Dr. Lisa Belden

Biological Sciences

Dr. Belden is a community ecologist working primarily in the field of disease ecology. Several projects in the Belden lab have direct ties to the IGC program, including work examining the role of species diversity in trematode parasite dynamics in wildlife populations, and the role of symbiotic skin microbes in preventing amphibian infection by the chytrid fungus that has caused many amphibian population declines around the world.

Dr. Belden is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech, and a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. She serves on the board of directors of SEEDS, a non-profit environmental education organization located in Blacksburg, Virginia. She has published more than 40 peer-reviewed papers.


At Virginia Tech, Dr. Belden regularly teaches an undergraduate course in evolutionary biology and a graduate course in community ecology. She has also taught a senior-level capstone course, Advanced Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, and several graduate seminar courses, including one on maintaining work/life balance in academia.

Email address      Lab Website

Recent Relevant Publications

Hughey, M.C.P, J.A. PeñaU, R. ReyesU, D. MedinaG, L.K. Belden, and P.A. Burrowes. 2017. Skin bacterial microbiome of a generalist Puerto Rican frog varies along elevation and land use gradients. PeerJ 5: e3688. DOI: 10.7717/peerj. 3688

Thomason, C.A., N. Mullen, L.K. Belden, M. May, and D.M. Hawley. 2017. Resident microbiome disruption with antibiotics enhances virulence of a colonizing pathogen. Scientific Reports 7: 16177. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-16393-3.

Hughey, M.C.P, J.B. WalkeG, M.H. BeckerG, T.P. Umile, E. Burzynski, K.P.C. Minbiole, A. Iannetta, C.N. Santiago, W.A. Hopkins, and L.K. Belden. 2016. Impact of short-term exposure to coal combustion waste on the skin microbiome of spring peepers, Pseudacris crucifer. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 82(12):3493-3502. doi:10.1128/AEM.00045-16. 

Escallón, C., M.H. BeckerG, J.B. WalkeG, R.V. Jensen, G. Comier, L.K. Belden and I.T. Moore. 2016. Cloacal bacterial phylogenetic diversity, and relative abundance of Chlamydiae, increases with testosterone levels in a free-living tropical bird. Functional Ecology 31: 192-203. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12696.

Zemmer, S.A.G, J. WyderkoG, I. CedillosU, L. ClayU, J. Da Silva NetoU, E.F. Benfield, and L.K. Belden. 2017.  Seasonal and annual variation in trematode infection of stream-dwelling snails, Elimia proxima,in the southern Appalachian mountains of Virginia. Journal of Parasitology, accepted manuscript posted online 3 March 2017. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1645/16-82.