James Baxter-Gilbert

Part-time Lecturer


I am an evolutionary ecologist, herpetologist, and science communicator.  I am especially interested in how organisms respond and adapt to the increasingly anthropogenic world.  I frame my investigations within the contexts of conservation, evolution, urban ecology, and invasion biology, and strive to integrate my findings into actionable applications to ecological problems.  Often this requires looking for new ways to engage people and communities to take part in the scientific process and how we can make science more approachable and meaningful to the broader public. 


Baxter-Gilbert, J., Riley, J. L., Wagener, C., Baider, C., Florens, F. V., Kowalski, P., Campbell, M., & Measey, J. (2022). Island hopping through urban filters: Anthropogenic habitats and colonized landscapes alter morphological and performance traits of an invasive amphibian. Animals. 12: 2549.

Baxter-Gilbert, J., King, L., & Riley, J. L. (2022). First report of Eastern Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus) on Newfoundland. The Canadian Field-Naturalist. 136:5-9.

Baxter-Gilbert, J., & Riley, J. L. (2022). Urban avifauna diversity in Stellenbosch, South Africa, during the COVID-19 lockdown and observations of inner-city foraging behaviour. Biodiversity Observations, 12, 65-70.

Mühlenhaupt, M., Baxter Gilbert, J.H., Makhubo, B.G., Riley, J.L., and Measey, J. (2021) Growing up in a new world: trait divergence between rural, urban and invasive populations of an amphibian urban invader. Neobiota. 69: 103-132.

Baxter Gilbert, J.H., Riley, J.L., and Measey, J. (2021) Fortune favors the bold toad: Linking urban-derived behavioral traits to colonisation success of invasive amphibian populations. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 75: 130.

Baxter-Gilbert, J.H., Riley, J.L., Wagener, C., Mohanty, N.P., and Measey, J. (2020) Shrinking before out isles: the rapid expression of insular dwarfism in two invasive populations of guttural toad (Sclerophrys gutturalis). Biology Letters 16: 20200651.

Baxtger-Gilbert, J.H., and Whiting, M.J. (2018) Street fighters: bite force, injury rates, and population density of urban Australian water dragons (Intellagama lesueurii). Austral Ecology, 44: 255-264.

Baxter-Gilbert, J.H., Riley, J.L., Lesbarrères, D., and Litzgus, J.D. (2015) Mitigating reptile road mortality-Fence failures compromise ecopassage effectiveness. PLoS ONE, 10: e0120537.

Baxter-Gilbert, J.H., Riley, J.L., Neufeld, C.J., Litzgus, J.D., and Lesbarrères, D., (2015) Road mortality potentially responsible for billions of pollinating insect deaths annually. Journal of Insect Conservation, 19: 1029-1035.

A full publication list can be found here


Postdoctoral Research: DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology Fellow, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, WC, South Africa

PhD: Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia

MSc: Department of Biology, Laurentian University, Sudbury, ON, Canada

GDip: Science Communication Program, Laurentian University, Sudbury, ON, Canada

BSc: Laurentian University, Sudbury, ON, Canada


BIOL 3401 – Animal Behaviour, Fall

BIOL 3991 – Science Communication, Fall


Currently, my research is focused on examining the ecology and distribution on non-native and invasive species in Atlantic Canada, with a strong emphasise on amphibians, reptiles, and several plant species.  This research includes facets of both the biological and environmental perspective (e.g., how invasion impacts the invaders and the ecosystems they colonise), but also the human perspective of how we can better connect people with science and how communities can be more involved and integrated in biological research.  That said, I am also always keen to chat about cool research ideas and am a strong advocate for multi-discipline collaborations to tackle ecological challenges.  So, if you have a research idea and would like to discuss it do not hesitate to reach out.