Gary Gerald, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biology
Office location

Acklie 126D

ggerald [at]

Associate Professor of Biology - Nebraska Wesleyan University, 2015-present

Assistant Professor of Biology - Nebraska Wesleyan University, 2009-2015

Visiting Assistant Professor of Zoology - Miami University (Oxford campus), 2008-2009

Visiting Assistant Professor of Zoology - Miami University (Hamilton campus), 2007-2008


Ph.D. in Zoology, Miami University (Ohio), 2008
M.S. in Biology, Middle Tennessee State University, 2003
B.S. in Biology, Middle Tennessee State University, 2001

Courses taught

Biological Investigations - Squirrel Biology (Bio 1400)

Vertebrate Zoology

Human Anatomy & Physiology Lab (Bio 1090, Bio 1110)

Human and Comparative Anatomy

Human and Comparative Physiology

Research and academic interests

My research interests involve examining trade-offs in behavioral, mechanical, and physiological performance of animals in their natural environment. I am especially interested in how compromises in various traits related to conflicting physical, behavioral, and/or ecological demands influence both performance and an animals' evolutionary history. Past and current projects have focused on the following areas:

  1. Trade-offs in locomotor performance among disparate modes of limbless locomotion in lizards and snakes
  2. Influence of leg autotomy on locomotion in invertebrates
  3. Influence of abiotic factors on anti-predator behavioral strategies in reptiles



__________Selected Publications (*=undergraduate co-author)__________

  • Gerald G.W. 2017. Effects of morphology, substrate use, and potential trade-offs on locomotor performance during multiple modes of snake locomotion. Evolutionary Ecology Research 18 (6): 601-620.
  • Gerald G.W., M.M. Thompson, T.D. Levine, and K.M. Wrinn. 2017. Interactive effects of leg autotomy and incline on locomotor performance and kinematics of the cellar spider, Pholcus manueli. Ecology and Evolution 2017 00: 1-7. doi:10.1002/ece3.3231
  • Wass E.D.* and G.W. Gerald. 2017. Performance and kinematics of saltation in the limbless lizard Ophisaurus attenuatus (Squamata; Anguidae).  Phyllomedusa 16(1): 81-87.
  • Tietze S.M.* and G.W. Gerald. 2016. Tradeoffs between salinity preference and antipredator behaviour in the euryhaline sailfin molly Poecilia latipinnaJournal of Fish Biology. doi:10.1111/jfb.12955
  • Braegelman A.S.* and G.W. Gerald. 2015. Caudata: Siren intermedia: Limb regeneration.  Herpetological Review 46(4): 610-611.
  • Gerald G.W. and K.E. Thiesen*. 2014. Locomotor hindrance of carrying an enlarged sexually selected structure on inclines for male fiddler crabs. Journal of Zoology 294:129-138. doi:10.1111/jzo.12161
  • Levine T.D., H.B. Hansen*, and G.W. Gerald. 2014. Effects of shell shape, size and sculpture in burrowing and anchoring abilities in the freshwater mussel Potamilus alatus (Unionidae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 111:136-144.
  • Gerald G.W., M.P. Graziano, and K.E. Thiesen*. 2013. Ophisaurus attenuatus attenuatus: Death feigning. Herpetological Review 44(1):93-94.
  • Block, J.E.*, G.W. Gerald, and T.D. Levine. 2013. Temperature effects on burrowing behaviors and performance in a freshwater mussel. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 28(3):375-384, doi: 10.1080/02705060.2013.767218
  • Gerald G.W. and M.P. Graziano. 2011. Storeria dekayi texana (Texas Brownsnake): Death feigning. Herpetological Review 42(3):444-445.
  • Collins A.M.* and G.W. Gerald. 2009. Attraction of flatworms at various hunger levels towards cues from an odonate predator. Ethology 115:449-456.
  • Gerald G.W. 2008. Feign versus flight: Influences of temperature, body size, and locomotor abilities on death feigning in neonate snakes. Animal Behaviour 75: 647-654.
  • Gerald G.W., M.J. Mackey*, and D.L. Claussen. 2008. Effects of temperature and perch diameter on arboreal locomotor performance in the snake Elaphe guttata. Journal of Experimental Zoology 309A(3): 147-156.
  • Claussen D.L., G.W. Gerald, J.E. Kotcher*, and C.A. Miskell*. 2008. Pinching forces in crayfishes and fiddler crabs, and comparisons with the closing forces of other animals. Journal of Comparative Physiology B 178:333-342.
  • Gerald G.W. and D.L. Claussen. 2007. Thermal dependencies of different modes of locomotion in neonate Brown Snakes, Storeria dekayi. Copeia 2007(3): 578-586.
  • Gerald G.W., M.A Bailey, and J.N. Holmes. 2006. Movements and activity range sizes of Northern Pinesnakes (Pituophis melanoleucus melanoleucus) in Middle Tennessee. Journal of Herpetology 40(4): 503-510.
  • Gerald G.W. and L.C. Spezzano Jr. 2005. The influence of chemical cues and conspecific density on the temperature selection of a freshwater snail (Melanoides tuberculata). Journal of Thermal Biology 30: 237-245.
Service interests

Academic Standards committee (2014-2016)
Faculty advisor to the graduate school club (2011-present)
Faculty advisor for the Goldwater Scholarship (2013-present)
Chair of the Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Grant committee (2010-2014)