Daniel Howard

Phone: (603) 862-0242
Office: Biological Sciences, Spaulding Hall Rm G32, Durham, NH 03824

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.


  • Ph.D., Biology, Univ of Tulsa
  • M.S., Northeastern State University
  • A.A., Liberal Arts&Sci/Liberal Study, Coll of The Sequoias

Courses Taught

  • BIOL 412/412H: Intro Biol: Evol Biodiv & Ecol
  • BIOL 541: General Ecology
  • BIOL 695: Biology Teaching Practices
  • BIOL 999: Doctoral Dissertation Research
  • BIOL/NSB 827/727: Animal Communication
  • INCO 590: Rsrch Exp/Biological Sciences
  • NR 435: Contemporary Conservatn Issues
  • NSB 728: Behavior Research Methods
  • NSB 799H: Honors Senior Thesis
  • ZOOL 777/877: Neuroethology
  • ZOOL 795W: Spc Inv/Animal Behavior
  • ZOOL 877: Neuroethology

Selected Publications

Dodgin, S. R., Hall, C. L., & Howard, D. R. (2020). Eavesdropping on the dead: heterogeneity of tallgrass prairie soundscapes and their relationship with invertebrate necrophilous communities. Biodiversity, 21(1), 28-40. doi:10.1080/14888386.2020.1736155

Howard, D. R., & Hall, C. L. (2019). Examining the Management of Rare Insects Through the Lens of Biotic Interactions: A Comparative Case Study of Nicrophorus americanus (Coleoptera: Silphidae) and Gryllotalpa major (Orthoptera: Gryllotalpidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 112(3), 158-168. doi:10.1093/aesa/saz008

Howard, D. R., Schmidt, A. P., Hall, C. L., & Mason, A. C. (2018). Substrate-Borne Vibration Mediates Intrasexual Agonism in the New Zealand Cook Strait Giant Weta (Deinacrida rugosa). Journal of Insect Behavior, 31(6), 599-615. doi:10.1007/s10905-018-9700-2

Keane, K. T., Booth, W., Howard, D. R., Golden, T. M. J., & Hill, P. S. M. (2018). Competition decreases with relatedness and lek size in mole crickets: a role for kin selection?. Behavioral Ecology, 29(5), 1067-1074. doi:10.1093/beheco/ary081

Howard, D. R., Lee, N., & Hall, C. L. (2018). Making high-stakes decisions in complex acoustic environments: Revisiting the Cocktail Party problem in a multimodal sensory context. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 143(3), 1859. doi:10.1121/1.5036103

Hall, C. L., Howard, D. R., Smith, R. J., & Mason, A. C. (2015). Marking by elytral clip changes stridulatory characteristics and reduces reproduction in the American burying beetle, Nicrophorus americanus. Journal of Insect Conservation, 19(1), 155-162. doi:10.1007/s10841-015-9755-8

Hall, C. L., Mason, A. C., Howard, D. R., Padhi, A., & Smith, R. J. (2013). Description of Acoustic Characters and Stridulatory <I>Pars Stridens</I> of <I>Nicrophorus</I> (Coleoptera: Silphidae): A Comparison of Eight North American Species. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 106(5), 661-669. doi:10.1603/an13001

Hall, C. L., Wadsworth, N. K., Howard, D. R., Jennings, E. M., Farrell, L. D., Magnuson, T. S., & Smith, R. J. (2011). Inhibition of Microorganisms on a Carrion Breeding Resource: The Antimicrobial Peptide Activity of Burying Beetle (Coleoptera: Silphidae) Oral and Anal Secretions. Environmental Entomology, 40(3), 669-678. doi:10.1603/en10137

Howard, D. R., Mason, A. C., & Hill, P. S. M. (2008). Hearing and spatial behavior in Gryllotalpa major Saussure (Orthoptera: Gryllotalpidae). Journal of Experimental Biology, 211(22), 3613-3618. doi:10.1242/jeb.023143

Howard, D. R., & Hill, P. S. M. (2006). Morphology and calling song characteristics in Gryllotalpa major Saussure (Orthoptera: Gryllotalpidae). Journal of Orthoptera Research, 15(1), 53-57. doi:10.1665/1082-6467(2006)15[53:macsci]2.0.co;2

Most Cited Publications