Faculty

Below you will find a brief description of current faculty research interests. For more detailed information, please visit their individual websites, or contact them directly.

Students are strongly encouraged to contact faculty prior to, or during, the application process to discuss research opportunities and potentially identify a mentoring professor. Please note these contacts on the Graduate Studies application form.

Anderson, Daniel W., Ph.D.
Emeritus Professor, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology.
E-mail: dwanderson@ucdavis.edu
Website: http://wfcb.ucdavis.edu/www/Faculty/Dan/Anderson.htm

Dr. Anderson is a former Director of the Ecotoxicology Program at UC Davis and former Chair of his department. He currently teaches an undergraduate course in Wildlife Ecotoxicology and a graduate seminar in Ecotoxicology, as well as having served as Chairperson of the Ecotoxicology "area of emphasis" in the Ecology Graduate Group. His research interests focus on avian biology, emphasizing baseline ecology to interpret effects of perturbation, and the distribution and effects of various environmental contaminants on birds.  Dr. Anderson's current research involves studies of contamination effects, distribution, and dynamics of organic and inorganic materials in birds from California and Baja California coastal and wetland environments, including the Klamath Basin, Clear Lake, San Joaquin Valley, and Rio Colorado Delta/Gulf of California region. Anderson is also actively involved in the conservation and management of avian populations and their habitats.

Calvert, Chris, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Animal Science
E-mail: cccalvert@ucdavis.edu
Website: http://animalscience.ucdavis.edu/faculty/Calvert/

Research in our laboratory is focused on protein and energy metabolism. Current efforts include describing amino acid trafficking for protein synthesis at the molecular and cellular levels, computer modeling of protein synthesis and whole animal work examining dietary amino acid effects on nitrogen balance and immune function. These efforts make use of a variety of species including birds, dairy cattle, goats, swine, rats and mice. Our laboratory is also very interested in the nutrition of captive and companion animals. Current efforts include work with parrots, finches, ducks, and cockatiels.

Delany, Mary, Ph.D.
Associate Dean, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Professor of Developmental Genetics, Department of Animal Science
E-mail: medelany@ucdavis.edu
Website: http://animalscience.ucdavis.edu/faculty/delany/

My laboratory research focuses on avian telomere biology, with chicken being the primary organism under study. Our studies concentrate on the organization, inheritance and stability of telomere array organization in normal, immortalized and transformed cell systems, both in vitro and in vivo. Telomere stability is one of the most significant genetic mechanisms controlling overall genome stability and influencing cellular proliferation, senescence and transformation. Current projects include analysis of the regulation and function of the telomere-telomerase pathway during virus-induced oncogenesis Students are trained in the disciplines of genetics, cytogenetics, and genomics with an emphasis on comparative vertebrate biology. Research and technology levels range from molecular and cellular to the organismal. Other interests and areas of research include gene mapping and chromosome organization, congenital and inherited developmental mutations, and conservation of poultry and avian genetic resources.

Recent Publications:

  • Delany, M.E., L.M. Daniels, T.M. Gessaro, and K.L. Rodrigue. 2007. Mapping of mega-telomeres in the chicken genome. Cytogenetic and Genome Research 117:54-63.
  • van de Lavoir M.-C., Diamond, J.H., Leighton, P.A., Mather-Love, C., Heyer, B.S., Bradshaw, R., Kerchner, A., Hooi, L.T., Gessaro, T., Swanberg, S.E., Delany, M.E., and Etches, R.J. 2006. Germline transmission of genetically modified primordial germ cells. Nature 441: 766-769.
  • Chang, H., and M.E. Delany. 2006. Complicated RNA splicing of chicken telomerase reverse transcriptase revealed by profiling cells both positive and negative for telomerase activity. Gene 379:33-39.
  • Delany, M.E. 2006. Avian genetic stocks: the high and low points from an academia researcher. Poultry Science 85:223-226.
  • van de Lavoir, M.-C., Mather-Love, C., Leighton, P., Diamond, J.H., Heyer, B.S., Roberts, R., Zhu, L., Winters-Digiacinto, P., Kerchner, A., Gessaro, T., Swanberg, S., Delany, M.E., and R.J. Etches. 2006. High-grade transgenic somatic chimeras from chicken embryonic stem cells. Mechanisms of Development 123:31-41.
Eadie, John, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology.

Former Avian Sciences Graduate Group Chair.
E-mail: jmeadie@ucdavis.edu
Website: http://animalscience.ucdavis.edu/faculty/eadie/

My research integrates studies in behavioral ecology with analyses of population biology and conservation genetics. Most of our work focuses on waterfowl, but we are also studying other avian communities. On-going projects include: (1) field studies of the ecology and evolution of reproductive parasitism in Barrow's and Common Goldeneyes, Wood Ducks, and Black-headed Ducks; (2) development of molecular genetic techniques (DNA fingerprinting, PCR, DNA sequencing) to study kinship, parentage, and phylogenetic relationships among the Anatidae; and (3) field studies and computer modeling of the interactions between social behavior, demography, and community structure in cavity-nesting waterfowl. Our field sites include California, Argentina, British Columbia, and Ontario.

Ernest, Holly, DVM, Ph.D.
Associate Professor in Residence, Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine.
Director, Wildlife & Ecology Unit, Veterinary Genetics Laboratory
E-mail: hbernest@ucdavis.edu
Website: http://www.vgl.ucdavis.edu/wildlife/

Wildlife geneticist and veterinarian. Research in my laboratory revolves around wildlife ecological genetics, population health, and ecology. My students, lab members, and I work on projects that integrate: wildlife population genetics, ecology of wildlife diseases, and conservation genetics.  Species of interest include free-ranging species of management concern, threatened and endangered species, mammalian carnivores (terrestrial and marine), wild pigs, raptors (birds of prey) and corvids (magpies, jays, crows, and relatives), with a special interest in California species. Among avian interests of my group are: Yellow-billed Magpies, Crows, Jays, Buteos including Red-shouldered Hawks, Swainson's Hawks, and Red-tailed Hawks; Accipiters including Coopers Hawks; Strix species including Great Gray Owls; effects of West Nile Virus on bird populations.

Hahn, Thomas Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior
E-mail: tphahn@ucdavis.edu
Website: http://biosci3.ucdavis.edu/FacultyAndResearch/FacultyProfile.aspx?FacultyID=196

Interfaces of behavior, endocrine and neuroendocrine physiology, ecology, and evolution. Specifically environmental regulation of avian annual schedules of reproduction, plumage molt and migration; scheduling tradeoffs between current reproduction and survival (future reproduction); evolution of mechanisms of responses to environmental cues such as day length, food, social factors; effects of unpredictable environmental events on behavior and physiology of free-living birds. Avian communication, especially use of heterospecific mimicry in song, and learned non-song vocalizations.

Hawkins, Michelle, VMD, DABVP (Avian Practice)
Associate Professor, Companion Avian and Exotic Animal Medicine and Surgery Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine.
E-mail: mghawkins@ucdavis.edu
Website: http://faculty.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/mghawkins/

The focus of our laboratory is on anesthesia, analgesia, and critical patient care for avian species. Current areas of research include (1) determining the number and distribution of opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord of various species of birds to help focus studies of analgesic drugs and (2) evaluating the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of analgesic drugs in birds for use in the treatment of avian pain. Our laboratory also conducts other studies that apply directly to avian medicine, such as the assessment of clinicopathologic changes in birds associated with specific diseases.

Hull, Joshua, Ph.D.
Assistant Adjunct Professor, Department of Animal Science
E-mail: jmhull@ucdavis.edu
Website: http://animalscience.ucdavis.edu/faculty/hull/

My research interests include conservation genetics, avian ecology and migration, and the conservation of rare and endangered species. Using a combination of field research and molecular genetic techniques I have studied numerous species of raptors (red-tailed hawks, red-shouldered hawks, Swainson’s hawks, Galápagos hawks, sharp-shinned hawks, Cooper’s hawks, great gray owls, merlins) primarily at study sites across North America in collaboration with the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory (http://www.ggro.org). In collaboration with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (http://www.fws.gov/sacramento) I am also studying several species of conservation concern including California clapper rails, vernal pool fairy shrimp, callippe silverspot butterflies, Shasta crayfish, and great gray owls. Current research projects include a population genetic analysis of North American subspecies of merlin, demographic monitoring of great gray owls using passive genetic techniques, and acoustic monitoring of California clapper rails.

King, Annie, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Animal Science
E-mail: ajking@ucdavis.edu
Website: http://animalscience.ucdavis.edu/faculty/king/

Students conduct research on ways to prevention of lipid oxidation in poultry muscle, eggs and their products, methodologies for determination of cholesterol and its oxidized derivatives in poultry muscle and eggs and assessment of lipid/protein interactions in poultry muscle.

Klasing, Kirk, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Animal Science.

Avian Sciences Graduate Group Chair.
E-mail: kcklasing@ucdavis.edu
Website: http://animalscience.ucdavis.edu/faculty/klasing/

Research by students in my laboratory is directed towards understanding: 1) how an immune response to a disease challenge influences nutrient needs, growth, reproduction and well-being of birds; 2) the impact of nutrition on immunity and disease resistance; 3) the metabolic adaptations required by carnivorous and nectivorous birds; 4) the role of the immune system in pathology resulting from environmental pollutants.

Recent Publications:

  • Lee, K.A. and K.C. Klasing. 2004. A role for immunology in invasion biology. TREE. 19:523-529.
  • Humphrey, B.D., C.C. Calvert, and K.C. Klasing. 2004. The ratio of full length IgY to truncated IgY in immune complexes affects macrophage phagocytosis and the acute phase response of mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos). Dev Comp Immunol. 28:665:672.
  • Koutsos, E.A., C.C. Calvert, and K.C. Klasing. 2003. The effect of an acute phase response on tissue cartonenoid levels of growing chicks. Comp Biochem Physiol. 135:635-646.
  • Wang, R., J.R. Millam, and K.C. Klasing. 2003. Distribution of interleukin-1 receptor in chicken and quail brain. Comp Biochem Physiol. 136:663-671.
Loye, Jenella, Ph.D.
Research Associate, Department of Entomology
E-mail: jeloye@ucdavis.edu

Study of the ecology of avian parasitism, parasitism in the biology and conservation of bird species; habitat fragmentation and parasite infestation responses.

Mench, Joy, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Animal Science
E-mail: jamench@ucdavis.edu
Website: http://animalscience.ucdavis.edu/faculty/mench/

Research in my laboratory is focused on the assessment and improvement of the welfare of captive and managed birds. Current areas of emphasis include: 1) modifying the housing and management of broiler chickens to promote exercise and decrease growth-related skeletal problems, and 2) investigating the effects of environmental and social enrichment on behavioral development, especially the development of abnormal behaviors like feather pecking and stereotypy.

Recent Publications:

  • Shields, S.J., Garner, J.P. and Mench, J.A. 2004. Dustbathing by broiler chickens: a comparison of preference for four different substrates. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 87: 69-82.
  • Appleby, M.C., Mench, J.A. and Hughes, B.O. 2004. Poultry Behaviour and Welfare. CAB International, Wallingford, UK.
  • Garner, J.P., Meehan, C.L., Famula, T.R., Mench, J.A. 2005. Genetic, environmental, and neighbor effects on the severity of stereotypies and feather picking in Orange-winged Amazon parrots: an epidemiological study. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 96:153-168.
  • Miller, K.A., Garner, J.P., Mench, J.A. 2006. Is fearfulness a stable and consistent trait that is measurable using behavioural tests? A validation of four fear tests using Japanese quail. Animal Behaviour 71:1323-1334.
  • Gustafson, L., Cheng, H-W., Garner, J.P., Pajor, E.A. and Mench, J.A. 2007. Effects of bill-trimming on the behavior, bill morphopathology, and weight gain of Muscovy ducks. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 103: 59-74.
Nevitt, Gabrielle, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior.
E-mail: ganevitt@ucdavis.edu
Website: http://www.npb.ucdavis.edu/npbdirectory/nevitt.html 

Sensory ecology; foraging and navigation using biogeochemical regulators of climate change, bird olfaction, phenotypic plasticity and conservation.

Paul-Murphy, Joanne, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Professor, Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine.
E-mail: jpmurphy@ucdavis.edu
Website: http://faculty.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/jpmurphy/

Co-Director of UC Davis Parrot Wellness and Welfare program with Dr. Michelle Hawkins (see above). Our program focuses on select studies benefiting the parrot population with an emphasis on pain management, nutrition, reproduction and behavior.

Tell, Lisa, D.V.M.
Professor, Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine.
E-mail: latell@ucdavis.edu
Website: http://faculty.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/latell/

Our laboratory is concentrating on developing assisted reproductive techniques for psittacines. The model species is the budgerigar. Our laboratory is also working various studies (hematology and pharmacology) which are directly applicable to companion avian medicine.

Townsend, Andrea, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology
E-mail: aktownsend@ucdavis.edu
Website: http://townsend.ucdavis.edu/

Research interests are avian ecology and conservation, links between urbanization, disease, and social behavior in wild birds, climate change and migratory songbirds, conservation genetics.

Wilson, Barry W., Ph.D.
Professor, Departments of Animal Science and Environmental Toxicology
E-mail: bwwilson@ucdavis.edu
Website: http://animalscience.ucdavis.edu/faculty/wilson/

Research in my laboratories deals with cell and developmental biology of birds and other animals. Much of it focuses on muscle growth and abnormalities, neurotoxicology, and the impact of pesticides on humans and wildlife from the molecular to the habitat levels of integration of living systems.