Dr. Gary Gerald

Assistant Professor of Biology
(402) 465-2453
ggerald [at] NebrWesleyan.edu
240 Olin Hall

Assistant Professor of Biology - Nebraska Wesleyan University, 2009-present
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: 

Vertebrate Zoology
Human Anatomy & Physiology Lab (Bio 1090)
Human and Comparative Anatomy
Human and Comparative Physiology
Biology of Animals

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 limb size on locomotor performance and kinematics in lizards
  3. The role of salinity selection on predator avoidance behaviors and aquaporin expression in euryhaline fishes
  4. Influence of abiotic factors on anti-predator behavioral strategies in reptiles
  5. How shell morphology and temperature affect burrowing and anchoring performance in freshwater mussels
  6. Influence of the sexually-selected enlarged claw in male fiddler crabs on locomotor abilities

__________Selected Publications (*=undergraduate co-author)__________

  • 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.
  • 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-present)
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)