Elizabeth Anne Forys

Professor of Biology and Environmental Science

Beth ForysOffice: 111 Sheen Science Center B
Phone: 727-864-7880
Fax: 727-864-8382
Email Professor Forys


Ph.D. Wildlife Ecology & Conservation; University of Florida
M.S. Environmental Science; University of Virginia
B.A. Environmental Sciences; University of Virginia

Courses Taught

Conservation Biology (BI 371N), GIS for Environmental Studies (ES 341N), Environmental Biology (ES 270N)

Research Interests

I’m interested in protecting and recovering endangered species. To do this, it is important to understand the natural history of the species and what threatens its persistence. My current research is mainly focused on trying to protect waterbirds who nest on beaches. I work with Eckerd College students and Audubon Society volunteers to map local colonies and nests of these species using computer mapping (GIS), study what is killing them or causing them to stop nesting, and trying to work with local governments to fix these problems. Some of these species are currently nesting on the flat, gravel rooftops of buildings and we are also studying these birds. The photograph above is me in a cherry-picker counting birds on a rooftop (it was higher than I thought – can see the white knuckles?). In addition to birds, in the past I’ve studied the Lower Keys marsh rabbit, Silver rice rat, Stock Island tree snail, Shaus swallowtail butterfly, gopher tortoise, and I’ve done a little bit of research mapping distributions of bottlenosed dolphins.

Other Interests

Kayaking, hiking, hearing good music outdoors

Selected Peer-reviewed Publications

Forys, E. A. and C. R. Allen. 2005. The impacts of sprawl on biodiversity: the ant fauna of the Lower Florida Keys. Ecology and Society (formerly called Conservation Ecology). 10: 25. [online] URL:

Forys, E. A., Abrams, M. and S. J. King. 2005. Cooper’s hawk predates on Least Tern chicks on a rooftop in Pinellas County, Florida. Florida Field Naturalist. 33:

Mazzocchi A. B.* and E. A. Forys. 2005. Nesting habitat selection of the Coastal Least Tern. Florida Field Naturalist. 33:

Wyatt, J. L.* and E. A. Forys. 2005. Conservation Implications of Predation by Cuban Treefrogs (Osteopilus septentrionalis) on Native Hylids in Florida. Southeastern Naturalist. 3:695–700.

DeVries, E. A.* and E. A. Forys. 2004. Loss of tar and gravel rooftops in Pinellas County, Florida and potential effects on Least Tern populations. Florida Field Naturalist. 31:1-6.

Forys, E. A., Kelly, W. B. and D. T. Ward*. 2003. Invasion Biology on your campus: investigating the red imported fire ant in the Southeastern United States. American Biology Teacher. 2003: 53-55.

Forys, E. A., and C. R. Allen. 2002. Functional group change within and across scales following invasions and extinctions in the Everglades ecosystem. Ecosystems 5:339-347.

Forys, E. A., Allen, C. R. and D. P. Wojcik. 2002. Influence of the proximity and amount of human development and roads on the occurrence of the red imported fire ant in the lower Florida Keys. Biological Conservation 108:27-33.

Herrington*, K. L. and E. A. Forys. 2002. Distribution and abundance of dolphin watching companies in Florida. Florida Scientist 65: 273–280

Forys, E. A., Quistorff*, A., Allen, C. R. and D. P. Wojcik. 2001. The likely cause of extinction of the tree snail (Orthalicus reses reses SAY). Journal of Molluscan Studies. 67: 369-376.

Forys, E. A., A. Quistorff* and C. R. Allen. 2001. Potential fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) impact on the endangered Schaus swallowtail (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae). Florida Entomologist. 84:254-258.

Allen, C. R., Forys, E. A., Rice, K. G. and D. P. Wojick. 2001. Effects of fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on hatching turtles and prevalence of fire ants on sea turtle nesting beaches in Florida. Potential fire ant threat to sea turtles. Florida Entomologist. 84:250-254

Wojcik, D. P., Allen, C. R., Brenner, D. A., Forys, E. A., Jouvenaz, D. P., and R. S. Lutz. 2001. Red imported fire ants: impact on biodiversity. American Entomologist 47:16-23.

Forys, E. A. 1999. Food habits of the Lower Keys marsh rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris hefneri). Florida Scientist 62:106-110.

Allen, C. R., Forys, E. A. and C. S. Holling. 1999. Body Mass Patterns Predict Invasions and Extinctions in Transforming Landscapes. Ecosystems 2:114-121.

Forys, E. A. and S. R. Humphrey. 1999. The importance of patch attributes and context to the management and recovery of an endangered lagomorph. Landscape Ecology 14:177-185.

Forys, E. A. and C. R. Allen. 1999. Biological invasions and deletions: community change. Biological Conservation 87:341-347.

Forys, E. A. and S. R. Humphrey. 1999. Use of population viability analysis to evaluate management options for the endangered Lower Keys marsh rabbit. Journal of Wildlife Management 63:251-260.

Forys, E. A. and S. R. Humphrey. 1997. Comparison of 2 methods to estimate density of an endangered lagomorph. Journal of Wildlife Management 61:86-92.

Forys, E. A. and S. R. Humphrey. 1996. Home range and movements of the Lower Keys marsh rabbit in a highly fragmented environment. Journal of Mammalogy 77:1042-1048.

Forys, E. A. and N. D. Moncrief. 1994. Gene flow among island populations of marsh rice rats (Oryzomys palustris). Virginia Journal of Science 45:3-11.

Forys, E. A. and R. D. Dueser. 1993. Inter-island movements of rice rats (Oryzomys palustris). American Midland Naturalist 130:408-412.

*denotes an EckerdCollege current student or graduate

Life After Eckerd

Approximately two-thirds of Eckerd Biology graduates have continued with postgraduate study at many of the most prestigious medical and graduate schools in the nation. Eckerd College has been ranked near the top of all U.S. colleges and universities in terms of the percentage of its alumni who have gone on to earn Ph.D. degrees and Eckerd students have scored in the highest percentiles of the GRE and MCAT exams.

The James Center

Center for Molecular and Life Sciences

Equipped with the latest in eco-conscious innovations, educational technology and scientific instrumentation, the James Center for Molecular and Life Sciences will advance our efforts to prepare tomorrow’s leaders in the sciences, and will quickly become the hub of the Natural Sciences at Eckerd College. Discover the James Center.