Chairperson and Associate Professor
Pennebaker Hall (PENN) 207a
I teach undergraduate courses in animal behavior, entomology, and biostatistics, as well as a graduate course in population & community ecology. My interests lie in the study of terrestrial invertebrate ecology, focusing on the behavioral ecology and life history evolution of scorpions and spiders. My early research examined life history variation in several species of scorpions from Texas and Arizona, and I still am interested in this topic. However, most of my research over the past 15 years has focused on the ecology and behavior of two species of wolf spider found along streams in the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona. I’ve studied the effects of leg loss on running speed, escape behavior, and survival in these wolf spiders; the ability of these spiders to resist submersion; and the physiological effects of heat and desiccation on spider survival. In addition, my graduate students have studied life histories of scorpions in the Sky Island mountains of Arizona; habitat selection and thermal ecology of scorpions from Tennessee and Arizona; home range size and movement ecology of the Arizona wolf spiders; and behavioral ecology of several species of salamanders from Tennessee (my one foray into vertebrate biology!).