Virginia Tech® home

Michael Kevin Hamed

Associate professor
Assistant Professor Michael Kevin Hamed
154 Cheatham Hall

B.S., Tennessee Technological University (1995)
M.S., East Tennessee State University (2001)
Ph.D., University of Tennessee (2014)


My research focuses on the anthropogenic impacts on Southern Appalachian vertebrates, especially herpetofauna. I am particularly interested in how to mitigate adverse impacts on plethodontid salamanders. My research incorporates a wide range of progressive technologies to provide a solid scientific basis for management decisions.

  • FIW 2324 Wildlife Field Biology
  • FIW 2114 Principals of Fisheries and Wildlife Management

Road Modifications to Reduce Salamander Mortality

This collaborative project with the Tennessee Valley Authority aims to reduce road mortality for marbled and spotted salamanders. Through the use of PIT tags and RFID antennas, my students and I identified summer home ranges for both salamander species near the South Holston Weir Dam. Their spatial ecology included areas where salamanders were crossing roads and thus experiencing high mortality. The Tennessee Valley Authority installed an “ecopassage” to allow migrating salamanders to cross under the road, and we are monitoring its use. We will use data collected to determine how the ecopassage impacts road mortality as well as identifying other areas for additional ecopassages.

Nesting Ecology and Life History of Four-toed Salamanders (Hemidactylium scutatum)

This long-term project has focused on the biotic and abiotic factors that influence female nesting success and site fidelity. Individual female salamanders are identified utilizing their ventral spot patterns and several software programs that facilitate matching individuals from year-to-year. To date, results have guided the design, construction, and annual monitoring of artificial breeding pools. As this project continues to evolve, we will gain a better understanding of what factors influence nest location in first-time nesting salamanders.

Arboreal Habitat Use of Green Salamanders (Aneides aeneus)

This project uses a wide range of technologies to identify what factors lead green salamanders, which have been presumed to be rock crevice dwellers, to use arboreal habitat. Through this collaborative effort with UVA-Wise, we are developing detection and occupancy models that will provide a better understanding of temporal and seasonal use of trees to help forest managers protect salamander core habitats while harvesting timber. 

  • Pierson, T. W., S. J. Arnold, M. K. Hamed, W. Lattea, and E. T. Carter. 2017. Courtship behaviors of the Yonahlossee salamander (Plethodon yonahlossee): observations in the field and laboratory. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 12:1–15.
  • Linzey, D. W. and M. K. Hamed. 2016. Distribution of the least weasel (Mustela nivalis) in the Southeastern United States. Southeastern Naturalist 15:243–58.
  • Hamed, M. K. and T. F. Laughlin. 2015. Small-mammal mortality caused by discarded bottles and cans along a U.S. Forest Service Road in the Cherokee National Forest. Southeastern Naturalist 14:506–16.
  • Blackburn, M., J. Wayland, W. H. Smith, J. H. McKenna, M. Harry, M. K. Hamed, M. J. Gray, and D. L. Miller. 2015. First report of ranavirus and Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in green salamanders (Aneides aeneus) from Virginia, USA. Herpetological Review 46:357–61.
  • Hamed, M. K., M. J. Gray, and D. L. Miller. 2013. First report of ranavirus in plethodontid salamanders from the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, Virginia. Herpetological Review 44:255–7.