Loyola University Chicago

Department of Biology

Joseph Milanovich

Associate Professor
Ph.D. 2010, University of Georgia
Aquatic Ecology; Vertebrate Ecology; Herpetology
Phone: 773.508.3635


My primary research interests focus on understanding the effect of land use and climate change on, and the ecological role of, communities – in both natural and urban ecosystems.  My primary goal is to help understand the importance of biotic communities to ecosystem function and service.  I have worked with a variety of taxa, but the majority of my research endeavors focus on amphibians in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.  My research is primarily field based; however, I utilize a number of computer-based and laboratory techniques, such as species distribution models, ecological stoichiometry, and stable isotope analysis to study community and landscape-level interactions.

Previous research projects have included:  (1) investigating nutrient recycling and storage of stream salamanders in headwater streams, (2) using species distribution models to predict the impact of climate and land use change on amphibians, (3) examining the influence of urbanization on amphibians and macroinvertebrates in wetlands, and (4) investigating the use of stable isotopes in herpetological research.

Amphibians and reptiles are diverse and abundant groups of organisms with ecological links to a number of biota and ecosystem processes; however, they are currently under significant threats worldwide.  Therefore, my research program uses a variety of methods to continue to investigate the importance of herpetofauna (amphibians and reptiles) to ecosystem function.

Fig. Photos of the Patch-nosed Salamander (Urspelerpes brucei), Eastern Gray Tree Frog (Hyla versicolor), Rat Snake (Elaphe obsolete), and Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina).  Photos taken by Bill Peterman.


Milanovich, J.R., and J.C. Maerz. In press. Realistic fasting does not affect stable isotope levels of a metabolically efficient salamander. Journal of Herpetology.

Milanovich, J.R., W.E. Peterman, K. Barrett, and M.E. Hopton. 2012. Do species distribution models predict species richness in urban and natural green space? A case study using amphibians. Landscape and Urban Planning 107:409-418.

Milanovich, J.R., and J.C. Maerz. 2012. Assessing the use of non-lethal tail clips for measuring stable isotopes of plethodontid salamanders. Herpetological Conservation and Biology. 7:67-74.

Milanovich, J.R., S.E. Trauth, and D. Saugey. 2011. Reproduction and age composition of a population of woodland salamanders (Plethodon albagula) after a prescribed burn in southwestern Arkansas. Southwestern Naturalist 56:172-179.

Burke, J., J.C. Maerz, J.R. Milanovich, M.C. Fisk, and K.J.K. Gandhi. 2011. Invasion by exotic earthworms alters litter- and soil-dwelling microarthropod (Acari: Oribatida) communities in a northern hardwood forest.  Diversity 3:155-175.

Milanovich, J.R., †W.E. Peterman, N. Nibbelink, J.C. Maerz. 2010. Projected loss of a salamander diversity hotspot as a consequence to global climate change. PLoS ONE 5: e12189. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012189

Davis, A.K., and J.R. Milanovich. 2010. Lead-phase and red-stripe color morphs of red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) differ in hematological stress indices: A consequence of differential predation pressure? Current Zoology 56:238-243.

Davis, A.K., †J.L. DeVore, J.R. Milanovich, †K. Cecala, J.C. Maerz, and M.J. Yabsley. 2009.

New findings from an old pathogen: intraerythrocytic bacteria (Family Anaplasmatacea) in red-backed salamanders Plethodon cinereus. Ecohealth 6:219-228.

Camp, C.D., †W.E. Peterman, J.R. Milanovich, T. Lamb, J.C. Maerz and D.B. Wake. 2009. A new genus and species of lungless salamander (family Plethodontidae) from the Appalachian highlands of the southeastern United States. Journal of Zoology 279:86-94.

Davis, A.K., J.R. Milanovich, †J. DeVore, J.C. Maerz. 2009. An investigation of factors influencing erythrocyte morphology of red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus). Animal Biology 59: 201-209.

Milanovich, J.R., S.E. Trauth., and T. McKay. 2008. Diet of the western slimy salamander (Plethodon albagula) from two mountain ranges in Arkansas. Southeastern Naturalist 7:323-  330.

Milanovich, J.R., S.E. Trauth., D.A. Saugey, and R.A. Jordan. 2006. Fecundity, reproductive ecology, and influence of precipitation on clutch size in the western slimy salamander (Plethodon albagula). Herpetologica 62: 292-301.