BenU Faculty since 2015
B.S. Biology, Davidson College (2007)
Ph.D. Marine Biology, University of North Carolina Wilmington (2013)
Postdoctoral Researcher and Adjunct Professor, Davidson College (2014)
Postdoctoral Fellow, Loyola University Chicago (2014-15)
BIOL 197: Principles of Organismal Biology, BIOL 364: Ecology Lab, BIOL 258 & 259: Human Physiology Lecture & Lab, BIOL/ENVS 205: Environmental Science (in learning community with BIOL 394 Nature Writing)
physiological ecology, environmental physiology, aquatic ecology, herpetology, thermal biology, spatial ecology, wildlife conservation and outreach
Current Research Projects
My central research questions revolve around how abiotic factors influence the physiology, behavior, and habitat preferences of ectothermic vertebrates (particularly reptiles and amphibians), with applications to their conservation and management. I collaborate with the Loyola University Chicago Herpetology Lab (Milanovich Lab), to study the effects of land-use and climate change on, and the ecological role of, amphibians and reptiles – in both natural and urban ecosystems. on these research topics. Some current projects include:
Evaluating the health and physiology of threatened Blanding’s turtles: The Milanovich Lab and I are conducting research on the physiological health of captive-reared hatchling and juvenile endangered Blanding’s Turtles (Emydoidea Blandingii
) at captive-rearing programs in the Midwest. This research on the physiology and stress levels of Blanding’s Turtles contributes to the gap in knowledge concerning the effects of captive-rearing efforts on their health and survival and allow for better recommendations regarding captive-rearing procedures. We are currently collaborating with and educating regional stakeholders on potential long-term impacts of head-starting and translocation programs. This project involves undergraduates from Loyola and Benedictine.
Examining the ecology and physiology of Ornate Box Turtles in northern Illinois: With funding from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, I am collaborating with the Milanovich Lab in examining the characteristics of hibernaculum, home range sizes, blood chemistry, and stable isotopes of ornate box turtles (Terrapene ornata
) at three sites in northern Illinois.
To learn more about my research, teaching, and outreach at Benedictine University, visit my website: http://leighanneharden.com