Phone: 208-885-6111
Toll-free: 88-88-UIDAHO
Fax: 208-885-9119
Student Union Building
875 Perimeter Drive MS 4264
Moscow, ID 83844-4264


Phone: 208-334-2999
Fax: 208-364-4035
322 E. Front Street
Boise, ID 83702


Coeur d'Alene

Phone: 208-667-2588
Toll-free: 888-208-2268
Fax: 208-664-1272
1031 N. Academic Way,
Suite 242
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814


Idaho Falls

Phone: 208-282-7900
Fax: 208-282-7929
1776 Science Center Drive, Suite 306
Idaho Falls, ID 83402


Stephen Spear, Ph.D.


Post Doctoral Scientist

Department of Fish and Wildlife Sciences


Research Interests:

My research interests are focused on the conservation of reptiles and amphibians, with an emphasis on understanding how landscape disturbance influences population structure. I am currently working as an assistant conservation scientist with the Orianne Society and a postdoctoral researcher with Lisette Waits on a number of projects. Some current projects include:

  1. Investigating the habitat use and population connectivity of the midget faded rattlesnake in Wyoming and Colorado through the use of landscape genetics and habitat modeling (in collaboration with Clayton State University and Idaho State University). 
  2. Using DNA extracted from environmental water samples to detect the presence and assess status of threatened amphibians such as hellbenders, mudpuppies, striped newts, gopher frogs, and flatwoods salamanders (in collaboration with Lee University, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, North Carolina Zoo, USGS, University of Georgia, and Georgia Department of Natural Resources)
  3. Examining landscape influences on genetic structure of the threatened eastern indigo snake across southern Georgia
  4. Developing survey methodology to detect bushmaster species to enable status assessment and ecological studies in Costa Rica and Panama (in collaboration with Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación Costa Rica, Osa Conservation, and La MICA Biological Station)
  5. Investigating the divergence of rough-skinned newts within Crater Lake from surrounding populations outside the caldera to understand the evolution of the unique lake population (in collaboration with National Park Service)


S.F. Spear, C.M. Crisafulli, and A. Storfer. 2012. Genetic structure among coastal tailed frog populations at Mount St. Helens is moderated by post-disturbance management. Ecological Applications 22: 856-869.

R. Dudaniec, S. F. Spear, J. S. Richardson, and A. Storfer. 2012. Current and historical drivers of landscape genetic structure in core and peripheral salamander populations. PloS one 7: e36769

S.F. Spear, N. Balkenhol, M.-J. Fortin, B. McRae and K. Scribner. 2010. Use of resistance surfaces for landscape genetic studies: Considerations of parameterization and analysis. Molecular Ecology 19: 3576-3591.

A. Storfer, R. Holderegger, M. Murphy, S.F. Spear, L. Waits. 2010. Landscape genetics: where are we now? Molecular Ecology 19: 3496-3514.

C. Anderson, B. Epperson, M.-J. Fortin, R. Holderegger, P. James, M. Rosenberg, K. Scribner and S. Spear. 2010. Considering spatial and temporal scale in landscape-genetic studies of gene flow. Molecular Ecology 19: 3565-3575.

J. Yoder, E. Clancey, S. Des Roches, J. Eastman, L. Gentry, W. Godsoe, T. Hagey, D. Jochimsen, B. Oswald, J. Robertson, B. Sarver, J. Schenk, S.F. Spear, and L. Harmon. 2010. Ecological opportunity and the origin of adaptive radiations. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 23: 1581-1596.

S.F. Spear and A. Storfer. 2010 Anthropogenic and natural disturbance lead to differing patterns of gene flow in the Rocky Mountain tailed frog, Ascaphus montanus. Biological Conservation 143: 778-786.

A. Storfer, J. M. Eastman and S.F. Spear. 2009. Modern molecular methods for amphibian conservation. Bioscience. 59: 559-571.

 S.F. Spear and A. Storfer. 2008. Landscape genetic structure of Coastal tailed frogs (Ascaphus truei) in protected versus managed forests. Molecular Ecology 17: 4642-4656.

S.F. Spear, J. Baumsteiger and A. Storfer. 2008. Newly developed polymorphic markers for frogs of the genus Ascaphus. Molecular Ecology Resources 8: 936-938

A. Storfer, M.A. Murphy, J.S. Evans, C.S. Goldberg, S. Robinson, S.F. Spear, R. Dezzani, E. Delmelle, L. Vierling and L.P. Waits. 2007. Putting the “landscape” in landscape genetics. Heredity 98: 128-142.

S.F. Spear, C.R. Peterson, M.D. Matocq and A. Storfer. 2006. Molecular evidence for historical and recent population size reductions of tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum) in Yellowstone National Park. Conservation Genetics 7: 605-611.

S.F. Spear, C.R. Peterson, M.D. Matocq and A. Storfer. 2005. Landscape genetics of the Blotched Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum melanostictum). Molecular Ecology 14: 2553-2564