Assistant Professor of Biology
- Office: Olmsted Hall of Biological Sc
- Phone: 437-7419
- Box: 591
- Email: email@example.com
- B.S., Biological Sciences, Binghamton University (SUNY)
- Ph.D., Animal Behavior, University of California-Davis
- Post-doctoral Fellow, Center for Insect Science, University of Arizona.
I am broadly interested in individual differences in behavior, particularly in those behaviors related to habitat choice. I focus on two important mechanisms by which an animal's natal habitat - the environment where an animal develops as a juvenile - can affect the habitat decisions it makes as an adult:
Silver Spoon Effects: Differences among habitats can affect the physiology and morphology of animals developing within them. Thus, animals from high quality habitats might have physiological and morphological advantages when it comes to finding, defending and/or utilizing new habitats. For example, in my dissertation research, I demonstrated that the first fruit that fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) feed upon as adults influences the amount of time they have available to search for their next meal before risking starvation. As a result, flies emerging from low quality fruits are likely accept similarly low quality fruits, while flies from high quality fruits can be choosy about the fruits in which they will feed and breed. More recently, I have been exploring these "Silver Spoon" effects in the walnut fly, Rhagoletis juglandis. In this species, the size of the fly is strongly affected by the size of the walnut in which it developed as a larva. I am currently testing how these size differences influence the ability to use and defend resources.
Preference Induction: Animals frequently demonstrate a preference for resources that they have previously experienced. If this process occurs in the habitat where juveniles are placed by their parents (i.e. in the natal habitat), parents and their offspring will share the same habitat preferences, and thus experience similar selective pressures. Such a pattern can have potentially important evolutionary and ecological implications. However, the degree to which experience affects habitat preferences differs greatly among species. These differences may represent adaptations of the particular natural histories of each species. I use meta-analyses and comparative methods to explore how natural selection results in species differences in how important learning is in habitat and host choices.
I teach Animal Structure and Diversity (Biology 226). In this course, we will use comparative methods to explore the evolution and development of morphological innovations and while doing so will become familiar with the diversity of animal life and current hypotheses about how different groups of animals are phylogenetically related.
I also teach Experimental Animal Behavior (Biology 340). In Animal Behavior, we will use the primary literature to discover how scientists currently ask the 4 big questions laid out by one of the founders of the study of animal behavior, Niko Tinbergen: Causation, Development, Adaptive Value, and Evolution.
At the introductory level, I teach the biology department introductory lab course as well as an introductory course which focuses on pests and parasites.
Selected Publications*student author
- *Pasqualone, A.A. and J.M. Davis. 2011. The use of conspecific phenotypic states as information during reproductive decisions. Animal Behaviour. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2011.05.002
- Davis, J.M., C.R. Nufio, and D.R. Papaj 2011. Resource quality or competition: why increase resource acceptance in the presence of conspecifics? Behavioral Ecology. 22:730-727. Link
- Davis, J.M. 2010. Habitat Imprinting. IN: The Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior. Elsevier.
- Davis, J.M. 2008. Patterns of variation in the influence of natal experience on habitat choice. Quarterly Review of Biology. 83:363-382.
- Davis, J.M. 2007. Preference or desperation? Natal experience and variation in breeding site selection in Drosophila melanogaster. Animal Behaviour. 74: 111-119.
- Stamps, J.A. and J.M. Davis 2006. Adaptive effects of natal experience on habitat selection by dispersers. Animal Behaviour. 72:1279-1289.
- Davis, J.M. and J.A. Stamps 2004. The effect of natal experience on habitat preferences. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 19: 411-416.