Stephen Dobson

F. Stephen Dobson


Behavior, Ecology, Evolution, Mammalogy, Ornithology
OFFICE: 320 Funchess
PHONE: (334) 844-1699


1. Chevalier in the Order of Academic Palms,France (2002-present)

2. Invited Professor, Laboratory of Experimental and Comparative Ethology,University of Paris(1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2007)

3. Fulbright Scholar, India program (2004-2005)

4. Poste Rouge Award, National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), France (1997, 2006)

5. Invited Research Scientist, French Institute for Polar Research and Technology, Crozet and Kerguelen Archipelagos (2000, 2002, 2006)

6. Visiting Research Scholar, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Lethbridge (1997, 1998)

7. Research Fellow, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (1995)

8. Visiting Faculty Fellow, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (1993, 1994, 1996)

9. Visiting Scholar, Rackham School of Graduate Studies, University of Michigan (1991)

10. NATO Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Alberta (1983-1984)



Behavioral and population ecology, conservation biology, evolutionary ecology, macroecology, and population genetics. My major field work is on ground-dwelling squirrels in alpine environments in western Canada . I also collaborate on international cooperative research programs with colleagues in Europe , including study of the life histories and mating systems of austral seabirds. My students and I share a common curiosity about the behavior, ecology, evolution, genetics, and conservation of mammals, and my students conduct independent research projects.


Post-doctoral Fellows:

1. Timothy Karels. 2003-2005. "Population ecology of ground squirrels."

2. Michael Winterrowd. 2001-2004. "Social groups and gene dynamics."

3. Peter Neuhaus. 2001-02. "Behavioral ecology of Columbian ground squirrels."

4. Paul Nolan. 2001-02. "Mate choice in King penguins."

Completed Theses/Dissertations:

1. David R. Broussard. Ph.D. 2005. Dissertation: “Age-specific variation in the life-history strategies of ground squirrels.”

2. Bonnie Fairbanks. M.S. 2005. Thesis: “Vigilance in Columbian ground squirrels: the effects of kinship and mechanisms of the group size effect.”

3. Iris Hill. M.S. 2005. Degree by examination, specialization in Wildlife Biology.

4. Philip H. Jones. M.S. 2004. Thesis: "Structural size, body mass and residence status as indices of reproductive success among male Columbian ground squirrels."

5. Theresia Elrod. M.S. 2001. Degree by examination, double major in Biological Sciences and Education.

6. Madan K. Oli. Ph.D. 1999. Dissertation: "Demographic mechanisms of population dynamics in mammals."

7. Thomas S. Risch. Ph.D. 1999. Dissertation: "Costs of reproduction and the evolution of litter size in the southern flying squirrel."

8. Jinping Yu. Ph.D. 1999. Dissertation: "Rarity and commonness of mammalian species and the importance of rarity to conservation biology."

9. Mary C. Stockton. M.S. 1997. Thesis: "Dietary preferences and sexually selected color traits in the house finch."

10. Joyce Wu. M.S. 1997. Thesis: "Geographic variation in body size of muskrats and its association with North American ecoregions."

11. Matthew J. Brady. M.S. 1994. Thesis: "The effect of nest site availability on the population dynamics of the southern flying squirrel."

12. John D. Wigginton. M.S. 1992. Thesis: "Geographic variation of the bobcat (Felis rufus) in relation to environmental variables."

Theses/Dissertations in Progress:

1. Adele Balmer. M.S. Multiple paternity in Columbian ground squirrels.

2. Stefanie Haba. M.S. Self-medication in primates.

3. Theodore Manno. Ph.D. Mating system of Columbian ground squirrels.

4. Evi Paremerlaere. Ph.D. Color patterns of tropical lizards.

5. Linda Pastorello. Ph.D. Paternal behavior in tamarins.

6. Nandini Rajamani. Ph.D. Conservation and ecology of Indian flying squirrels.

7. Amy Skibiel. Ph.D. Physiological ecology of reproduction in Columbian ground squirrels.

8. Jessica Stephens. M.S. Dispersal in prairie dogs.

9. Heather Travino. Ph.D. Reproductive biology and behavioral ecology of squirrel monkeys.

10. Shalyn Zappulla. Ph.D. Conservation ecology.

Recent Publications:

1. Broussard, D.R., F.S. Dobson, and J.O. Murie. In press. Age, experience, and reproductive success of female Columbian ground squirrels: an evaluation of the restraint and constraint hypotheses. Journal of Mammalogy.

2. Jouventin, P., P.M. Nolan, F.S. Dobson, and M. Nicolaus. In press. Colored patches influence pairing rate in king penguins. Ibis.

3. Manno, T.G., A.N. Vlasak, L.M. DeBarbieri, K.S. Wright, S.E. Kennedy, and F.S. Dobson. In press. Why do male Columbian ground squirrels give a mating call? Animal Behaviour.

4. Dobson, F.S. 2007. Gene dynamics and social behavior. Pages 163-172 in: Rodent Societies (J.O. Wolff and P.W. Sherman, eds.). University of Chicago Press.

5. Dobson, F.S., and P. Jouventin. 2007. How slow breeding can be selected in seabirds: testing Lack’s hypothesis. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London , Series B 274:275-279.

6. Dobson, F.S., and M.K. Oli. 2007. Fast and slow life histories of mammals. Écoscience 14:292-299.

7. Dobson, F.S., and M.K. Oli. 2007. Fast and slow life histories of rodents. Pages 99-105 in: Rodent Societies (J.O. Wolff and P.W. Sherman, eds.). University of Chicago Press.

8. Fairbanks, B., and F.S. Dobson. 2007. Mechanisms of the group-size effect on vigilance in Columbian ground squirrels: dilution vs. detection. Animal Behaviour 73:115-123.

9. Manno, T.G., F.S. Dobson, J.L. Hoogland, and D.W. Foltz. 2007. Why do black-tailed prairie dog coteries fission? Journal of Mammalogy 88:448-456.

10. Risch, T.S., G.R. Michener, and F.S. Dobson. 2007. The evolution of litter size in Richardson ’s ground squirrels. Ecology 88:306-314.

11. Travino, H., A. Skibiel, T. Karels, and F.S. Dobson. 2007. Threats to avifaunas on oceanic islands. Conservation Biology 21:125-132.

12. Broussard, D.R., G.R. Michener, and F.S. Dobson. 2006. Age-specific resource investment strategies: evidence from female Richardson 's ground squirrels. Journal of Zoology 268:389-294.

13. Nolan, P.M., F.S. Dobson, B. Dresp, and P. Jouventin. 2006. Immunocompetence is signaled by ornamental color in king penguins, Aptenodytes patagonicus. Evolutionary Ecology Research 8:1325-1332.

14. Baudoin, C., N. Busquet, F.S. Dobson, G. Gheusi, C. Feron, J.L. Durand, G. Heth, B. Patris, and J. Todrank. 2005. Male-female associations and female olfactory neurogenesis with pair bonding in Mus spicilegus. Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society 84:323-334.

15. Broussard, D.R., F.S. Dobson, and J.O. Murie. 2005. The effects of capital on an income breeder: evidence from female Columbian ground squirrels. Canadian Journal of Zoology 83:546-552.

16. Broussard, D.R., G.R. Michener, T.S. Risch, and F.S. Dobson. 2005. Somatic senescence: evidence from female Richardson ’s ground squirrels. Oikos 108:591-601.

17. Jouventin, P., P.M. Nolan, J. Örnborg, and F.S. Dobson. 2005. Ultraviolet spots in large penguins. Condor 107:144-150.

18. Oli, M.K., and F.S. Dobson. 2005. Generation time, elasticity patterns, and mammalian life histories. American Naturalist 166:124-128.

19. Siefferman, L., G.E. Hill, and F.S. Dobson. 2005. Trade-offs between parental effort and structural plumage coloration in male eastern bluebirds. Journal of Avian Biology 36:428-435.

20. Dobson, F.S., R.K. Chesser, J.L. Hoogland, D.W. Sugg, and D.L. Foltz. 2004. The influence of social breeding groups on effective population size. Journal of Mammalogy 85:58-66.

21. McGraw, K.J., K. Wakamatsu, S. Ito, P.M. Nolan, P. Jouventin, F.S. Dobson, R.E. Austic, R. J. Safran, L.M. Siefferman, G.E. Hill, and R.S. Parker. 2004. “You can’t judge a plumage pigment by its color”: carotenoid and melanin content of yellow- and brown-colored feathers in swallows, bluebirds, penguins, and domestic chicks. Condor 106:390-395.

22. Neuhaus, P., D.R. Broussard, J.O. Murie, and F.S. Dobson. 2004. Age of primaparity and implications of early reproduction on life history in female Columbian ground squirrels. Journal of Animal Ecology 73:36-43.

23. Smith, A.T., and F.S. Dobson. 2004. Social dynamics in the plateau pika. Pages 1016-1019 in: Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior (M. Beckoff, ed.). Greenwood Press, Westport , Connecticut , 1274 pp.

24. Broussard, D.R., T.S. Risch, F.S. Dobson, and J.O. Murie. 2003. Senescence and age-related reproduction of female Columbian ground squirrels. Journal of Animal Ecology 72:212-219.

25. Dobson, F.S., and P. Jouventin. 2003. How mothers find their pups in a colony of Antarctic fur seals. Behavioural Processes 61:77-85.

26. Dobson, F.S., and P. Jouventin. 2003. Use of the nest site as a rendezvous in penguins. Waterbirds 26:409-415.

27. Dobson, F.S., and B. Zinner. 2003. Social groups, genetic structure, and conservation. Pages 211-228 in: Animal Behavior and Wildlife Conservation (M. Festa-Bianchet and M.Apollonia, eds.). Island Press, Washington D.C. , 380 pp.

28. Dobson, F.S., B. Zinner, and M. Silva. 2003. Testing models of biological scaling with mammalian population densities. Canadian Journal of Zoology 81:844-851.

29. Oli, M.K., and F.S. Dobson. 2003. The relative importance of life-history variables to population growth rate in mammals: Cole’s prediction revisited. American Naturalist 161:422-440.

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