Ben Brammell, Ph.D. – Asbury University
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Professor

Department:  Shaw School of Sciences 

Office: Shaw CLC 247

Phone Extension: 2123

Degrees: 

Ph.D., Biology, University of Kentucky

Dissertation: Characterization of pollutant response in teleosts with varying degrees of pollutant sensitivity. http://uknowledge.uky.edu/gradschool_diss/272/

M.S., Biology, Tennessee Technological University

Thesis: Evaluation of brook trout restoration efforts in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park

B.S., Biology, Eastern Kentucky University

Courses offered: 

  • Bio 100: Introductory Biology for Non-Majors
  • Bio 201: Introductory Biology for Majors
  • Bio 217: Environmental Science
  • Bio 221: Ecology
  • Bio 293: Aquatic and Wetland Biology
  • Bio 352: Physiology
  • Bio 393: Biogeography of the Galapagos Islands

Research: 

Our (myself and students) research uses a combination of molecular and field techniques to address ecological questions. Our current work primarily focuses on questions related to the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) in the detection of species, particularly cryptic species, of amphibians and fish. This technique utilizes DNA fragments released by aquatic organisms to establish their presence and in some cases abundance in aquatic systems.  By targeting specific sequences of mitochondrial genes we are able to distinguish species based on the DNA they leave behind, enabling us to find the proverbial “needle in a haystack,” organisms that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to detect.

Selected/Recent Publications: 

Strasko, Elizabeth K., Rebecca R. Piche, and Ben F. Brammell. 2022. Development and validation of PCR primers for detecting Ambystoma texanum (smallmouth salamander) from eDNA samples. In Review.

Bell, Florene F., Angie F. Flores, Kenton L. Sena, Thomas A. Maigret, Chi Jing Leow, Ronald B. Sams, David K. Peyton, and Ben F. Brammell. 2022. Development and validation of qPCR assays for use in eDNA detection of southern two-lined (Eurycea cirrigera) and northern dusky (Desmognathus fuscus) salamanders. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 17(2):398-412. Full text

Guivas, Ramon and Ben F. Brammell.  2020.  Use of environmental DNA to determine fantail darter (Etheostoma flabellare) density in a laboratory setting: Effects of biomass and filtration method.  International Jounral of Zoology (3) 1-7. Full text 

Sena, Kenton L., Ben F. Brammell, and S. Ray Smith.   2016.  Converting hayfield to switchgrass increases small mammal relative abundance.  Journal of the Kentucky Academy of Science 77(1-2):11-18. Abstract 

Brammell, Ben F., David J. Price, Wesley J. Birge, Adria A. Elskus.  2013.  Lack of CYP1A responsiveness in species inhabiting chronically contaminated habitats: two varieties of resistance?  Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part C 52:2317-2322. Abstract

Brammell, Ben F. and Shawn M. Banks.  2011.  Notes on the Crayfish of Blackburn Fork Watershed, Jackson and  Putnam County, Tennessee.  Journal of the TN Academy of Science 86:105-107. Abstract

Brammell, Ben F. and A.W. Wigginton.  2010.  Differential gene expression in zebrafish (Danio rerio) following exposure to gaseous diffusion plant effluent and effluent receiving stream water.  American Journal of Environmental Sciences 6 (3): 286-294. Abstract

Brammell, Ben F., David J. Price, Wesley J. Birge, Adria A. Elskus.  2010.  Differential sensitivity of CYP1Ato 3,3’,4’,4 – tetrachlorobiphenyl and benzo(a)pyrene in two Lepomis species.  Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part C 152:42-50. Abstract

Brammell, Ben F., Scott J. McLain, James T. Oris, David J. Price, Wesley J. Birge and Adria A. Elskus.  2010.  CYP1A Expression in Caged Rainbow Trout Discriminates Among Sites with Various Degrees of Polychlorinated Biphenyl Contamination.  Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 58:772-782. Abstract

Brammell, Ben F., Ian T. Struewing, David M. Klarer, Scott G. Lynn.  2009.  An Evaluation of the Ichthyofauna of Old Woman Creek Estuary, a Unique Aquatic Resource.  Journal of Freshwater Ecology 24:521-527. Abstract

Selected/Recent Presentations: 

Brammell, Ben F., Cierla M. Sams, Elizabeth K. Strasko, Rebecca R. Piche, Cy L. Mott, Malinda A. Stull. 2021. Detecting fossorial salamanders using eDNA; development and validation of quantitative and end-point PCR assays for the detection of five species of Ambystomid salamanders. 2021 Meeting of the Tennessee Herpetological Society, Dec. 6-7, 2021, Chattanooga, TN. Poster.

Strasko, Elizabeth K., Rebecca R. Piche, and Ben F. Brammell. 2021. Development and validation of qPCR assays for use in eDNA detection of Ambystoma texanum and Ambystoma talpoideum. 2021 Meeting of the Tennessee Herpetological Society, Dec. 6-7, 2021, Chattanooga, TN. Poster.

Piche, Rebecca R., Eliza M. Crawford, and Ben F. Brammell. 2021. Multiple methods of detection of semiaquatic salamanders in small lotic systems: A comparison of eDNA and leaf liter bags. 2021 Meeting of the Tennessee Herpetological Society, Dec. 6-7, 2021, Chattanooga, TN. Poster.

Piche, Rebecca R., Eliza M. Crawford, and Ben F. Brammell. 2021. A comparison of detection methods for semiaquatic salamanders: eDNA and leaf liter bags. 106th Annual Kentucky Academy of Science Meeting, Nov. 5, 2021, Virtual presentation.

Strasko, Elizabeth K., Rebecca R. Piche, and Ben F. Brammell. 2021. Development and validation of qPCR assays for use in eDNA detection of Ambystoma texanum, Ambystoma talpoideum, and Notophthalmus viridescens. Annual Kentucky Academy of Science Meeting, Nov. 5, 2021, Virtual presentation.

Piche, Rebecca R. and Ben F. Brammell. 2021. Comparison of leaf litter bag and environmental DNA in detection of salamanders in Maywoods Environmental and Educational Laboratory. Kentucky Water Resources Annual Symposium, September 13, 2021, Lexington, KY.  Poster.

Bell, Florene G., Angie F. Flores, Kenton L. Sena, Thomas A. Maigret, Chi Jing Leow, David K. Peyton and Ben F. Brammell.   Seasonal detection of four salamander species using eDNA in eastern Kentucky streams.  105th Annual Kentucky Academy of Science Meeting, Nov. 1-2, 2019, Berea, KY.  Poste

Beery, Elle, S., Marvin S. Ruffner, and Ben F. Brammell.   Development of eDNA detection tools for queen snakes (Regina septemvittata) and northern water snakes (Nerodia sipedon) in central Kentucky.  105th Annual Kentucky Academy of Science Meeting, Nov. 1-2, 2019, Berea, KY.  Poster.

Peyton, David K., Bell, Florene G., and Ben F. Brammell. Verification of eDNA salamander detection using cloned amplicons.  105th Annual Kentucky Academy of Science Meeting, Nov. 1-2, 2019, Berea, KY.

Bell, Florene G., Angie F. Flores, Kenton L. Sena, Thomas A. Maigret, Chi Jing Leow and Ben F. Brammell.   Use of eDNA to detect multiple salamander species in eastern Kentucky streams.  Kentucky Water Resources Annual Symposium, March 25, 2019, Lexington, KY.  Poster.

Guivas, Ramon A. Kyle T. Laufenburger and Ben F. Brammell.   Evaluation of biomass and filtration method on eDNA detection of fantail darters (Etheostoma flabellare).  Kentucky Water Resources Annual Symposium, March 25, 2019, Lexington, KY.  Poster.

Ben F. Brammell, Sumathi Sankaran-Walters, Kayceline Deguzman, Chi Jing Leow, and Michael C. McGrann. 2018.  Use of eDNA in a wilderness setting to detect multiple species of conservation interest.  SEKI Science Symposium, Nov. 14-15, 2018, Three Rivers, CA.  Poster.

Bell, Florene G., Angie F. Flores, Kenton L. Sena, Thomas Maigret, Chi Jing Leow and Ben F. Brammell.  2018.  Use of eDNA to detect multiple salamander species in eastern Kentucky streams.  104th Annual Kentucky Academy of Science Meeting, Nov. 2-3, 2018, Bowling Green, KY.  Poster.

Guivas, Ramon A. Kyle T. Laufenburger and Ben F. Brammell.  2018.  Evaluation of biomass and filtration method on  eDNA detection of fantail darters (Etheostoma flabellare).  104th Annual Kentucky Academy of Science Meeting, Nov. 2-3, 2018, Bowling Green, KY.  Poster.

Nesselroade, Andrew W., Sams, Ronnie B., Cierla V. McGuire, Malinda A. Stull and Ben F. Brammell.  2018.  Seasonal fluctuations in salamander eDNA in central KY streams.  Kentucky Water Resources Annual Symposium, March 19, 2018, Lexington, KY.  Poster.

Nesselroade, Andrew W., David J. Eisenhour, Brooke A. Washburn, Lynn V. Eisenhour, Harold A. Brabon and Ben F. Brammell.  2017.  Detection of Percopsis omiscomaycus (trout perch) using eDNA in eastern Kentucky streams. 103rd Annual Kentucky Academy of Science Meeting, Nov. 3-4, 2017, Murray, KY.  Poster.

Bain, Ashton M., Robert L. Washburn, Ben F. Brammell, and Malinda A. Stull.  2016.  Sequencing cytochrome b from tissue and swab collected DNA from central Kentucky salamander species.  102nd Annual Kentucky Academy of Science Meeting, Nov. 4-5, 2016, Louisville, KY.  Poster.

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