Propective Graduate Students
I am willing to mentor hard-working, capable graduate students who want to conduct research in a subject area that overlaps with my expertise (see my curriculum vitae). Prospective students often ask me whether they'll have to work on birds or animal behavior if they become my graduate student. The answer is no. I have broad interests in ecology and evolution. I welcome students who are interested in developing an independent offshoot of my on-going projects in sexual selection and conservation biology, as well as those that have their own study system or theoretical question in mind. International students are welcome, but have a set of "student visa" conditions that they must meet in addition to the regular application requirements set forth by the university admissions office, the graduate school and the Department of Biology. Most of our graduate students are supported financially by a teaching assistantship and tuition reduction. Graduate research assistantships are rarely available off my grants. Students should consider applying for the competitive graduate fellowships offered by the National Science Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and other groups.
You should contact me directly well before applying if
think you might be interested in graduate studies under my direction.
Current Graduate Students
Leigh Truong (University of Mississippi, M.Sc.
in progress). "Kin recognition by MHC haplotypes"
Animals may benefit from associating with their close relatives. Ms. Truong is investigating how the cues produced by individuals carrying different alleles at the major histocompatibility locus (MHC) might be used to recognize and respond differently to related and unrelated individuals. She also plans to explore how associating with kin may affect individual survival.
Brad Dickerson (University of Mississippi, M.Sc.
in progress). "Habitat quality, female condition, and maternal investment"
Animals have been molded by natural selection to invest their resources so that lifetime reproductive success is maximized. Brad is interested in how females in good and poor condition may invest their reproductive energy differently.
Pooja Thapliyal (University of Mississippi, M.Sc.
in progress). "Pollutants, indicator traits and conservation"
Humans release a wide range of pollutants into the environment. Pooja is interested in how best to monitor the effects of these pollutants on wildlife.
Meredith Hunter (University of Mississippi, M.Sc.
in progress; Co-Chair with R. L. Holberton). "The endocrinology of paternal
Among, and within, bird species there is a great deal of variation in how much care males provide to their offspring. Meredith is interested in studying the hormonal mechanisms underlying this variation.
Completed Graduate Students
Melinda Hutton (University of Louisiana-Monroe,
M.Sc. 2000) "Mate choice and novel crest ornaments in Bobwhite Quail"
Bobwhites are the only species among its close relatives that do not have a long crest plume. Ms. Hutton conducted mate choice trials to investigate the male characters that females normally use to choose a mate. In addition she gave females a choice of regular unplumed males and males with an artificial plume attached to their heads. Female Bobwhites don't seem to care about crests but they appear
to prefer males with certain plumage patterns. Melinda now teaches in the Biology program at Louisiana State University.
Monica Wallace (University of Louisiana-Monroe,
M.Sc. 1999) "Translocation of Red-Cockaded Woodpecker nestlings by reciprocal
The endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpecker is found in many small, isolated fragments of mature pine forests in the southeast USA. Translocations of adult or juvenile woodpeckers to help maintain demographic structure and genetic diversity of fragmented populations have been impractical or unsuccessful in many cases. Ms. Wallace developed a technique for swapping nestling woodpeckers between nest cavities as a means of introducing genetically new individuals who are likely stay in the foster population and become breeders. Her results (recently submitted to the Journal of Wildlife Management) show that foster nestlings are readily accepted by their new parents, they fledge from the nest at the same rate as control nestlings, and this translocation technique has some advantages over other approaches. She was immediately employed to help manage wildlife on a US Air Force base that harbors a large population of endangered woodpeckers.
Graduate Student Committees
Mary Jones (University of Louisiana at Monroe, M.Sc. 2000) "Genetic diversity of wild turkeys"
Eric Hoffmeyer (University of Mississippi, Ph.D. in progress) "Physiological stress in sharks"
Linda Lombardi-Carlson (University of Mississippi, M.Sc.
in progress) "Life-history variation in sharks"
Mate Choice Research Conservation Biology Avian Research Facility Teaching Curriculum Vita