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Faculty Profile
William Shields


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241 Illick Hall

Research Interests

Animal behavior; evolution and genetics; evolution of animal communication and dispersal systems; effects of genetic constraints on the evolution of social behavior; sociobiology and behavioral ecology; population genetics, the use of DNA in identity testing and conservation biology; the interface between science and the law.

Past Graduate Students

  • Vlietstra, Lucy. M.S. Group related foraging behavior and molt phenology in wintering Common Loons., Gavia immer.
  • Velasquez, Iris, Ph.D. Ontogeny of foraging behavior, prey detection, and social influences on habitat selection in the European Starling.
  • Balko, Elizabeth, Ph.D. A behaviorally plastic response to forest composition and logging disturbance by Varecia variegata variegata in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar.
  • Caister, Lauren, M.S. Feeding ecology & genetics of the West African Giraffe of Niger.
  • Dillon, Amanda, M.S. Diversity and Abundance of Native Solitary Bees and Wasps in Varying Habitats of Northern Onondaga County, NY
  • Farmer, Christopher, Ph.D. Mortality and habitat use of disturbed forest by Sitka Black-Tailed Deer in the Tongass National Forest.
  • Lopes, Lucia, Ph.D. Avian conservation ecology in Matto Grosso Brazil.
  • Tellier, Beth M.S. The behavior of captive tanagers in a zoo setting.
  • Cskaney, Jolene, M.S. The relationship between a frog and spider in the Peruvian amazon.
  • Prasad, Ayesha, Ph. D. Invasion by the exotic plant Lantana camara in a tropical deciduous landscape.
  • Rogers, Tanya M., M.S. Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) as a fuelwood substitute in the Western Ghats of India.
  • Mandel, Jill K., M.S. (with K. Limburg) Great Blue Herons  (Ardea herodias) as potential bioindicatorsof the pollution levels of watersheds in the Northeaster United Sates.
  • Denhof, Lindsay A., M.S. (with B. Hager) Microhabitat occupancy, distribution, and selection by Cordulegaster diastatops (Selts, 1854): (Odonata:: Cordulegastridae) in seeps and springs of Madison County, New York.
  • Hellenbrook, William D., Ph. D. (with C. Whipps) Effects of ecological disturbance on parasite communties in both people and Mantles Howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata aequitorialis) living in Equador.

Selected Publications

Shields, W. M. 1982. Philopatry, Inbreeding, and the Evolution of Sex. State University of New York .Press, Albany, New York, 245 pp

Shields, W. M. 1983. Genetic considerations in the management of the wolf and other large vertebrates: an alternative view. In, Wolves in Canada and Alaska: their status, biology, and management. (L. N. Carbyn, ed.), Canadian Wildl. Serv. Series 45:90-92.

Shields, W. M. 1984. Barn swallow mobbing: self defense, collateral kin defense, group defense, or parental care? Animal Behaviour 32:132-148.

Templeton, A.R., H. Hemmer, G. Mace, U.S. Seal, W.M. Shields, and D.S. Woodruff. 1986. Local adaptation, coadaptation, and population boundaries. Zoo Biol. 5:115-125.

Shields, W. M. 1987. Dispersal and mating systems: investigating their causal connections. In, Mammalian Dispersal Patterns: The Effects of Social Structure on Population Genetics. (B.D. Chepko-Sade and Z. T. Halpin, eds.), Univ. of Chicago Press, Chicago, Ill., pp 3-24.

Yoshimura, J. and W. M. Shields. 1987. Probabilistic optimization of phenotype distributions: a general solution for the effects of uncertainty on natural selection? Evolutionary Ecology 1:125-138

Shields, W.M., J.R. Crook, M.L. Hebblethwaite, and S.S. Wiles-Ehmann. 1988. Ideal free coloniality in the swallows. In, Ecology of Social Behavior, C. N. Slobodchikoff, ed., Academic Press, NY, pp 189-228.

Shields, W. M. 1992. Problems & Solutions Associated with Matching and Generating Inclusion Probabilities. pp 1-50, In, Proc. from the Third International Symposium on Human Identification 1992, Promega, Scottsdale, AZ.

Shields, W. M. 1993. The natural and unnatural history of inbreeding and outbreeding. pp 143-169, In, The Natural History of Inbreeding and Outbreeding: theoretical and empirical perspectives on population structure. (N. W. Thornhill, ed.) University of Chicago Press.

Caister, L.E., W.M. Shields, and A. Gosser. 2003. Female tannin avoidance: A possible explanation for habitat and dietary segregation of giraffes (Giraffa camelopardis peralta) in Niger. African Journal of Ecology. 41:201-210.

Gilder, J. R., K. Inman, W. Shields, and D. E. Krane, 2011. Magnitude dependant variation in peak height balance at heterozygous STR loci. Intl. Journal Legal Medicine. 125:87-94.