Texas Tech University

Llewellyn D. “Lou” Densmore

Associate Program Director for Research, Center for the Integration of STEM Education and Research (CISER)

Email: lou.densmore@ttu.edu

Phone: 806-834-6479

Llewellyn D. “Lou” Densmore


  • Ph.D., Biochemistry, Louisiana State University Medical Center (1981)
  • M.S., Biology, University of Houston (1977)
  • B.S., Biology, University of Houston (1975)


Our lab research interests are in vertebrate molecular systematics, population genetics, ecology and molecular toxicology, specializing in crocodylians. In the last decade, PhD students have worked in Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, the Cyclades (Greece) and Panama. We have been funded by National Geographic, NSF and most recently as by Panama's SENACYT (=NSF). We are currently forming a collaborative agreement with the University of Ibagué in Colombia. Our research dealing with the genetics of Morelet's crocodile populations in Belize was highlighted in National Geographic Magazine (March 2007). A comparable large-scale study was conducted over a 10-year period to study the phylogeography and population genetics of the wide-ranging American crocodile. Most recently we have been working on dietary and spatial ecology and species distribution models for crocodiles and caimans in Panama, Colombia and Bolivia, heavy metal concentrations in alligators and crocodiles and  parasites in American alligators


  • McAliley, L.R., R.E. Willis, D.A. Ray, P.S. White, C.A. Brochu and L. D. Densmore . 2006. Are crocodiles really monophyletic? DNA sequence evidence from nuclear and mitochondrial coding genes and the mitochondrial control region. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 39:16-32.
  • Willis, R., L.R. McAliley, E.D. Neeley, L. D. Densmore . 2007. Nuclear evidence for placing Tomistoma schlegelli in the family Gavialidae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 43(2007):787-794.
  • Venegas-Anaya, M.  A. J. Crawford, A. Escobedo, E. Bermingham, and L. D. Densmore.  2008. Mitochondrial DNA phylogeography of Caiman crocodilus in Central and South America. Journal of Experimental Zoology. (Comparative Physiology and Ecology). 309A:614-627.
  • Cedeño-Vázquez, R., D. Rodriguez, S. Calme, J.P. Ross, L.D. Densmore III and J. Thorbjarnarson. 2008. Genetics of American and Morelet's crocodiles in the Yucatan Peninsula: Species integrity and hybridization. Journal of Experimental  Zoology: (Comp. Physiology and Ecology). 309A:661-673.
  • Brochu, C. A., J.R., Wagner, S. Jouve,  C. Sumrall and  L. D. Densmore. 2009. A correction corrected: Consesnsus over the meaning of Crocodylia and why it matters. Systematic Biology 58:537-543.
  • Bashyal, A., B. Gross, M. Venegas-Anaya, F. Lowrance, and L. D. Densmore. 2014. Assessment of microsatellites in estimating inter- and intraspecific variation among Neotropical Crocodylus species. Genetics and Molecular Research 13(3):5492-5502.
  • Venegas-Anaya, M., A.H. Escobedo-Galvan, S.A. Balaguerra-Reina, F. Lowrance, O.I. Sanjur, and L.D. Densmore III. 2015. Population ecology of the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) in Coiba National Park, Panama. Journal of Herpetology 49(1).
  • Balaguera Reina S.A., M. Venegas-Anaya, B. Rivera-Rivera, L.D. Densmore III. 2017. Scute Patterns as an individual identification tool in an American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) population on Coiba Island, Panama. Journal of Herpetology 51(4):523-531.
  • Balaguera-Reina, S.A., A.S Espinosa-Blanco, M.A. Morales-Betancourt, A.E. Seijas, C.A. Lasso, R. Antello, L.D. Densmore III. 2017. Conservation Status and Regional Habitat Priorities for the Orinoco Crocodile: Past, Present, and Future. PLoS ONE. 12(2): e0172439
  • Balaguera-Reina, S.A., M. Venegas-Anaya, V. Beltran-Lopez, A. Cristancho, L.D. Densmore III. 2018. Food habits and ontogenetic dietary partitioning of American crocodiles in a tropical Pacific island in Central America. Ecosphere 9(9) e02393. 10.1002/ecs2.2393
  • Balaguera-Reina, S.A., M. Venegas-Anaya, B. Rivera-Rivera, D.A. Morales Ramírez, and L.D. Densmore. 2018. How to estimate population size in crocodylians? Population ecology of American crocodiles in Coiba Island as study case. Ecosphere 9(10):e02474. 10.1002/ecs2.2474

Department of Biological Sciences

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    Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University, Box 43131 Lubbock, TX 79409
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