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Behavioral Ecology


My research interests largely focus on the agonistic (aggressive and submissive) behavior of reptiles, amphibians, and dragonflies in relation to territorial defense and sexual selection. Some specific topics that I'm currently working on are visual display in Blanchard's cricket frogs and the effects of chigger mite parasitism on the behavior of collard lizards. Projects that I am also interested in, but only work on occassionaly include: the ant diets of Texas horned lizards and Plains narrowmouth toads, the effect of tail autotomy on the behavior of slender glass lizards and Great Plains skink, territorial defense in common whitetail dragonflies and ebony jewelwing damselfies, feeding territoriality in Plains clubtail dragonflies, selection of breeding habitat in chorus frogs, and the environmental conditions that trigger hatching of tadpole shrimp in bison wallows.

Below are projects done by past graduate and undergraduate students:

Dustin Wilgers - Currently an Associate Professor of Biology at McPherson College

 MS Thesis Title: Effects of fire interval on community and population structure of tallgrass prairie reptiles.  - Part of the Long-Term Ecological Research conducted at Konza Prairie Biological station
Daniel Peacock - 2019 KSU undergraduate student Characterization of mite parasitism of eastern collard lizards (Crotaphytus collaris) in the Kansas Flint Hills.
Paige Krupa - 2016 REU undergraduate student Visual display behavior of cricket frogs in relation to surrounding individuals.
Simone Holliday - 2014 McNair Scholars undergraduate student Activity levels of the common whitetail dragonfly (Plathemis lydia).
Amie Sommers - 2012 KSU undergraduate student A survey of temperature and location for Texas horned lizards and Prairie racerunners on Konza Prairie.

Rachel Friesen - 2011 KSU undergraduate student

 The aquatic habitats of Konza Prairie.

Kate Herzog- 2010 KSU undergraduate student

 The breeding behavior of chorus frogs in bison wallows.

Scott Hoffman - 2010 KSU undergraduate student

 Feeding behavior of bison calves.

Aaron Novick - 2010 REU undergraduate student

 Aggressive behavior of territorial collared lizards.

Sarah Ballard - 2010 SUROP undergraduate student

 Publication: Horne, E. A., Sarah Foulks, and Nora M. Bello. Visual displays in Blanchard’s Cricket Frog (Acris blanchardi).  Soutwestern Naturalist 59(3):1-5.

Maya Wilson - 2009 REU undergraduate student

 Ecology of the Texas horned lizard in the Flint Hills of Kansas.

Kelsey Reider - 2006 REU undergraduate student

 Suitability of limestone outcrops as habitat for collared lizards on Konza Prairie Biological Station

Jessica Hall - 2006 KSU undergraduate student

 Variations of color morph frequencies and size in cricket frogs.

Melinda Williamson - 2006 KSU undergraduate student

 Antipredator behavior in the Great Plains skink

Alex Betzen - 2006 KSU undergraduate student

 Habitat selection of Texas horned lizards in tallgrass prairie.

Andrea Falcetto - 2005 KSU undergraduate student

 Antipredator behavior of the bullfrog.

Samantha Tolve - 2004 REU undergraduate student

 Female mate choice in collared lizards: Use of chemical or visual signals in detection of chigger mite ectoparasites on males.
Bryant Blank - 2004 KSU undergraduate student Territory as a sexual preference in the Great Plains skink.
Melinda Williamson - 2004 REU undergraduate student Dominance and territoriality in the Great Plains skink.
Elizabeth Murray - 2003 REU undergraduate student Territoriality in male Blanchard's cricket frogs.
Audrey Owens - 2001 REU undergraduate student Publication: Owens, A., M. Tager, and E. Horne. Phrynosoma cornutum (Texas horned lizard). Reproduction.  Herpetological Review 33:308-309.
Natalie Pheasant - 2000 REU undergraduate student Agonistic behaviors of the Great Plains skink.
Michael Anguiano - 2000 McNair Scholars undergraduate student Effects of tail length on speed in the Western slender glass lizard.
Amy Toth - 1999 REU undergraduate student Preliminary studies on the foraging behavior of the Western slender glass lizard.