Research & Collections

Bryan Stuart

Curator of Amphibians and Reptiles

Bryan Stuart in Guadeloupe, French West

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley, 2006-2008
Ph.D. (Biological Sciences) University of Illinois at Chicago, 2006
M.Sc. (Zoology) North Carolina State University, 1998
B.Sc. (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) Cornell University, 1995

Other Appointments

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, North Carolina State University

Research Interests

I am a herpetologist interested in the biodiversity, systematics, and conservation of amphibians and reptiles. I am especially interested in patterns and processes of speciation, and the long-standing questions of what is a species and how do we recognize it?

Megophrys parva frogI use molecular data and tools from the fields of systematics and phylogeography to delineate boundaries within complexes of ‘cryptic species’ (two or more species erroneously classified as single species). My research has shown that many geographically widespread ‘species’ actually contain multiple, divergent, and sometimes sympatric evolutionary lineages that I hypothesize to be distinct species. These findings have implications for biogeography, community ecology, and conservation, and raise questions on how these sympatric lineages originated and are maintained.

As a museum herpetologist, I also devote considerable time to preparing species descriptions and taxonomic revisions, usually initiated by findings in my field collections. I have maintained an active field program in Southeast Asia since 1998, with a focus on the countries of Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. More recently, I have also been working in Gabon, central Africa.

Closer to home in North Carolina, I am investigating the taxonomic status of an unusual population of the Two-lined Salamander (genus Eurycea), and hybridization between native and invasive slider turtles (Trachemys scripta).

Selected Publications

Lao newt, Paramesotriton laoensis.

Brown, R. M. and B. L. Stuart. 2012. Patterns of biodiversity discovery through time: an historical analysis of amphibian species discoveries in the Southeast Asian mainland and adjacent island archipelagos. In D. J. Gower, K. G. Johnson, J. E. Richardson, B. R. Rosen, L. Rüber, and S. T. Williams (eds.). Biotic Evolution and Environmental Change in Southeast Asia. Cambridge University Press.

Stuart, B. L., J. J. L. Rowley, D. T. A. Tran, D. T. T. Le, and H. D. Huy. 2011. The Leptobrachium (Anura: Megophryidae) of the Langbian Plateau, southern Vietnam, with description of a new species. Zootaxa 2804: 25-40.
Ly, T., H. D. Hoang, and B. L. Stuart. 2011. Market turtle mystery solved in Vietnam. Biological Conservation 144: 1767-1771.

Stuart, B. L., R. H. Bain, S. Phimmachak, and K. Spence. 2010. Phylogenetic systematics of the Amolops monticola group (Amphibia: Ranidae), with description of a new species from northwestern Laos. Herpetologica 66(1): 52-66.

Stuart, B. L., A. G. J. Rhodin, L. L. Grismer, and T. Hansel. 2006. Scientific description can imperil species. Science 312: 1137.

To learn more about Bryan's research, please visit