The work of Dr. Alicia Mathis was recently recognized at a basketball game Maroon Minute:
Dr. Alicia Mathis, head of the biology department at Missouri State University, focuses her research on the behaviors of tiny amphibians and fish, but also on the second largest salamander in the world, the hellbender, which is listed as an endangered species.
Missouri is the only state to call both currently recognized subspecies of hellbenders home, and Mathis has been researching them since 1997. In the last few decades, though, the population of hellbenders in Missouri has declined more than 75 percent.
Agricultural runoff and pollution are just two of the concerns for waterways, and Mathis found that hellbenders are great models for environmental studies because they require fast-flowing cool, clear water to maintain their oxygen levels. The work of Mathis and her students continues to reveal the mysteries of the wild: communication, competition, and survival.