David B. Wake has devoted much of his adult life to studying the evolutionary biology of lungless salamanders (family Plethodontidae), and especially the group’s explosive radiation in the New World tropics. Beginning with a Masters thesis that described the comparative osteology of the North American genus Aneides, Wake’s approach continually expanded into new areas.

He has made major contributions to population biology and genetics, ecology, behavior, functional and developmental morphology, taxonomy and systematics, comparative genomics, and conservation biology

He has described dozens of new species, and mentored nearly as many students and postdocs. Initially, tropical fieldwork comprised intensive studies of Guatemalan cloud forest habitats, but ultimately Wake’s renowned ‘elevational transect’ approach extended into Mexico, Costa Rica, and Panama, with more modest forays into other countries of Central and South America. Today, neotropical plethodontids offer a paradigm for analyzing the evolutionary biology of adaptive radiation and organismal diversification, largely as a result of the contributions of David Wake and his numerous collaborators and students.
Some of Wake’s main publications

Home page - San Cristobal de las Casas - IBUNAM - ECOSUR