Aaron Sullivan

Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Biology

Education

  • Ph.D. Binghamton University – State University of New York (2004)
  • M.S. Southwest Missouri State University (1999)
  • B.S. Mount Vernon Nazarene University (1997)

Courses Taught

  • Organisms to Ecosystems (BIOL 151)
  • Animal Behavior (BIOL 336)
  • Biodiversity (BIOL 303)
  • Collaborative Research (BIOL 395)
  • Senior Capstone (BIOL 482)
  • Science Honors (INTS 150, 154)

Research Interests

My research in behavioral ecology focuses on two primary areas: a) predator-prey interactions, and b) chemical communication. In most cases, I work with students to examine how amphibian prey evaluate predation risk using chemical stimuli. However, our lab has also published studies evaluating the defensive behaviors exhibited by aquatic invertebrates. I have also recently participated in field work related to the Pacific Crest Trail Megatransect with a collaborator at William Jessup University. The concept driving this project is the use of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail as a ‘ barometer’ of biodiversity where a survey is established with the objective to document the occurrence and distributions of plants, animals, and their habitats across the remote and mountainous regions of the Pacific States from Mexico to Canada.

Recent Publications with Houghton College Students

  • Payette, W.I. & Sullivan, A.M. Accepted. Exposure to predator kairomones after simulated predation affects caudal regeneration in Allegheny Mountain dusky salamanders (Desmognathus ochrophaeus). Canadian Journal of Zoology.
  • Gildemeister, E.A.R., Payette, W.I. & Sullivan, A.M. 2017. Size-Specific Effects of Predator Kairomones and Caudal Autotomy on the Foraging Behavior of Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamanders (Desmognathus ochrophaeus). acta ethologica, 20: 157-164.
  • Sullivan, A.M. & Johnson, E.C. (2016). Drift and Activity Responses of Black Flies (Simulium vittatum) in the Field: Influences of Tactile and Injury-Released Stimuli from Simulated Predation. Behaviour, 153: 227-244.
  • Johnson, E.C. & Sullivan, A.M. (2014). Antipredator Behavior in Desmognathus ochrophaeus: Threat-Specific Responses to Chemical Stimuli in a Foraging Context. Ethology, 120: 672-680.
  • Sullivan, A.M. & Jensen, G. (2013). A Study of the Sensitivity of Red-Backed Salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) to Damage-Released Cues from Conspecifics. Journal of Herpetology, 47: 585-589.
  • Sullivan, A.M., Curran, C.D., Gardner, H.M., Hiers, A.G. & Hummelman, J.S. (2013). Chemically-Mediated Antipredator Responses by Larval Black Flies (Simulium vittatum s. s.) During Field Trials. Ethology Ecology & Evolution, 25: 95-102.
  • Sullivan, A.M., Miedema, K.L., Hiers, A.G., Hummelman, J.S. & Damcott, J.A. (2011). A Field Evaluation of Larval Black Fly (Simulium vittatum s. s.) Responses to Damage-Released Cues from Conspecifics. American Midland Naturalist, 166: 75-84.

Recent Presentations by Houghton College Students

  • Gildemeister, E.A.R. & Sullivan, A.M. (2018). Do Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamanders (Desmognathus ochrophaeus) Learn to Associate Non-predatory Smooth Greensnakes (Opheodrys vernalis) with threat? Joint Meeting of the American Society of Ichthyologists & Herpetologists.
  • Apgar, A.M., Kopa, S.C., Stern, E.R. & Sullivan, A.M. (2016). Foraging behavior of Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamanders (Desmognathus ochrophaeus) exposed to kairomones from syntopic and allotropic snake species. 43rdAnnual Paper Session of the Rochester Academy of Sciences.
  • Barney, E.I., Gildemeister, E.A.R., Sullivan, A.M. & McGrann, M.C. (2016). A pilot study to assess the efficacy of the Pacific Crest Trail as a megatransect of amphibian and reptile diversity in the Klamath Mountains of northern California. 43rd Annual Paper Session of the Rochester Academy of Sciences.
  • Barney, E.I, Frey, K.A., Gabriele, S.L., Weber, L.M., Yordy, E.G. & Sullivan, A.M. (2015). Does the Presence of Shelter Influence the Behavior of Desmognathus ochrophaeus Foraging Under the Threat of Predation? 42nd Annual Paper Session of the Rochester Academy of Sciences.
  • Gildemeister, E.A., Payette, W.I. & Sullivan, A.M. (2015). Combined Effects of Tail Autotomy and Predator Kairomones on the Foraging of Desmognathus ochrophaeus. 42nd Annual Paper Session of the Rochester Academy of Sciences.
  • Johnson, E.C. & Sullivan, A.M. (2012). Do Foraging Desmognathus ochrophaeus Respond to Chemical Cues from Predation Events in a Threat-Sensitive Manner? 39th Annual Paper Session of the Rochester Academy of Sciences.
  • Adams, M.M., McElfish, M.M. & Sullivan, A.M. (2011). Do Recently Metamorphosed American Toads (Bufo americanus) Respond to Chemical Stimuli from Vertebrate and Invertebrate Predators? 38th Annual Paper Session of the Rochester Academy of Sciences.
  • Hiers, A.G., Curran, C.D., Gardner, H.M., Hummelman, J.S. & Sullivan, A.M. (2010). Behavioral Responses of Larval Black Flies (Simulium vittatum) to Chemical Cues from Predators and Injured Conspecifics. 37th Annual Paper Session of the Rochester Academy of Sciences.
  • Damcott, J.A., Hiers, A.G., Hummelman, J.S., Miedema, K.L. & Sullivan, A.M. (2009). A Field Evaluation of Larval Black Fly (Simulium vittatum s. s.) Responses to Damage-Released Cues from Conspecifics. 36th Annual Paper Session of the Rochester Academy of Sciences.
  • LaPan, S., Smith, N. & Sullivan, A.M. (2009). Size-Specific Behavioral Responses by Allegheny Dusky Salamanders (Desmognathus ochrophaeus) to Chemical Cues from Predators. 36th Annual Paper Session of the Rochester Academy of Sciences.
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