David T. Ledesma
Paleontology, Herpetology, Geology
I'm currently a PhD. candidate in my 5th year at the University of Texas at Austin. I was born and raised in Richmond, TX. As a kid, I would often explore nature while catching ribbon snakes, earth snakes, anoles, geckos, and other herpetofauna. These experiences, along with my visits to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, instilled in me a fascination for reptiles and amphibians as well as the history of life on earth. In my free time, I like to play soccer and continue to go out into nature to find critters.
My research focuses on modern and fossil herpetofauna. I seek to better understand the impacts of environmental changes on herpetofauna communities and populations. Relatively little is known about how long-term environmental changes impact extant populations over long time scales, due in part to challenges in gathering ecological data spanning comparable time scales. Fossil data can be used to extend our temporal study interval for developing a more complete understanding of the responses of biota to environmental changes. Fossil herpetofauna remain largely understudied, but through my research, I have provided new insights on the diversity of past herpetofauna and how past herpetofauna from Texas responded to environmental changes since the last glacial maximum (~20,000 years before present).