Daniel Howard, Ph.D.

Daniel Howard, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Educational Background:

NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Toronto Scarborough, Neuroethology, 2007-10
Ph.D., Biological Sciences, Behavioral Ecology, University of Tulsa, 2007
M.S., College Teaching of Biology, Northeastern State University, Oklahoma, 2004

B.S., Secondary Science Education, Biology, Northeastern State University, Oklahoma, 2002

A.A., Liberal Studies, College of the Sequoias, Visalia, California, 1999

Courses to be Taught:

Animal Communication – Spring 2016

General Area of Interest and/or Specialty:

I am broadly interested in the evolutionary patterns and causal mechanism associated with animal behavior, with a more specific interest in communication behavior and mating systems; as such I find the use of insect models ideal for the questions that drive my investigations. The techniques used in my lab draw from the fields of bioacoustics, neuroscience, classic ethology, field ecology, electrical, mechanical and computer engineering, and spatial modelling. Research is conducted both in the laboratory, and at field sites in New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Nebraska and New Zealand. My current research is organized around three major themes: (1) The evolution of acoustic and vibrational signaling strategies in reproductive behavior; (2) The evolution of invertebrate sensory systems adapted for exploiting airborne and seismic signals; (3) The effects of stochastic ecological and environmental conditions on the evolution of communication systems and life history strategies. I use digital technologies to streamline classic ethological techniques, and combine insights from these basic investigations with functional and mechanistic studies of courtship behavior, sexual conflict, parental care, intra- and interspecific communication, and physiological correlates of fitness. I use the lek-mating prairie mole cricket (Gryllotalpa major), the Nicrophorine group of burying beetles, and the sexually-dimorphic New Zealand giant weta (Deinacrida spp.) as my main study models. A variety of research opportunities for students are available in my lab; please contact me if you are interested in learning more.

Selected Publications:

Schmidt, A. P., Bestul, C. E., Moore, C. L. Mason, A. C., and Howard, D. R. (2015) Vibrational signaling mediates agonistic interactions in the Cook Strait giant weta (Deinacrida rugosa). In revision, Journal of Insect Behavior.

Conley, A. L., Jorde, E. K., Jorde, R. E., Yares, L. K., Lee, K. K. Hall, C. L., and Howard, D. R. 2015. Habitat-related differences in necrophilous species composition: implications for resource competition. The Prairie Naturalist 47: 45-49.

Hall, C. L., Howard, D. R., Smith, R. J., and Mason, A. C. 2015. Elytra modification of the American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus) during field surveys alters stridulatory-related acoustic properties; consequences for reproduction and conservation. Journal of Insect Conservation 19:155–162.

Hall, C. L., Mason, A. C., Howard, D. R., Padhi, A., Smith, R. J. 2013. Description of acoustic characters and stridulatory pars stridens of Nicrophorus (Coleoptera: Silphidae): A comparison of eight North American species. The Annals of the Entomological Society of America 106: 661-669.

Hall, C. L., Wadsworth, N. K., Howard, D. R. and Jennings, E. N., Magnuson, T. S., Smith, R. J. 2011. Inhibition of soil microorganisms on a carrion breeding resource: the antimicrobial peptide activity of burying beetle (Coleoptera: Silphidae) oral and anal secretions. Environmental Entomology 40: 669-678.

Howard, D. R., Lee, N., Hall, C. L. and Mason, A.C. 2011. Are Centrally Displaying Males Always the Centre of Female Attention? Acoustic Display Position and Female Choice in a Lek Mating Subterranean Insect. Ethology 117: 199-207.

Howard, D. R., Mason, A. C. and Hill, P. S. M. 2008. Hearing and spatial behaviour in Gryllotalpa major Saussure (Orthoptera: Gryllotalpidae). Journal of Experimental Biology 211: 3613-3618.

Daniel Howard
G32 Spaulding Hall
Lab: G55
Phone: 
(603)862-0242