Professor of Biology
B.S. - Duke University
M.S. - University of Maryland
Ph.D. - Duke University

Phone - 540-568-6665
Fax - 540-568-3333
Office -  Bioscience 1028B  

Office Hours    |    Personal Website

Courses:   Ecology and Evolution (BIO 124), Mathematical Models in Biology (BIO 325), Population Ecology (452/552),Graduate Ecology Seminar (BIO 660)

Research Interests:  Disease Ecology, Conservation Ecology, Population and Community Ecology

Ongoing project areas in my laboratory include:

  • the use of probiotics to mitigate chytridiomycosis in amphibian populations
  • the community ecology context of infectious diseases in wildlife
  • conservation of the rare Cow Knob salamander (Plethodon punctatus)

Our research is currently funded by the National Science Foundation and supported by the USDA Forest Service.

McKenzie, V.J., Kueneman, J.G., and Harris, R.N. 2018. Probiotics as a tool for disease mitigation in wildlife: insights from food production and medicine. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, in press.

Rebollar, Eria, M. Hughey, D. Medina, R. Harris, R. Ibañez, and L. Belden. 2016. Skin bacterial diversity of Panamanian frogs is associated with host susceptibility and presence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. ISME J, 10:1682, doi:10.1038/ismej.2015.234.

Loudon, A. H., Holland*, J. A., Umile, T. P., Burzynski, E. A., Minbiole, K. P., & Harris, R. N. 2014. Interactions between amphibians’ symbiotic bacteria cause the production of emergent anti-fungal metabolites. Frontiers in Microbiology, 5, 441, doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00441.

Bletz, M.C., A.H. Loudon, M.H. Becker, S.C. Bell, D.C. Woodhams, K.P.C. Minbiole, R. N. Harris. 2013. Mitigating amphibian chytridiomycosis with bioaugmentation: Characteristics of effective probiotics and strategies for their selection and use.  Ecology Letters 16:807-820.

Ramsey, J.P., A. Mercurio, J. A. Holland*, R.N. Harris, K.P.C. Minbiole. 2013. The cutaneous bacterium Janthinobacterium lividum inhibits the growth of Trichophyton rubrum in vitro. International Journal of Dermatology. doi: 10.1111/ijd.12217.

Muletz, C.R., J.M. Myers, R.J. Domangue, J.B. Herrick, R.N. Harris. 2012. Soil bioaugmentation with amphibian cutaneous bacteria protects amphibian hosts from infection by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Biological Conservation 152:119-126.

​Myers, J. M., J.P. Ramsey, A.L. Blackman, A. E. Nichols, K.P.C. Minbiole, R. N. Harris. 2012. Synergistic inhibition of the lethal fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis:  The combined effects of symbiotic bacterial metabolites and antimicrobial peptides of the frog Rana muscosa. Journal of Chemical Ecology 38: 958-965.

​Lam, B. A., D. B. Walton, R. N. Harris. 2011. Motile zoospores of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis move away from antifungal metabolites produced by amphibian skin bacteria. EcoHealth 8: 36-45.

Becker, M. H., R. N. Harris. 2010. Cutaneous bacteria of the redback salamander prevent morbidity associated with a lethal disease. PLoS One 5(6): e10957. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010957

Harris, R. N., R. M. Brucker, J. B. Walke, M. H. Becker, C. R. Schwantes, D. C Flaherty, B. A. Lam, D. C. Woodhams, C. J. Briggs, V. T. Vredenburg, K. P. C. Minbiole.  2009. Skin microbes on frogs prevent morbidity and mortality caused by a lethal skin fungus. ISME Journal 3:818-824.

Harris, R. N., A. Lauer, M. A. Simon, J. L. Banning, R. A. Alford.  2009. Addition of antifungal skin bacteria to salamanders ameliorates the effects of chytridiomycosis. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 83:11-16.

Banning, J. L., A. L. Weddle, G. W. Wahl III, M. A. Simon, A. Lauer, R. L. Walters, and R. N. Harris. 2008. Antifungal skin bacteria, embryonic survival, and communal nesting in four-toed salamanders, Hemidactylium scutatum. Oecologia 156:423–429.

Brucker, R. M., R. N. Harris, C. R. Schwantes, T. N. Gallaher, D. C. Flaherty, B. A. Lam, K. P. C. Minbiole. 2008. Amphibian chemical defense: antifungal metabolites of the microsymbiont Janthinobacterium lividum on the salamander Plethodon cinereus. Journal of Chemical Ecology 34:1422-1429.

​Lauer, A., M. A. Simon, J. L. Banning, B. Lam, and R. N. Harris. 2008. Diversity of cutaneous bacteria with antifungal activity isolated from female four-toed salamanders.  The ISME Journal 2: 145–157.

Belden, L. K., and R. N. Harris. 2007. Infectious diseases in wildlife:  the community ecology context. Frontiers in Ecology and Environment 5:533-539.

Woodhams, D. C., V. T. Vredenburg, M. J. Stice, M. A. Simon, D. Billheimer, B. Shakhtour, Y. Shyr, C. J. Briggs, L. A. Rollins-Smith, and R. N. Harris. 2007. Symbiotic bacteria contribute to innate immune defenses of the threatened mountain yellow-legged frog, Rana muscosa.  Biological Conservation, 138: 390-398.

Harris, R. N., T. Y. James, A. Lauer, M. A. Simon, A. Patel. 2006. The amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is inhibited by the cutaneous bacteria of amphibian species.  EcoHealth 3:53-56.


For a complete publication list, please click here.

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