Reed Hall 0311
Box 6931, Radford University
Radford, VA 24142-6939, U.S.A.
- BIOL 103 - Environmental Biology
- BIOL 104 - Human Biology
- BIOL 105 - Concepts of Biology
- BIOL 131 - Ecology and Adaptation
- BIOL 160 - Freshman Seminar in Biology
- BIOL 353 - Comparative Behavior
- BIOL 390 - Conservation Biology
- BIOL 491 - Directed Study
I’m a behavioral ecologist, which means I study the interactions between the behavior of animals and the environment in which they live. For the past several years, my students and I have been studying local populations of eastern bluebirds to examine the interactions between parental behavior, reproductive success, environmental factors, and hormones (with Dr. Jason Davis). In a typical year we begin monitoring nesting activity in mid-March and continue throughout the summer, collecting data on nesting progress, success, and behavior. At certain points in the nestling cycle, we trap the birds to band them and collect blood samples and physical measurements. Obviously, the students in my research lab have to be willing to get up early, and love spending time outdoors. After learning field techniques, students who join the team are also encouraged to pursue their own questions, if they choose.
Since I’m also fascinated by insects, I’ve spent some time working with those as well. In the past, I’ve mentored students working on the female reproductive strategies of Melittobia digitata, a species of tiny parasitic wasps. I’m also interested in learning more about another species of parasitic wasps, Nasonia vitripennis, since they parasitize blowflies, which in turn are parasites of my primary study species, eastern bluebirds. Over the past few years, we’ve been collecting blowfly pupae from the nests of bluebirds in order to investigate the interactions between these three species.
I encourage students who are interested in joining my field research team to contact me directly. Typically, I begin interviewing prospective team members by January for the upcoming field season.