Professor of Biology, Chair of Wightman Area
Stephens Science Center 236
Department of Biology
900 Arkadelphia Rd
Birmingham, AL 35254
Office Phone: (205) 226-4874
Office Fax: (205) 226 3078
Brief Career Background:
I grew up near Cape Canaveral, FL and earned my undergraduate degree in Psychology at Emory University in Atlanta (1993), where I first became interested in animal behavior. I earned my MS (1999) and PhD (2001) from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where my research focused on social behavior of the red-backed salamander, especially kin recognition and the heritability of behavior. I have been a faculty member at Birmingham-Southern College since 2001 and I am continuing my research on the evolution of amphibian behavior using local and Costa Rican populations of frogs and salamanders.
B. A. Psychology, Emory University (1993)
M. S. Biology, University of Louisiana at Lafayette (1999). Thesis Title: Female-female Associations in the Red-backed Salamander, Plethodon cinereus. Robert G. Jaeger, John Chance Professor of Biology, advisor.
Ph.D. Environmental and Evolutionary Biology, University of Louisiana at Lafayette (1996-2001). Dissertation Title: Recognition Abilities in Mother and Offspring Salamanders: Foraging and Kinship. Robert G. Jaeger, John Chance Professor of Biology, advisor.
Areas of Academic Interest:
I am currently interested in the evolution of amphibian behavior, including heritable effects on behavior and how different evolutionary histories of predator presence shape the development of antipredator behavior in pond-breeding species of frogs and salamanders.
BI 115 Organismal Biology (1)
An introduction to the biology of organisms. Topics include levels of biological organization, biological diversity, plant and animal structure and function, and comparative study of structure function relationships in living organisms. Designed for students who plan to major in biology or one of the natural sciences and/or who are pre-health. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week. Fall, Spring.
BI 225 Evolutionary Ecology (1)
A study of the basic concepts of evolution and ecology as a gateway to upper-level coursework in ecology and organismal biology. Emphasis is placed on an understanding of natural selection and how it shapes speciation, population dynamics, and community interactions and composition. Prerequisites: BI 115 or ES 150, and at least sophomore standing. BI 125 is strongly suggested, but not required, as a prerequisite. Fall, Spring.
BI 315 Animal Behavior (1)
An examination of the immediate causes and evolutionary explanations for the behavior of animals. Emphasis is placed on exposure to historical perspectives and current ideas about animal behavior, training in the methodology of behavioral experimentation, and development of independent, critical thought. Topics include sexual selection, bird song learning, and aggressive behavior. Three lectures and one three hour laboratory per week (one weekend field trip may be required). (Also listed as PY 315.) Prerequisites: BI 105, BI 115, and PY 101, or consent. Spring.
BI 332 Vertebrate Field Zoology (1)
A field-oriented study of the native vertebrate animals of the southeastern United States with special emphasis on identification, classification, and ecology. Two lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week. One weekend field trip is required. Prerequisites: BI 105, 115, 125. Spring.
ES 150 Introduction to Environmental Studies
An interdisciplinary introduction to the complexities of environmental problems. The course provides an overview of scientific knowledge on ecology and environmental management and examines political, economic, and ethical issues involved in the attainment of a sustainable future. The course explores how an understanding of the natural and social sciences is necessary to address and solve environmental problems. Selected topics, including population growth, food shortages, pollution containment, and energy resources, are addressed. Three lectures and one three hour laboratory per week. The course is a required course in the environmental studies minor. (Satisfies Disciplinary Foundations requirement in lab science.)
SN 333 Spanish across the Curriculum (1⁄4)
One-hour weekly meetings based on discussion of directed readings in Spanish and in conjunction with Environmental Studies. The focus of the discussions is environmental issues in Latin America. This course may be taken more than once for credit providing that the disciplinary course is different. Prerequisite: SN 220 and ES 150 (may be concurrent).