Susan Herrick, Doctoral Student, Instructor-in-Residence
Office: TLS 470
Voice: (860) 486-5662
Fax: (860) 486-6364
My central research interests lie in the field of behavioral ecology. I am focused on the ecology of amphibian communities using acoustic interactions, spatial relations, and various characteristics of breeding behavior to explore the dynamics of interspecific competition. The American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) and green frog (R. clamitans) are sympatric throughout most of their native range and often share the same ponds. Their close phylogenetic relationship, sharing of permanent ponds during breeding season, and prolonged breeding systems make them an ideal system for the study of interspecific dynamics. I have focused my research on these dynamics to more fully understand the maintenance of territories and acoustic space in these species. I am mapping movement patterns of individual frogs on a daily and seasonal basis, evaluating changes in calling patterns and effort on several scales, and comparing the use and characteristics of microhabitats. I plan to extend my work into investigating these and other interactions in various types of habitats and on larger scales. Specific interactions of interest include exploring nesting behavior in ranid frogs and its characteristics, changes in mate acquisition strategies, differences in oviposition patterns across pond types and use of vegetation.
A teacher, at a very basic level, is someone who enlightens others with new knowledge. I believe that all great teachers have a multi-faceted approach to instruction. In fact, of all the teachers in whose classrooms I have been privileged to sit, the best ones stand out as having several teaching strategies in common. They all are enthusiastic about their subject matter, empathetic to student issues, available and approachable beyond classroom time, and encourage independence and interaction in students’ work. Teaching, at its core, is all about guiding students to new knowledge, showing them how the knowledge is useful and providing for opportunities to apply that knowledge in practical ways outside the classroom setting. I work toward these goals with what I feel are the keys to my teaching success: enthusiasm, interaction, empathetic support, and approachability.