Dr. Donald M. Walker

Assistant Professor

Dr. Donald M. Walker
(615) 904-8382
Room 2055, Science Building (SCI)
MTSU Box 60, Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Degree Information

  • PHD, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (2012)
  • BS, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (2007)
  • AS, SUNY Niagara County Community College (2005)

Biography

Research expertise in the Walker lab is in the areas of molecular evolution and molecular ecology of microorganisms with an emphasis on pathogenic fungi of animals. We utilize field studies, diagnostic quantitative PCR assays, and high-throughput DNA sequencing to study host-microbiome-pathogen associations and the synergistic to antagonistic interactions within these systems. Emerging infectious fungal pathogens are threatening wildlife species world-wide, therefore, we are interested to ans...

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Research expertise in the Walker lab is in the areas of molecular evolution and molecular ecology of microorganisms with an emphasis on pathogenic fungi of animals. We utilize field studies, diagnostic quantitative PCR assays, and high-throughput DNA sequencing to study host-microbiome-pathogen associations and the synergistic to antagonistic interactions within these systems. Emerging infectious fungal pathogens are threatening wildlife species world-wide, therefore, we are interested to answer questions that inform management of species of greatest conservation need in the southeastern US. 

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Publications

2021

(40) Grisnik, M., Grinath, J.B., Walker, D.M. 2021. The presence of Pseudogymnoascus destructans, a fungal pathogen of bats, correlates with changes in microbial metacommunity structure. Scientific Reports. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-91118-1

(39) Perkin, J.S., Papraniku, I.F., Gibbs, W...

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2021

(40) Grisnik, M., Grinath, J.B., Walker, D.M. 2021. The presence of Pseudogymnoascus destructans, a fungal pathogen of bats, correlates with changes in microbial metacommunity structure. Scientific Reports. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-91118-1

(39) Perkin, J.S., Papraniku, I.F., Gibbs, W.K., Hoeinghaus, D.J., Walker, D.M. 2021. Temporal trajectories in metacommunity structure: Insights from interdisciplinary research in intermittent streams. WIREs Water. https://doi.org/10.1002/wat2.1531

(38)  Hill, A.J., Hardman, R.H., Sutton, W.B., Grisnik, M.S., Gunderson, J.H., Walker, D.M. 2021. Absence of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans in a Global Hotspot for Salamander Biodiversity. Journal of Wildlife Diseases. https://doi.org/10.7589/JWD-D-20-00218

(37) Romer, A.S., West, J., Phipps, E., Moe, K., Walker, D.M. 2021. Nerodia sipedon (Northern Water Snake) shedding. The Tennessee Journal of Herpetology. 4: 24-26.

2020

(36) Chapagain, P., Walker D.M., Leeds, T., Cleveland, B.M., Salem, M. 2020. Distinct microbial assemblages associated with genetic selection for high-and low-muscle yield in rainbow trout. BMC genomicshttps://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-020-07204-7

(35) Grajal-Puche, A., Murray, C.M., Kearley, M., Merchant, M., Nix, C., Warner, J.K., Walker, D.M. 2020. Microbial assemblage dynamics within the American Alligator nesting ecosystem: A comparative approach across ecological scales. Microbial Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00248-020-01522-9

(34) Snyder, S.D., Sutton, W.B., Walker, D.M. 2020. Prevalence of Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, the causative agent of snake fungal disease, in the interior plateau ecoregion of Tennessee, USA. Journal of Wildlife Diseases. https://doi.org/10.7589/2019-04-109

(33) Grisnik, M., Bowers, O., Moore, A.J., Jones, B.F., Campbell, J.R., Walker, D.M. 2020. The cutaneous microbiota of bats has in vitro antifungal activity against the white nose pathogen. FEMS Microbiology Ecology. doi: 10.1093/femsec/fiz193

2019

(32) Chapagain, P., Arivett, B., Cleveland, B.M., Walker, D.M., Salem, M. 2019. Analysis of the fecal microbiota of fast-and slow-growing rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). BMC genomics. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-019-6175-2

(31) Walker, D.M., Hill, A.J., Albecker, M.A., McCoy, M.W., Grisnik, M., Romer, A., Grajal-Puche, A., Camp, C., Kelehear, C., Wooten, J., Rheubert, J., Graham, S.P.  2019. Variation in the Slimy Salamander (Plethodon spp.) Skin and Gut-Microbial Assemblages Is Explained by Geographic Distance and Host Affinity. Microbial Ecology.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00248-019-01456-x

(30) Walker, D.M., Leys, J.E., Grisnik, M., Grajal-Puche, A., Murray, C.M., Allender, M.C. 2019. Variability in snake skin microbial assemblages across spatial scales and disease states. ISME Nature. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41396-019-0416-x

(29) Maynard, D.S., Bradford, M.A., Covey, K.R., Lindner, D., Glaeser, J., Talbert, D.A., Walker, D.M., Crowther, T.W. 2018. Consistent trade-offs in fungal trait expression across broad spatial scales. Nature Microbiology.  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-019-0361-5

2018

(28) Grisnik, M., Leys, J.E., Bryan, D., Hardman, R.H., Miller, D.L., Cobb, V.A., Ogle, C., Simpson, C., Campbell, J.R., Appelgate, R.D., Allender, M.C., Nordberg, E.J., Hoekstra, A.A., Walker, D.M. 2018. Host and geographic range of snake fungal disease in Tennessee, USA. Herpetological Reviews. 49: 682-690.

(27) Minoshima, A., Walker, D.M., Takemoto, S., Hosoya, T., Walker, A.K., Ishikawa, S., Hirooka, Y. 2018. Pathogenicity and taxonomy of Tenuignomonia styracis gen. et sp. nov., a new monotypic genus of Gnomoniaceae on Styrax obassia in Japan. Mycoscience. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.myc.2018.08.001  

(26) Walker, D.M., Murray, C.M., Talbert, D., Tinker, P., Graham, S.P., Crowther, T.A. 2018. A salamander's top down effect on fungal communities in a detritivore ecosystem. FEMS Microbiology Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1093/femsec/fiy168

(25) Malone, E.W., Perkin, J.S., Leckie, B.M., Kulp, M.A., Hurt, C.R., Walker, D.M. 2018. Which species, how many, and from where: Integrating habitat suitability, population genomics, and abundance estimates into species reintroduction planning. Global Change Biology.  doi.org/10.1111/gcb.14126

(24) Hayes, D.H., Grisnik, M., Stone, S.A., Tarter, Z.W., Ritter, K., Yanckello, L.M., Oatman, L.E., Myers, L.E., Pellegrino, C.C., Camp, C.D., Walker, D.M., Wooten, J.A. 2018. The culturable skin microbiome of the Ocoee Salamander, Desmognathus ocoee. Tennessee Journal of Herpetology 1: 4–10.  

(23) Tanguay, P., Blais, M., Potvin, A., Stewart, D., Walker, D.M., Nadeau-Thibodeau, N., DesRochers, P., Rioux, D. 2018. qPCR quantification of Ophiognomonia clavigignenti-juglandacearum from infected butternut trees under different release treatments. Forest Pathology. https://doi.org/10.1111/efp.12418

2017  

(22) Hill, A., Leys, J.E., Bryan, D., Erdman, F.M., Malone, K.S., Russell, G.N., Applegate, R.D., Fenton, H., Niedringhaus, K., Miller, A.N., Allender, M., Walker, D.M. 2017. Common cutaneous bacteria isolated from snakes inhibit growth of Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola. EcoHealth. doi: 10.1007/s10393-017-1289-y.

(21) Walker, D.M., Smouse, P.E., Reginato, M., Struwe, L. 2017. Cladal divergence in fungal Ophiognomonia (Gnomoniaceae, Diaporthales) shows evidence of climatic niche vicariance. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. doi.org/10.1093/biolinnean/blx043

(20) Walker, D.M., Leys, J.E., *Dunham, K.E., Oliver, J., Schiller, E.E., Stephenson, K., Kimrey, J., Wooten, J., Rogers, M.W. 2017. Methodological considerations for detection of terrestrial small-body salamander eDNA and implications for biodiversity conservation. Molecular Ecology Resources. DOI: 10.1111/1755-0998.12667

(19) Talbert, D., Tinker, P., Crowther, T., Walker, D.M. 2017. Using machine learning to understand top-down effects in an ecosystem: opportunities, challenges, and lessons learned. Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.  

2016  

(18) Hibbett, D., Abarenkov, K., Chai, B., Crous, P., Helgason, T., Herr, J.R., Lueschow, S., O’Donnell, K., Nilsson, R.H., Oono, R., Schoch, C., Smyth, C., Walker, D.M., Andrea, P-A., Taylor, J.W., Geiser, D.M. 2016. Sequence based classification and identification of fungi. Mycologia 108: 16–30.

(17) Shetty, K.G., Rivadeneira, D.V., Jayachandran, K., Walker, D.M. 2016. Isolation and molecular characterization of the fungal endophytic microbiome from conventionally and organically grown avocado trees in South Florida. Mycological Progress. doi:10.1007/s11557-016-1219-3  

2015  

(16) Shuttleworth, L.A., Walker, D.M., Liew, E.C.Y., Guest, D.I. 2015. The chestnut (Castanea spp.) pathogen Gnomoniopsis smithogilvyi (Gnomoniaceae, Diaporthales) and its synonyms. Mycotaxon 130: 929–940.

(15) Walker, D.M., Lawrence, B.R., Esterline, D., McAndrew, M., Edelbrock, J., Graham, S.P., Kelehear, C. 2015. A novel protocol for removing environmental microbes from amphibian skin. Herpetological Reviews 46: 349–353.

(14) Rossman, A.Y., Adams, G.C., Cannon, P.F., Castlebury, L.A., Crous, P.W., Gryzenhout, M., Jaklitsch, W.M., Mejia, L.C., Stoykov, D., Udayanga, D., Voglmayr, H., Walker, D.M. 2015. Recommendations of generic names in Diaporthales competing for protection or use. IMA Fungus DOI: 10.5598/imafungus.2015.06.01.09

(13) Combs, J., Grisnik, M., Baldauf, K., Sigg, M., Swanson, T., Amos, R., White, C.M., Schwaner, T.D., Walker, D.M., Wooten, J.A. 2015. A report of ranavirus infecting midland painted turtles with novel localities for frog infection in northwest Ohio. Herpetological Reviews 46: 361–363.

(12) Nilsson, R.H., Tedersoo, L., Ryberg, M., Kristiansson, E., Hartmann, M., Unterseher, M., Porter,T.M., Bengtsson-Palme, J., Walker, D.M., de Sousa, F., Gamper, H.A., Larsson, E., Larsson, K-H., Kõljalg, U., Edgar, R., Abarenkov, K. 2015. A comprehensive, automatically updated fungal ITS sequence dataset for reference-based chimera control in environmental sequencing efforts. Microbes & Environments DOI:10.1264/jsme2.ME14121  

2014

(11) Walker, D.M., Lawrence, B.R., Esterline, D., Graham, S.P., Edelbrock, M.A., Wooten, J.A. 2014. A metagenomics-based approach to the top-down effect on the detritivore food web; a salamander’s influence on fungal communities within a deciduous forest. Ecology and Evolution DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1259

(10) Schoch, C.L., Robbertse, B., Walker, D.M., and 96 others. 2014. Finding needles in haystacks: linking scientific names, reference specimens and molecular data for Fungi. DATABASE DOI: 10.1093/database/bau061

(9) Walker, A., Hirooka, Y., Walker, D.M. 2014. Ophiognomonia acadiensis. Persoonia 32, 290.

(8) Walker, D.M., Lawrence, B.R., Castlebury, L.A., Rossman, A.Y. 2014. Five new species of the highly diverse genus Plagiostoma (Gnomoniaceae, Diaporthales) from Japan. Mycological Progress DOI: 10.1007/s11557-014-0993-z

(7) Walker, D.M., Castlebury, L.A., Rossman, A.Y., Struwe, L. 2014. Host conservatism or host specialization? Patterns of fungal diversification are influenced by host specificity in Ophiognomonia (Gnomoniaceae, Diaporthales). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 111, 1–16. DOI: 10.1111/bij.12189  

2013  

(6) Wooten, J.A., Camp, C.D., Combs, J.R., Dulka, E., Reist, A., Walker, D.M. 2013. Re-evaluating niche conservatism versus divergence in the woodland salamander genus Plethodon Tschudi 1838: a case study of the parapatric members of the Plethodon glutinosus (Green 1818) species complex. Canadian Journal of Zoology 91, 883–892. DOI: 10.1139/cjz-2013-0097  

2012  

(5) Walker, D.M., Rossman, A.Y., Adams, G.C., Longa, C.M.O., Maresi, G. 2012. Valsalnicola oxystoma. Persoonia 29, 148.

(4) Walker, D.M., Castlebury, L.A., Rossman, A.Y., Mejía, L.C., White, J.F. 2012. Phylogeny and taxonomy of Ophiognomonia (Gnomoniaceae, Diaporthales), including twenty-five new species in this highly diverse genus. Fungal Diversity 57, 85–147.

(3) Walker, D.M., Castlebury, L.A., Rossman, A.Y., White, J.F. 2012. New molecular markers for fungal phylogenetics: Two genes for species-level systematics in the Sordariomycetes (Ascomycota). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 64, 500–512.

(2) Rossman, A.Y., Melgar, J.C., Walker, D.M., Gonzales, A., Ramirez, T., Rivera, J.M. 2012. First report of Dolabra nepheliae causing stem canker of rambutan and pulasan in Honduras. Plant Disease 96, 765.  

2010  

(1) Walker, D.M., Castlebury, L.A., Rossman, A.Y., Sogonov, M.V., White, J.F. 2010. Systematics of genus Gnomoniopsis (Gnomoniaceae, Diaporthales) based on a three-gene phylogeny, host associations and morphology. Mycologia 102, 1479–1496.

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Awards

2019    The Nature Conservancy. Characterization of the endosymbiotic bacterial community of the causative agent of White Nose Syndrome, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, of bats. PI, $35,000.

2019   US Fish and Wildlife Service. Microbiome characterization of endangered darter egg clutches in the Copper Creek drainage. PI, $50,000. 

2018   Natural Resources Conservation Service.

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2019    The Nature Conservancy. Characterization of the endosymbiotic bacterial community of the causative agent of White Nose Syndrome, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, of bats. PI, $35,000.

2019   US Fish and Wildlife Service. Microbiome characterization of endangered darter egg clutches in the Copper Creek drainage. PI, $50,000. 

2018   Natural Resources Conservation Service. Assessing the Restoration Success of WRP Easements in the Lower Mississippi River Valley. Co-PI with Dr. Justin Murdock. Total award: $1,650,016. MTSU subaward to conduct microbiome work: $257,649

2018   US Fish and Wildlife Service, State Wildlife Grant. Understanding the impact of snake fungal disease on species of greatest conservation need in Tennessee. PI, $109,000.

2017  US Fish and Wildlife Service, State Wildlife Grant. The probiotic microbiome of endangered Tennessee bats: implications for biodiversity conservation and development of WNS biocontrol agents. PI, $81,000.

2016  US Fish and Wildlife Service, State Wildlife Grant. The origin, host, and geographic range of snake fungal disease with an emphasis on species of greatest conservation need in Tennessee. PI, $7,700.

2016  Great Smoky Mountains Conservation Association Campbell Fellowship. Keystone community members in the microbiome of salamander skin affect pathogenicity of chytrid fungi (Batrachochytrium spp.). Co-PI with Aubree Hill, $5,000.  

2014  Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. Wetland Rehabilitation at The Rieck Center for Habitat Studies. Co-PI with Benjamin Dolan and Bethany Henderson-Dean, $93,500.

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