Professional Positions


Post-doctoral Scholar

Northeastern University Marine Science Center

Dr. Katie Lotterhos and Dr. Geoff Trussell

Research Coordinated Network for Evolution in Changing Seas

May 2019 - Present


Post-doctoral Scholar

East Carolina University

Dr. Michael McCoy

August 2018 - May 2019



2018        PhD  Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Biological Sciences 

                           East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina

                           Advisor: Dr. Michael W. McCoy


2011        MS  Biology                                                                                                                                         

                         East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina                                   

                         Advisor: Dr. Heather Vance-Chalcraft


2007        BS   Biology and American Studies                                                                                                     

                         University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, Virginia


7. Albecker, M.A., Pahl, M., Smith, M.†, Wilson, J.G., McCoy, M.W. 2020.

Influence of density and salinity on larval development of salt-adapted and salt-naïve frog populations. 

Ecology and Evolution.

6. Walker, D.M., M.A. Albecker, M.W. McCoy, C. Camp, C. Kelehear, B. Edelbrock, J. Wooten, J. Rheubert, S.P. Graham. 2019.

Evolution of the skin and gut microbiome of the Woodland Salamander species complex.

Microbial Ecology


5. Albecker, M.A. and McCoy, M.W. 2019Local adaptation for enhanced salt tolerance reduces non-adaptive plasticity caused by osmotic   stress. 



4. Albecker, M.A., M.W. McCoy, L.K. Belden. 2018.

Comparative Analysis of Anuran Amphibian Skin Microbiomes in Inland and Coastal Wetlands. 

Microbial Ecology.


3. Albecker, M.A., Brantley, W.B., and McCoy, M.W. 2018.

Habitat salinity alters dietary content and nematode infection in the American Green Treefrog, Hyla cinerea.

Southeastern Naturalist. 17(1); 155-165.


2. Albecker, M.A. and M.W. McCoy. 2017.

Adaptive responses to salinity stress across multiple life stages in Anuran Amphibians. 

Frontiers in Zoology.

1. Albecker M.A., Vance-Chalcraft H.D. 2015. 

Mismatched anti-predator behavioral responses in predator-naïve larval anurans.


    Undergraduate researcher



Albecker, M.A., Stuckert, A.M.M., Balakrishnan, C.N., McCoy, M.W. Functional genomics of local adaptation to saltwater environments in an amphibian. In Review.


Albecker, M.A., Trussell, G.C., Lotterhos, K.E. Evolutionary significance of Co-gradient variation and Counter-gradient variation: A quantitative approach. In prep. 


Albecker, M.A., McCoy, M.W., Peniston, J. Barfield, M., R.D. Holt. Adaptation to environmental change in organisms with complex life cycles: The influence of stage-specific selection and density dependence. In prep. Target: American Naturalist


McCoy, M.W., Hamman, E.H., Albecker, M.A., Wodjak, J.M, Vonesh, J.R. Bolker, B.M. Size matters when predicting multiple predator effects. In prep. Target: Ecology Letters

AWARDS & GRANTS   (Total: $112,941.00)          


10.    National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant: 2017

             Awarded $19,175.00

9.     Ecology Society of America Aquatic Section Travel Award: 

             Awarded $200.00

8.     Pitt County Wildlife Club Scholarship: 2016

             Awarded $1,500.00

7.     Graduate Women in Science Nell Mondy Fellowship: Leaping Salt Barriers: salinity tolerance in salt-exposed frogs. 2016

             Awarded $6,321.00

6.     Garden Club of America Scholarship: Mechanisms of salinity tolerance in locally adapted coastal frogs. 2016.

             Awarded $5,000.00

5.     Coastal Maritime Council Research Grant: The effects of salt on reproductive decisions of Hyla cinerea. 2014

             Awarded $1,000.00                                     

4.     North Carolina Sea Grant: Impacts of sea-level rise on coastal freshwater wetland communities. 2013

             Co-P.I. with M. McCoy (P.I.).

             Awarded $76,415.0       

3.     Explorer’s Club Grant: Exploring the physiological constraints of coastal amphibians to adapt to rising sea level. 2013       

             Awarded $2,500.00       

2.     North Carolina Herpetological Society Grant: Salt life- The effects of sea level rise on freshwater animal communities. 2013

             Awarded $780.00

1.     Martha N. Jones Scholarship 2011

             Awarded $500.00




Instructor of Record:

               Biology 1100 - Principles of Biology I 

               Fall 2017*, Spring 2018

               *Used flipped classroom instructional strategy


               Biology 2250 – Ecology - Instructor of Record

               Fall 2015

Teaching Assistant:

                Biology 1201 – Principles of Biology II Laboratory 

                Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011 

                Generalized Linear Modeling Workshop  - Northeastern University Three Seas Program

                Spring 2020 - Remote Teaching 

                Statistics Tutor  - Math 245

                Fall 2020 - Remote Teaching 




Lab Assistants:

                  Sarah Gill - Thesis: Osmoregulatory Adaptations of Hyla cinerea Found in Increasingly Saline Coastal Waters

                                  * Recipient of ECU's Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Award

                  Ben Brantley - Thesis: Diet and Nematode Infection Differ Between Coastal and Inland Populations of Green Treefrogs (Hyla cinerea)

                                  * Published in Southeastern Naturalist

                  Hannah Bergman 

                  Anisah Nwokolo

                  Matt Pahl - Project investigating interacting effects of density and salt exposure on frog development 

                  Melissa Smith - Project investigating interacting effects of density and salt exposure on frog development 

                  Jefferson Gray Wilson - Project investigating interacting effects of density and salt exposure on frog development 

                                 * Matt, Melissa, and Jefferson's work published in Ecology and Evolution


Field Assistants: 

                  Tara McFarland

                  Chris Thaxton

Other Mentoring:

                 Graduate Committee Member for ECU master's student 2020-2021

                 Ecological Society of America SEEDS mentor - 2017

                 Mentor for Northeastern University's BEACHES program - 2019 (Demystifying graduate school application process)



Ecological Society of America annual conference: New Orleans, Louisiana

          Albecker, MA, McCoy, MW., 2018

          Role of phenotypic plasticity in the evolution of salt tolerance in an amphibian

American Society of Naturalists: Asilomar, California

          Albecker, MA & McCoy, MW. 2018

          Adaptation to environmental change in species with complex life cycles: The influence of stage specific selection, density dependence

Research in Progress Seminar: East Carolina University

          Albecker, MA & McCoy, MW. 2018

          Variations on a theme: Comparative analyses of coastal frog diet and skin microbiome.

Ecological Society of America annual conference: Portland, Oregon

          Albecker, MA, McCoy, MW., 2017

          Adaptation to environmental change in species with complex life cycles: The influence of stage-specific selection, density-dependence

Three-minute Thesis competition, East Carolina University - Finalist

          Albecker, MA. 2016.

          Frogs on Logs in Salty Bogs: Racing the Rising Tide  

Ecological Society of America annual conference: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

          Albecker, MA, McCoy, MW., Belden, L. 2016.

          Comparative analysis of Anuran skin microbiome in fresh and saltwater intruded wetlands.

American Naturalist Annual Meeting: Asilomar, California

         Albecker, MA & McCoy, MW. 2016

         Lightning Talk: Future of coastal amphibian populations: Local adaptation or local extinction? 

Ecological Society of America annual conference: Baltimore, Maryland

          Albecker, MA & McCoy, MW. 2015.

          The future of coastal amphibian populations: Local adaptation or local extinction?


Three-minute Thesis competition, East Carolina University

          Albecker, MA. 2014.

          Salty frogs: the geographic distributions of coastal anurans and the implications of sea level rise.   


East Carolina University Research Week

          Albecker, MA. & Vance-Chalcraft, H. 2011.

          Risk assessment and behavioral choices in larval anurans (Lithobates sphenocephalus).           


Research in Progress Departmental Seminar, East Carolina University

          Albecker, MA. & Vance-Chalcraft, H. 2011.

          How are tadpoles assessing risk? A study of larval anuran risk assessment.    





Graduate Education Day - Raleigh Legislative Building - May 2017

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology annual conference – January 2015

Atlantic and Estruarine Research Society Spring Meeting - March 2015 

Climate Change Symposium hosted by NC State and NOAA – March 2014

Sea Grant Poster Reception – September 2014

Sea Grant Funded Research Symposium – April 2014



The American Society of Naturalists

Ecological Society of America

Graduate Women in Science (Founding Member)

Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology

North Carolina Herpetological Society

The Coastal Society (2013-2018)

ECU Biology Graduate Student Association (2013-2018)


2018 - Panel Member: Graduate Student Funding Workshop 

2016 - Graduate Student Representative -- Founding Eastern NC Chapter of Graduate Women in Science

2016 - Panel Member: Graduate Student Funding Workshop 

2015 – Vice President -- Biology Graduate Student Association

2014 – Treasurer -- Biology Graduate Student Association                                      

2014-2016 – Invite-A-Scientist – Bayboro Middle School

2013-2017 - SciRen Teaching Network contributor/presenter                                  


National Parks Service with University of Delaware

Crew Leader                    

  • In continuation of a long term study on breeding bird populations in parks around Washington D.C., I led a small crew to complete over 1350 avian point counts in 10 national parks

  • April 2013-August 2013

  • Findings of that study


Bat Conservation International

Crew Leader                   

  • I led the crew for a Bat Conservation Int'l experiment that investigated the effects of curtailing wind turbines on bat and bird mortality

  • August 2012-December 2012

  • Findings of that study

NC State University

Lead Field Technician

  • I led the fieldwork at the Georgia site for an NCSU research project that evaluated the avian and arthropod response to various woody biomass-harvesting guidelines

  • April 2012 - July 2012

  • Findings of that study


Dr. Dave Chalcraft, Principal Investigator, East Carolina University

​Research Technician                                  

  • Assisted with the setup, maintenance, and breakdown of large-scale mesocosm experiment that examined at the effects of predator diversity on amphibian larvae

  • Summers 2010 and 2011​


Hazelwild Farm and Equestrian Center

​Assistant Manager of Boarding Barn

  • Provided general horse care for thoroughbred horse barns (turn outs, cleaning, feeding, etc.

  • December 2008 – August 2009


Virginia Safari Park and Preservation Center

​Lead Keeper of Reptiles and “Lower Village”                  

  • Supervised husbandry for wildlife including reptiles, amphibians, birds, primates, and mammals

  • August 2007 – April 2008

Palm Beach Zoo at Dreher Park

Reptile/Amphibian/Fish (Ectotherm) Intern

  • Trained to uphold AZA standards for reptile, amphibian, invertebrate, and fish collections

  • Summer 2007





 2014 - OuterBanks Triathlon Olympic Distance (2:41.41 -- 9th female, 42/221 finishers) 

 2016 - OuterBanks Triathlon Olympic Distance (2:48.41 -- 4th female, 19/190 finishers) 

 2016 - Washington Triathlon Olympic Distance (2:47:14 -- 12/55 females, 39/118 finishers)

 2016 - Shamrock Marathon (3:38.56 -- 69/822 females, 290/1841 finishers) (miserable nor'easter!)

 2016 - Marine Corps Marathon (3:44.31 -- 312/? females, 1461/? finishers)

 2017 - Shamrock Marathon (**BQ!** 3:30.31, 24/608 females, 167/1356 finishers) (another miserable nor'easter!)

 2017 - North Face Endurance Challenge 50k (5:21.30 -- 7/142 Females, 46/391 finishers)

 2017 - Medoc Mountain Trail Marathon (4:14.32 -- 24/124 finishers)

 2017 - JFK 50 mile Ultramarathon (9:51.08 -- 64/223 Females, 259/750 finishers)

 2018 - Boston Marathon! (4:04.50 -- Worst weather in 30 years! Battled IT-band issues for 5 months prior to race)

 2018 - OuterBanks Marathon (3:48.05 -- 6/181 Females, 71/427 finishers) (perfect weather)




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