Barry Stephenson


  • B.A., Biology, Clark University
  • M.S., Zoology, Washington State University
  • Ph.D., Biology, University of Miami

Courses Taught

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology I (BIO 202)
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology II (BIO 203)
  • Special Topics in Biology (BIO 250)
  • Vertebrate Zoology (BIO 301)
  • Principles of Ecology (BIO 370)
  • Among Gods and Heroes (GBK 101) 
  • Introduction to Academic Research (HON 105)
  • Special Topics in the Honors Program (HON 198)


Behavioral Ecology; Sexual Selection; Herpetology

Research Interest

My recent research has focused on the function and evolution of animal color patterns, especially in lizards. My dissertation work explored the functional significance of dorsal coloration in a species of spiny lizard (Sceloporus minor) endemic to central Mexico. In northwest Hidalgo state, males of this species occur in multiple color morphs that correspond to differences in anatomy, physiology, and behavior, suggesting that male morphs exhibit alternative mating strategies. Projects with Mercer students have addressed similar questions in a local species of spiny lizard (S. undulatus). Other research projects include studies of life history variation in Mexican spiny lizards (with Dr. Aurelio Ramírez-Bautista and colleagues), investigations of albinism in garter snakes (with Dr. Kevin Drace), and studies of the reproductive behavior of the tailed frog, Ascaphus (with Dr. Paul Verrell).

Recent Publications

  1. Cruz-Elizalde, R., Ramírez-Bautista, A., Stephenson, B.P., Luja-Molina, V., Hernández-Salinas, U. 2017. Variation in female reproduction among populations of the arboreal lizard Urosaurus bicarinatus (Squamata: Phrynosomatidae) from two different environments in Mexico. Salamandra 53:359-367.
  2. García-Rosales, A., Ramírez-Bautista, A., Stephenson, B.P., Meza-Lázaro, R.N., Nieto-Montes de Oca, A. 2017. Comparative morphology and genetics of two populations of spiny lizards (genus Sceloporus) from Central Mexico. Zoologischer Anzeiger 267:21-30.
  3. Stephenson, B.P., Ihász, I., Byrd, D.C., Swierk, J., Swierk, L. 2017. Temperature-dependent color change is a function of sex and directionality of temperature shift in the eastern fence lizard (Sceloporus undulatus). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 120:396-409.
  4. Stephenson, B.P. and Drace, K.M. 2014. A new report of albinism in the Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis), and a review of existing records: Is there a geographic bias in observations? Herpetological Review 45:569-577. (pdf)
  5. Ramírez-Bautista, A., Stephenson, B.P., Serrano-Muñoz, C., Cruz-Elizalde, R., and Hernández-Salinas, U. 2014. Reproduction and sexual dimorphism in two populations of the polymorphic spiny lizard Sceloporus minor from Hidalgo, México. Acta Zoologica 95:397-408.
  6. Ramírez-Bautista, A., Stephenson, B.P., Hernández-Ibarra, X., Hernández-Salinas, U. Cruz-Elizalde, R., Lozano, A. and Smith, G.R. 2012. Reproductive strategy of male and female eastern spiny lizards Sceloporus spinosus (Squamata: Phrynosomatidae) from a region of the Chihuahuan Desert, México. Acta Herpetologica 7:239-252.
  7. Ramírez-Bautista, A., Stephenson, B.P., Lozano, A., Uribe-Rodríguez, H., and Leyte-Manrique, A. 2012. Atypical reproductive cycles in a population of Sceloporus grammicus (Squamata: Phrynosomatidae) from the Mexican Plateau. Ecology and Evolution 2:1903-1913. (pdf)
  8. Stephenson, B.P. and Ramírez-Bautista, A. 2012. Did sexually dimorphic dorsal coloration evolve by a pre-existing bias in males in the lizard Sceloporus minor? Evolutionary Ecology 26:1277-1291. (pdf)
  9. Stephenson, B.P., Ihász, N., Mendoza-Varela, E.L., Loveland, J.L., and Ramírez-Bautista, A. 2010. Sceloporus minor (Minor Lizard). Predation. Herpetological Review 41:496-7.