The J. Larry Landers Student Research Award is a Gopher Tortoise Council competitive grant program for undergraduate and graduate college students. We will award 1-2 grants of up to $3,000 each annually. This is an excellent opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to access funding for their research on Gopher Tortoise biology/ecology or any other relevant aspect of upland habitat conservation and management within the range of the Gopher Tortoise. The next application deadline is February 5, 2024. 

Please click here for more information on eligibility, reporting requirements, and application guidelines and format.

Please send submissions and questions to:

Betsie Rothermel
Archbold Biological Station
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Year Name Institution Project
2023 Garett Lawson Virginia Tech Gopher tortoise nest-site selection and the effect of nest environment on hatching success
2023 Krista Ruppert Mississippi State University Assessment of the genetic diversity and relatedness of gopher frogs on the Conecuh National Forest, Covington County, AL
2022 David Tevs Georgia Southern University Influence of unpaved roads on demographic and epigenetic characteristics of the Florida scrub lizard in two imperiled upland habitats.


Michael Brennan Georgia Southern University Effects of forest management practices in the Ocala National Forest on a rare endemic lizard.


Alexandra Brown University of Georgia If you build it, will they come? Snake occupancy of restored southeastern pine savanna habitats.
2021 Arik Hartmann University of Georgia Assessing community-level pathogen spillover in longleaf pine associated herpetofaunal communities. 
2021 McKayla Susen University of Georgia Examining the reciprocal relationship between habitat structure and the gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus). 
2020 Catherine Shadduck Florida Gulf Coast University Gopher tortoise surveys of state parks in southwest Florida. 
2019 William Hawthorne Eckerd College Immunocompetence effects of eastern indigo snakes (Drymarchon couperi). 
2019 Robin Lloyd University of South Alabama Effects of herbivore disturbance on understory plant communities in a longleaf pine forest.
2018 Christopher Murphy University of Georgia Refugia selection by vertebrates in the longleaf community
2018 Allison Kelley Marshall University Patterns of survival and movement in eastern diamondback rattlesnakes (Crotalus adamanteus) in coastal South Carolina
2017 Philip Schulte Auburn University Inferring social network dynamics in relocated gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus)
2017 Tim Gemesi University of South Florida Observation of eco-tunnels used by local gopher tortoise population
2016 Meghan Kelley Auburn University Possible effects of upper respiratory tract disease on tortoise olfaction, steroid hormonal cycles, and social behavior
2016 Rebecca McKee University of Georgia Augmenting populations in peril with waif animals: evaluating a new strategy for tortoise conservation
2015 Rhett Rautsaw University of Central Florida Examining corridor use and the feasibility of inland retreat by gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus)
2015 Jeffrey Goessling Auburn University Analysis of pathogen load across populations of gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus)
2014 Daniel P. Quinn University of Georgia Effect of captive diet on nutrition and analyzing nutrition as a predictor of post-release performance in head-started gopher tortoises
2014 K. Nicole White University of Georgia Social network in female gopher tortoises in a long-term study population at Archbold Biological Station
2014 Alex Wright University of Georgia Identifying the spatial extent of a gopher tortoise population and genetic connectivity of populations across a landscape
2013 Brad O’Hanlon Marshall University Ecology and behavior of the eastern diamondback rattlesnake in anthropogenic landscapes
2013 Michelina Dziadzio University of Georgia Predation on gopher tortoise nests using chicken eggs
2013 Mark Margres Florida State University Conservation genetics of the eastern diamondback rattlesnake
2012 Beth Schlimm University of Georgia Investigating linkages between habitat condition and snake species richness in the Coastal Plain of Georgia
2012 Michael L. Yuan Cornell University Characterization of cryptic kin structure in female gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) at Archbold Biological Station
2012 Daniel Gaillard University of Southern Mississippi Relationships of gopher tortoise gut-microbial communities and nutrients
2011 Nicole Hodges Mississippi State University Metabolic bone disease in gopher tortoises at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center and on Public Forest lands of South Mississippi
2011 Joanne Makin University of Birmingham (United Kingdom) Recolonization of scrub and sandhill by gopher tortoises following the reintroduction of fire at Archbold Biological Station
2011 Leigh Colley Georgia Southern University FSH challenge in Gopherus polyphemus and sex hormone differentiation in response to greater carapace length
2010 Pam Pannozzo University of Central Florida Evaluation of translocation as a conservation tool
2010 Jessica Gonynor-McGuire University of Georgia Gopher tortoise population health and disease ecology in Georgia
2010 Chris Catano University of Central Florida Goper tortoise influence on sandhill vertebrate diversity
2010 Kristine Amatuli University of North Florida Ongoing study of gopher tortoise population on University of North Florida campus
2010 Joshua Scholl Florida Atlantic University Gopher tortoise habitat use in a southeastern Florida population
2010 Rachel Smith University of North Florida Gopher tortoise demography and reproduction at White Oak Plantation, Florida
2009 Thomas W. Hentges University of South Florida Is the gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) compatible with cows?
2009 Aaron Holbrook University of Southern Mississippi Stress levels in female gopher tortoises and their eggs from low & high impact areas
2009 Jessica Gonynor University of Georgia Gopher Tortoise Population Health and Disease Ecology in Georgia
2009 Anthony Lau University of Florida Home range and movement patterns of Gopher Tortoises in Coastal Sand Dune Habitat
2005 Danna Baxley University of Southern Mississippi Conservation biology and ecology of the black pine snake in Mississippi
2004 Roger Birkhead Auburn University  
2004 Natalie Hyslop University of Georgia Spatial ecology and habitat use of the threatened eastern indigo snake in southeast Georgia
2001 Jamie Colson University of South Florida Determination of paternity patterns in gopher tortoises using DNA microsatellites
2001 Jayme Waldron Clemson University Ecology of the canebrake rattlesnake in areas of sympatry with the eastern diamondback rattlesnake
2000 Erin Clark University of Georgia Research and development of conservation plans for the establishment of a reproductively self-sustaining population of gopher tortoises on the Aiken gopher tortoise reserve
2000 James Tucker Auburn University Influence of season and frequency of fire on reproductive success of Bachman’s sparrow in longleaf pine forests of the Gulf coastal plain
1999 Noah Anderson Southeastern Louisiana University Thermal ecology of gopher tortoises
1999 William Blihovde University of Central Florida Movements and site fidelity in gopher frogs
1999 Ghislaine Guyot   Upper Respiratory Tract Disease and tortoise relocation
1998 Steve Johnson University of Florida Conservation genetics of the striped newt
1998 William Blihovde University of Central Florida The life history of the gopher frog in Central Florida
1998 Tracey Tuberville University of Georgia Movement and activity patterns of the southern hognose snake in South Carolina
1997 Jeannine Ott Auburn University The relationship between movement and the reproductive cycle in a natural population of gopher tortoises: applications to conservation and management
1997 Kathryn Buchanan University of Central Florida Lake Louisa Sandhill restoration experiment: restoring grasses and forbs
1997 Elenor Mobley University of Central Florida A baseline population study of the southern fence lizard in Central Florida
1996 Melissa Dills Auburn University Coloniality in the gopher tortoise, Gopherus polyphemus
1996 Karl Studenroth and Adrianne Bosarge University of Mobile A survey of the occurrence of Gopherus polyphemus on the campus of the University of Mobile, Mobile Co. Alabama
1995 Michael Belson University of Central Florida Habitat selection by red-headed woodpeckers in the Wekiva River Basin, Florida
1995 Jeffrey P. Demuth Southeastern Louisiana University A test of the effects of incubation temperature on sex determination and performance of hatchling gopher tortoises
1994 Gerald Johnson University of Miami Thermal ecology of the gopher tortoise in south-central Florida: seasonal and ontogenetic aspects
1994 Pamela Kwiatkowski University of South Florida Paternity determination and behavioral interaction in male gopher tortoises
1992 Parks Small University of Central Florida Florida scrub jays in the Wekiva River Basin and an evaluation of a habitat management technique
1991 Judith Hicklin Florida Atlantic University Gopher tortoise habitat utilization in relation to invading exotic woody plants
1991 Matt Osentoski East Carolina University Mitochondrial DNA variation in the gopher tortoise, gopher tick and gopher cricket
1989 Lora Smith University of Florida Nesting ecology, female home range and activity, and survivorship in gopher tortoises