My research interests are two-fold: tardigrade ecology/systematics and behavior of
marine fishes. For the past 10 years I have been working with Dr. Paul Bartels, Warren
Wilson College, on tardigrades of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as part
of the Discover Life in America biodiversity project. We have discovered new species
(about 20) and new records (about 80) for the park. I have also been working with
Dr. Eugenie Clark, Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota, on the reproductive and feeding
behaviors of the convict fish (Pholidichthys), venomous catfish (Plotosus), sand diver
(Trichonotus), ocean triggerfish (Canthidermis), and whale shark (Rhincodon) in Papua
New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Indonesia, and the Sea of Cortez. We have also studied
the tilefish (Malacanthus) and garden eels (Heteroconger) in the Caribbean.
Nelson, D.R.., R. Guidetti, and L. Rebecchi. 2010. Chapter 14: Tardigrada. In: Thorp,
J.H & A.P. Covich (eds.) Ecology and classification of North American Freshwater Invertebrates.
3rd ed,, pp. 455-484. San Diego: Academic Press.
Bartels, P.J., D.R. Nelson, and R.P. Exline. 2011. Allometry and the removal of body
size effects in the morphometric analysis of tardigrades. Journal of Zoological Systematics
and Evolutionary Research 49 (Suppl. 1): 17-25.
Bartels, P.J., D.R. Nelson, . Kaczmarek, and . Michalczyk. 2011. Ramazzottius belubellus,
a new species of Tardigrada (Eutardigrada: Parachela: Hypsibiidae) from the Great
Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina, USA). Proceedings of the Biological
Society of Washington 124(1): 23-27.
Clark, E., D.R. Nelson, M.J. Stoll, and Y. Kobayashi. 2011. Swarming, diel movements,
feeding and cleaning behavior of juvenile venomous eeltail catfishes, Plotosus lineatus
and P. japonicus (Siluriformes, Plotosidae). Aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology
Nelson, D.R. and P.J. Bartels. 2013. Species richness of soil and leaf litter tardigrades
in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina/Tennessee, USA). Journal
of Limnology 72 (Suppl. 1): 144-151.