UCF Biology

Anna Savage

Research Area(s): Immunogenetics, functional genomics, disease ecology, molecular evolution, ecological immunology, population genetics

Research Interests

My research aims to understand the evolutionary potential of natural populations to adapt to changing environments, the diversity of heritable genomic features that can lead to these adaptations, and the relationship between phenotype and genotype when adaptations occur. Ongoing anthropogenic processes such as climate change and the spread of novel infectious diseases impose strong selective pressure for populations to rapidly adapt or go extinct, providing unprecedented opportunities to characterize the genomic requirements for adaptation. Because amphibians and other ectothermic vertebrates are particularly impacted by temperature shifts and emerging diseases, I primarily study adaptation to anthropogenic changes in these taxa. However, I am more motivated to pursue unanswered evolutionary questions than studies of particular taxonomic groups, and I am broadly interested in research questions situated at the interface of disease ecology, population genetics, immunology, genomics, and conservation biology. To investigate these questions within complex natural systems, I aim to integrate field studies, laboratory experiments, ecological models, and genetic and genomic profiling of hosts and their pathogens.


Lenker, M. A., A. E. Savage, C. G. Becker, D. Rodriguez, K. R. Zamudio. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection dynamics vary seasonally in Upstate New York. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, in press.

Savage, A. E., K. M. Kiemnec-Tyburczy, A. R. Ellison, R. C. Fleischer, K. R. Zamudio (2014). Conservation and divergence in the frog immunome: pyrosequencing and de novo assembly of immune tissue transcriptomes. Gene 542: 98-108.

Ellison, A. R., A. E. Savage, G. V. DiRenzo, P. Langhammer, K. R. Lips, K. R. Zamudio (2014). Fighting a losing battle: vigorous immune response countered by pathogen suppression of host defenses in a chytridiomycosis-susceptible frog. Genes, Genomes, Genetics 19: 1275-89.

Kiemnec-Tyburczy, K. M, J. Q. Richmond, A. E. Savage, K. R. Lips and K. R. Zamudio (2012). Genetic diversity of class I MHC loci in six non-model frogs is shaped by positive selection and gene duplication. Heredity 109: 146-55.

Velo-Antón, G., D. Rodríguez,A. E. Savage,G. Parra-Olea,K. R. Lips and K. R. Zamudio (2012). Frog-killing fungus spreadsacross new world populations. Biological Conservation 146: 213-218.

Savage, A. E. and K. R. Zamudio (2011). MHC genotypes associate with resistanceto a frog-killing fungus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A. 108: 16705-10.

Savage, A. E.,Sredl, M. J., and K. R. Zamudio (2011). Disease dynamics vary spatially and temporally in a North American amphibian. Biological Conservation 144: 1910-5.

Savage, A. E.,L.L. Grismer, S. Anuar, K. O. Chan, J. L. Grismer, E. Quah, M. A. Muin, N. Ahmad, M. Lenker* and K. R. Zamudio (2011). First record of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infecting four frog families from Peninsular Malaysia. EcoHealth 8: 121-8.

Kiemnec-Tyburczy, K. M., J. Q. Richmond, A. E. Savage, and K. R. Zamudio (2010). Selection, trans-species polymorphism and locus identification of major histocompatibility complex class IIb alleles of New World ranid frogs. Immunogenetics 62: 741-51.

Richmond, J. Q., A. E. Savage, E. B. Rosenblum, and K. R. Zamudio (2009). Towards immunogenetic studies of amphibian chytridiomycosis: Linking innate and acquired immunity. BioScience 59: 311-20.

Savage, A. E. and J. R. Jaeger (2008). Isolation and characterization of microsatellite markers in the lowland leopard frog (Rana yavapaiensis)and the relict leopard frog (R. onca), two declining frogs of the North American desert southwest. Molecular Ecology Resources 9: 199-202.

Savage, A. E., J. R. Cavatorta, I. Yeam, S. M. Gray, and M. M. Jahn (2008). Positive Darwinian selection at single amino acid sites conferring plant virus resistance. Journal of Molecular Evolution 67: 551-9.

Savage, A. E., and J. S. Miller (2006). Gametophytic self-incompatibility in Lycium parishii   (Solanaceae): Allelic diversity, genealogical structure, and patterns of molecular evolution at the S-locus. Heredity 96: 434-44.

Yeung, K., Miller, J. S., Savage, A. E., Husband, B. C., Igic, B., and J. R. Kohn (2005). Association of ploidy and sexual system in Lycium californicum (Solanaceae). Evolution 59: 2048-55.


Solving a Turtle Health Mystery

Story by Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala Almost 50 percent of the green sea turtles in the Indian River Lagoon have tumors all over their bodies and despite data going back more than two decades, the cause of the disease remains a mystery. ... Read more

A Savage World for Frogs

UCF biologist Anna Savage, Ph.D., is obsessed with frogs and figuring out why they are dying at an unprecedented rate around the world. Her latest research, published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B... Read more

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