Associate Dean of Science and Associate Curator (Herpetology)
Ph.D., University of Kansas, 1988 "Phylogenetic Analysis of the Tropidurus Group of Iguanian Lizards, with Comments on Relationships Within the Iguania (Squamata)"
Dr. Frost is interested in the evolutionary origin and diversification of reptiles and amphibians, as well as the underlying epistemological issues of knowledge claims in evolutionary biology. How do we know that lizards within one group are more closely related to each other than some members of that group are to another group? What are the evidentiary requirements of a claim that lineages exist or that these lineages form larger taxonomic groups? How does one combine different kinds of evidence? Dr. Frost's publications on the phylogenetics of iguanian lizards over the last several years are aimed at resolving these kinds of questions. He has worked on the notion of species in systematic biology and on how to combine molecular and morphological data. He also is engaged in collaborative work on iguanian lizards, most recently on the Madagascan oplurids, the South American polychrotids and tropidurines. As part of this effort, Dr. Frost recently formulated a revised classification for the entire Iguania, a group of about 1000 species found in the Americas, Madagascar, and Fiji and Tonga.
At the other extreme, Dr. Frost maintains a very large online taxonomic catalogue of the world's living amphibians, found at http://research.amnh.org/herpetology/amphibia/index.html, which provides the nomenclatural history, available English names, geographic distribution, and a digest of the relevant literature regarding the taxon. He feels strongly that meticulously prepared catalogues help knit the world's scientific community together by providing workers in the developing world with access to current literature and up-to-date summaries of our knowledge of the biodiversity of living amphibians.
RECENT SIGNIFICANT PUBLICATIONS
Frost, D., M. T. Rodrigues, T. Grant, and T. Titus. "Phylogenetics of the Lizard Genus Tropidurus (Squamata: Tropiduridae: Tropidurinae), Direct Optimization, Descriptive Efficiency, and Sensitivity Analysis of Congruence Between Molecular Data and Morphology." Molecular Phylogenetic Evolution (in press/2001).
Frost, D., D. Etheridge, D. Janies, and T. Titus. "Total Evidence, Sequence Alignment, the Evolution of the Polychrotid Lizards, and a Reclassification of the Iguania (Squamata: Iguania)." American Museum Novitates (in press/2001).
Frost, D., D. Janies, P. Mouton, and T. Titus. "A Molecular Perspective on the Phylogeny of the Cordylid Lizards (Cordylidae, Squamata)." American Museum Novitates 3310 (2001): 1-10.
Frost, D. "Species, Descriptive Efficiency, and Progress in Systematics." In Biology of Plethodontid Salamanders, ed. R. D. Bruce, R. G. Jaeger, and L. Houck, 7-30. New York: Plenum Press, 2000.
Frost, D., H. M. Crafts, L. Fitzgerald, and T. Titus. "Geographic Variation, Species Recognition, and Molecular Evolution of Cytochrome Oxidase I in the Tropidurus Spinulosus Complex (Iguania: Tropiduridae)." Copeia 4 (1998): 839-851.
Titus, T., and D. Frost. "Molecular Homology Assessment and Phylogeny in the Lizard Family Opluridae (Squamata: Iguania)." Molecular Phylogenetic Evolution 6, no. 1 (1996): 49-62.
Frost, D., and A. G. Kluge. "A Consideration of Epistemology in Systematic Biology, with Special Reference to Species." Cladistics 10, no. 3 (1995): 259-294.
Campbell, J. A., and D. Frost. "Anguid Lizards of the Genus Abronia: Revisionary Notes, Descriptions of Four New Species, a Phylogenetic Analysis, and Key." Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 216 (1993): 122 pp.
OTHER PROFESSIONAL HONORS
POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWS AND GRADUATE STUDENTS