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Jenn E. Smith

Associate Professor of Biology


BA, Colby College
MS, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
PhD, Michigan State University

Professional Interests

Behavioral and evolutionary ecology of social rodents and carnivores


Jennifer Smith is a behavioral ecologist whose research integrates perspectives from evolutionary biology, animal behavior, genetics, physiology and urban ecology in an effort to understand how natural selection and current conditions shape decision-making in mammals. As leader of the Long-term Study on the Behavioral Ecology of California ground squirrels, Smith’s team of undergraduates combines naturalistic observations with field experiments, genetic and endocrine analyses, and social network statistics to test evolutionary theory. She is also internationally recognized for her comparative research on social lives of mammals, especially those of carnivores. This work reveals the evolutionary and ecological forces favoring leadership and cooperation. Her recent career awards for excellence in teaching and mentoring include those from the Animal Behavior Society and Phi Beta Kappa.

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