Jennifer Verdolin

Assistant Director, Instructor, Advanced Inquiry Program

106 Peabody Hall  (513) 529-9026

Biographical Information

Jennifer Verdolin is a behavioral ecologist whose research has focused on exploring the evolution of sociality and mating systems in terrestrial vertebrates. Her dissertation research at Stony Brook examined the ecological drivers of social behavior in Gunnison’s prairie dogs. During her postdoctoral work at Stony Brook University she studied the population genetics and behavior of mouse lemurs(2008-2010), after which she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center at Duke University (2010-2013). She came to Miami University’s Project Dragonfly from Duke University where she was a Visiting Lecturer and Scholar-in-Residence. Currently, her research interests have expanded to included personality, social networks, and disease dynamics. She is the author of two popular science books, Wild Connection (2014) and Raised by Animals (2017) and is the featured weekly guest on the D.L. Hughley Show for a segment called “Think Like a Human, Act Like an Animal”. 

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Courses Taught

Introduction to Biology (Majors and Nonmajors)

Introduction to Ecology (Majors and Nonmajors)

Animal Behavior


Partnering and Parenting (Seminar)

Peer Reviewed Publications

Verdolin, J.L. and Richards, P. In Review. Influences of life history traits and environment on populations of loggerhead sea turtles: A meta-analysis. Biological Conservation

Nunn, C.L., Jordán, F., McCabe, C., Verdolin, J.L., Fewell, J. 2015. Parasitism and group size: It is more than just a numbers game. Phil Trans Roy Soc B 370: 20140111.

Verdolin, J.L., Traud, A.L. & Dunn, R. 2014. Key players and hierarchical organization of prairie dog social networks. Ecological Complexity 19, 140-147.

Verdolin, J.L. & Harper, J. 2013. Are shy individuals less behaviorally variable? Insights from a captive lemur population. Primates Advance Access Published May 14, 2013 doi:10.1007/s10329-013-0360-8.

Gavin, M.C., Boteros, C.A., Bowern, C., Colwell, R.K., Dunn, M., Dunn, R., Gray, R.D., Kirby, K.R., McCater, J., Powell, A., Rangel, T., Stepp, J.R., Traurtwein, M., Verdolin, J.L., & Yanega, G. 2013. Towards a mechanistic understanding of linguistic diversity. Bioscience 63, 524-535.

Tecot, S.R., Gerber, B.D., King, S.J., Verdolin, J.L., & Wright, P.C. 2013. Risky business: Sex differences in mortality and dispersal in a polygynous, monomorphic lemur, Milne-Edwards sifaka, Propithecus edwarsi. Behavioral Ecology Advance Access Published February 28, 2013 doi:10.1093/beheco/art008.

Verdolin, J.L. and Slobodchikoff, C.N. 2010. Male territoriality leads to increased access to resources rather than securing paternity in a social sciurid, Cynomys gunnisoni. Behaviour 147, 1145-1167.

Slobodchikoff, C.N., Paseka, A., Verdolin, J.L. 2009. Information content of alarm calls: Prairie dog alarm calls encode information about predator colors. Animal Cognition 12, 435-439.

Verdolin, J.L. 2009. Gunnison’s prairie dog (Cynomys gunnisoni): Testing the resource dispersion hypothesis. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 63, 789–799.

Verdolin, J.L. and Slobodchikoff, C.N. 2009. Resources, not kinship, determine social patterning in the territorial Gunnison’s prairie dog (Cynomys gunnisoni). Ethology 115, 59-69.         

Verdolin, J.L., Lewis, K., and Slobodchikoff, C.N. 2007. Morphology of prairie dog burrows: A comparison among Gunnison’s, black-tailed, white-tailed, and Utah prairie dogs. Southwestern Naturalist 53:201-207.

Verdolin, J.L. 2007. Resources, not male mating strategies, determine social structure in Gunnison’s prairie dogs. Behaviour 144:1361-1382.                 

Verdolin, J.L. 2006. Meta-Analysis of foraging and predation risk trade-offs in terrestrial systems. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 60: 457-464.

Slobodchikoff, C.N. and Verdolin, J.L. 2006. Prairie dogs and people. In: Encyclopedia of human-animal relationships: A global exploration of our connections with animals. Bekoff, M., ed. Greenwood Press, Westport, CT.          

Janson, C. and Verdolin, J.L. 2005. Seasonality of primate births in relation to climate. In: Primate Seasonality: Implications for Human Evolution, D.K. Brockman & C.P. van Schaik, ed., Cambridge Studies in Biological and Evolutionary Anthropology series

Verdolin, J.L. and Slobodchikoff, C.N. 2002. Vigilance and predation risk in Gunnison’s prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni). Canadian Journal of Zoology 80: 1197-1203.