Nicholas Huron Biography



As an M.S. student at the University of Oklahoma, Nicholas Huron is targeting unique and largely understudied amphibians and reptiles of Southeast Asia in his research. Nick plans to address the relationship between ecological diversification and evolutionary history in and among these groups by combining his lifelong curiosity for the life history and distribution of these animals with an interest in biodiversity and systematics that was nurtured during his time as an undergraduate research student.

Originally hailing from a small town in Pennsylvania, Nick spent his summers listening to and hunting for the frogs and toads of the Northeast. He decided that when the time came, he wouldn’t mind having those sunny days year round and so he made his way to Pepperdine University in Southern California to begin his collegiate career. Once there, he quickly became integrated into the established research community, which was focused mainly on stream ecology. Once again, Nick’s summers were spent searching for local amphibians, but this time, it was done as a part of his fieldwork with a team of researchers in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey. This fieldwork consisted of combing numerous local streams and drainages and cataloguing the species found in each of them. The more time that Nick spent in the field, the more the pattern of biological diversification among the different streams became like a puzzle.

These puzzles prompted Nick to look at these animals in an entirely different way: population studies. Nick’s undergraduate research career has culminated in a study looking at the population genetics of a California Species of Special Concern, the California Newt (Taricha torosa), in light of various sources of pressure affecting its conservation. The study is currently in the final stages of drafting and revision, and more importantly pushed Nick’s research interests to align with the direction the Siler Lab is taking.

During the summer of 2014, Nick was fortunate enough to join a multi-institutional survey expedition to the Philippines to study the islands of Samar and Leyte. The expedition served as Nick’s first fieldwork (and typhoon!) in Southeast Asia and a source of inspiration for future studies. Nick hopes to increase his understanding of the relationship between evolution and ecological diversity in his research in the Siler Lab while exploring new and cutting edge cross-disciplinary (?) techniques for conducting biological research.