicks, K. A. Higgins, J. M. Hood, M. E. Hopton, T. Ikeda, W. F. James., H. M. Jansen, C. R. Johnson, B. J. Koch, G. A. Lamberti, S. Lessard-Pilon, J. C. Maerz, M. E. Mather, R. A. McManamay, J. R. Milanovich, D. K.J. Morgan, J. M. Moslemi, R. Naddafi, J. P. Nilssen, M. Pagano, A. Pilati, D. M. Post, M. Roopin, A. T. Rugenski, M. H. Schaus, J. Shostell, G. E. Small, C. T. Solomon, S. C. Sterrett, Ø. Strand, M. Tarvainen, J. M. Taylor, L. E. Torres-Gerald, C. B. Turner, J. Urabe, S.-I. Uye, A.-M. Ventelä, S. Villéger, M. R. Whiles, F. M. Wilhelm, H. F. Wilson, M. A. Xenopoulos, K. D. Zimmer. 2017. A global database of nitrogen and phosphorus excretion rates of aquatic animals. Ecology. 98:1475.

Kosnicki, E., Sefick Jr. S.A., Paller, M.H., Jerrell, M.S., Prusha, B.A., Sterrett, S.C., Tuberville, T.D. and J.W. Feminella. 2016. A stream Multimetric Macroinvertebrate Index (MMI) for the Sand Hills Ecoregion of the Southeastern Plains, USA. Environmental Management. 58:741-751.

Paller M., E. Kosnicki, S. Sefick, M. Jarrell, D. Fletcher, S. Sterrett, T. Tuberville, A. Grosse and J. Feminella. 2016. Factors Influencing Stream Fish Species Composition and Functional Properties at Multiple Spatial Scales in the Sand Hills of the Southeastern United States. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 145:545–562.

Sterrett, S.C., L.L. Smith, A. Kaeser, R.A. Katz, J.C. Brock and J.C. Maerz. 2015. Spatial ecology of female Barbour’s map turtle (Graptemys barbouri) in Ichawaynochaway Creek. Copeia. 2015(2): 263-271.

Sterrett, S.C., R.A. Katz and J.C. Maerz. 2015. What can turtles teach us about the theory of ecological stoichiometry? Special Issue on “Synthesizing ecosystem-level effects of consumer-driven nutrient dynamics in freshwaters.” Freshwater Biology. 60(3): 443-455.

Graham, S.P, C.K. Ward, J. Shelby, S.C. Sterrett and M.T. Mendonca. 2015. Sexual dimorphism and seasonal variation of reproductive hormones in the Pascagoula Map Turtle, Graptemys gibbonsi. Copeia. 2015(1): 42-50.

Barrett, K., D.A. Steen, S.C. Sterrett, W.B. Sutton, and S.P. Graham. 2015. Desmognathus quadramaculatus (Black-bellied Salamander). Maximum Clutch Size. Herpetological Review. 46:409.

Sterrett, S.C., E.H.C. Grant, A.B. Brand, W.R. Fields, and R.A. Katz. 2015. Plethodon cinereus (Eastern Red-backed Salamander). Movement. Herpetological Review. 46:71.

Kosnicki E., S.A. Sefick, M.H. Paller, M.S. Jarrell, B.A. Prusha, S.C. Sterrett, T.D. Tuberville, and J.W. Feminella. 2014. Defining the reference condition for wadeable streams in the Sand Hills of the Southeastern Plains ecoregion, USA. Environmental Management. 54: 494-504.

Sterrett, S.C. and A. Crain. 2014. Trachemys scripta elegans (Red-eared Slider). Movement. Herpetological Review. 45:321.

Sterrett, S.C., J. Jensen and B. Folt. 2014. Graptemys barbouri (Barbour’s map turtle). Basking Height. Herpetological Review. 45:314-315.

Ryan, T.J., W.J. Peterman, J.D. Stephens and S.C. Sterrett. 2014. Movements and habitat use of the common snapping turtle in an urban landscape. Urban Ecosystems. 17: 613-623.

Paller, M.H., S.C. Sterrett, T.D. Tuberville, D.E. Fletcher and A.M. Grosse. 2014. Effects of disturbance at two spatial scales on macroinvertebrate and fish metrics of stream health. Journal of Freshwater Ecology. 29: 83-100.

Sterrett, S.C. and V. K. Terrell. 2013. Sternotherus minor (Loggerhead Musk Turtle). Diet. Herpetological Review. 44(1):133-134.

Sterrett, S.C., L.L. Smith, S.W. Golladay, S.H. Schweitzer, and J.C. Maerz. 2011. The conservation implications of riparian land use on river turtles. Animal Conservation. 14: 38-46.

Davis, A.K. and S.C. Sterrett. 2011. Prevalence and phylogenetic analysis of haemogregarine parasites in three freshwater turtle species in a population in northeast Georgia, USA. International Journal of Zoological Research 7:156-163.

Steen, D.A., S.C. Sterrett, A.M. Heupel and L.L. Smith. 2010. Common snapping turtle, Chelydra serpentina, movements near the southeastern extent of its range. Georgia Journal of Science. 68(4): 196-201.

Sterrett, S.C., L.L. Smith, S.H. Schweitzer and J.C. Maerz. 2010. An assessment of two methods for sampling river turtle assemblages. Herpetology Conservation and Biology 5(3): 490-497.

Grosse, A.M., S.C. Sterrett and J.C. Maerz. 2010. The effect of turbidity on the foraging success of a freshwater turtle (Chrysemys picta). Copeia 2010: 463-467.

Paller M., J. Feminella, E. Kosnicki, S. Sefick, M. Jarrell, D. Fletcher, S. Sterrett, T. Tuberville, A. Grosse, and B. Prusha. 2010. Ecological Reference Models for Blackwater Streams: a Prerequisite for Successful Ecosystem Recovery and Management. Proceedings of the South Carolina Water Resources Conference, Columbia, South Carolina.

Sterrett, S.C. and A.M. Grosse. 2009. Graptemys barbouri (Barbour’s Map Turtle). Range Extension. Herpetological Review. 40(1):110.

Sterrett, S.C. and A.M. Grosse. 2009. Apalone spinifera (Eastern Spiny Softshell). Range Extension. Herpetological Review. 40(1):110.

Ryan, T. J., C. A. Conner, B. A. Douthitt, S. C. Sterrett, and C. M. Salsbury. 2008. Movement and habitat use of two aquatic turtles (Graptemys geographica and Trachemys scripta) in an urban landscape. Urban Ecosystems. 11: 213-225.

Grosse, A.M., A.R. Ferrerira, K.L. Holcomb and S.C. Sterrett. 2008. Malaclemys terrapin (Diamondback Terrapin). Range Extension. Herpetological Review. 39(3):365.

Sterrett, S.C., L.L. Smith, M.B. Howze, A.M. Heupel and C.L. Atkinson. 2008. Pseudemys concinna (Eastern River Cooter). Movement. Herpetological Review. 39(4): 464.

Steen, D.A., S.C. Sterrett, S.A. Miller, and L.L. Smith. 2007. Terrestrial movement and microhabitat selection of overwintering juvenile eastern mud turtles (Kinosternon subrubrum) in Southwest Georgia. Journal of Herpetology. 41(3): 532-535.

Steen, D.A., G.J. Miller, S.C. Sterrett and L.L. Smith. 2007. Masticophis flagellum flagellum (Eastern Coachwhip). Growth and movement. Herpetological Review. 38(1): 90.

Sterrett, S.C., D.A. Steen and L.L. Smith. 2006. Ambystoma tigrinum (Eastern Tiger Salamander). Burrow use. Herpetological Review. 37(4): 435.

Steen, D.A., L.L Smith, G.J. Miller and S.C. Sterrett. 2006. Post breeding terrestrial movements of eastern tiger salamanders, Ambystoma tigrinum. Southeastern Naturalist. 5(2): 285–288.

Steen, D.A., G.J. Miller, S.C. Sterrett and L.L. Smith. 2005. Gopherus polyphemus (Gopher Tortoise). Juvenile use of Geomys pinetis (southeastern pocket gopher) tunnel. Herpetological Review. 36(4): 442.

Page updated: May 31, 2017