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Biology

In this Section

Tom A. Langen
P
rofessor, Chair
Department of Biology
163 Science Center
Clarkson University
Potsdam, NY 13699-5805

E-mail: tlangen@clarkson.edu
Web site: http://people.clarkson.edu/tlangen/
Phone: 315-268-7933
 
Education
B.S., Purdue University – Biology (1984)
Ph.D., University of California, San Diego - Biology (1994).

Awards

Network of Conservation Educators & Practitioners (NCEP) Professor of the Month  (October 2011)
Ecological Society of America Education Scholar Award (2011)
Clarkson University Outstanding Advisor Award (2011)
Fulbright Scholar, Costa Rica (2007)
Presidential Award, Society of American Naturalists for the best paper of the previous year in the journal American Naturalist, as judged by the Society’s President (2005)
Clarkson University Student Association Outstanding Teacher Award (2003)

Courses taught

BY 222 General Ecology
BY 224 General Ecology Lab
BY 240 Ecology of American Rivers
BY/EV310 Clarkson Adirondack Semester: Adirondack Natural History
BY 340/PY 340 Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology
BY 358/PY 358 Animal Learning & Cognition
BY 328/528 Conservation Biology
EV390 Sustainability Project Experience Sustainable Natural Resource Management at Devil’s Thumb Ranch, Colorado
UNIV399 University Study Abroad Course: Costa Rica – Melding an Export-Based Economy with Environmental Conservation & Social Welfare
BY 435/BY 525 Biological Systems & Global Environmental Change
BY 610 Ecological Statistics & Experimental Design


 Research Interests

My general research areas include (1) behavioral ecology - the adaptive function of animal behavior, (2) cognitive ecology - how animals learn about their environment and use the information to make adaptive decisions and (3) conservation science - how ecology can be applied to conserving species and ecosystems, and improving environmental health. Presently, I am involved in the following research projects.

Impact of Roads on Costa Rica National Parks.  I collaborate with the International Institute in Wildlife Conservation & Management (ICOMVIS), National University of Costa Rica on research related to roads in Latin America. I am using geographic information systems and remote sensing data to evaluate the fingerprint of public roads that bisect national parks in Costa Rica. I am also conducting field work in the Guanacaste Conservation Area on the impact of the Pan-American Highway on movements of wildlife.

Value of Restored Wetlands for Species of Greatest Conservation Need. The USDA National Resources Conservation Service, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and Ducks Unlimited have partnered with over 100 private landowners in northeastern New York to restore and conserve wetlands. My research evaluates whether these projects are worthwhile from the aspect of conserving threatened species, and also evaluates why landowners chose to participate in the programs.

Impact of Road Mortality on Turtles and other Herpetofauna. There is increasing concern among conservation biologists about the long-term impact of roads on reptiles and amphibian populations. My research is focused on how to predict and mitigate hotspots of road mortality on turtles and other reptiles and amphibians. This research includes use of field surveys and GIS to locate hotspots of road-kill, and the design and testing of barriers to road crossing.

Sociobiology and Cognition in the New World Jays. The New World Jays are model group for understanding the evolution and ecology of reproductive cooperation and sociality. Experiments with jays are also revealing new insights into learning and memory in vertebrates. My work has primarily focused on two species: the white-throated magpie-jay and the western scrub-jay.

Publications (last five years)

Jackson, S.D., T.A. Langen, D.M. Marsh, and K.M. Andrews . 2015. Chapter 2: Natural history and physiological characteristics of small vertebrates in relation to roads. In (K.M Andrews, P. Nanjappa, S. P.D. Riley eds.) Roads and Ecological Infrastructure: Concepts and Applications for Small Animals. Johns Hopkins Press.

Langen, T.A., K.M. Andrews, S.P. Brady, N.E. Karraker, and D.J. Smith. 2015. Chapter 4: Road effects on habitat quality for small animals. In (K.M Andrews, P. Nanjappa, S. P.D. Riley eds.) Roads and Ecological Infrastructure: Concepts and Applications for Small Animals. Johns Hopkins Press.

Kintsch, J., K.E. Gunson, and T.A. Langen. 2015. Chapter 5: Engaging the public in the transportation planning process. In (K.M Andrews, P. Nanjappa, S. P.D. Riley eds.) Roads and Ecological Infrastructure:  Concepts and Applications for Small Animals. Johns Hopkins Press.

Langen, T.A., K.E. Gunson, K., S.D Jackson, D.J. Smith, and  W. Ruediger. 2015. Chapter 8: Planning to mitigate road effects on small animals. In (K.M Andrews, P. Nanjappa, S. P.D. Riley eds.) Roads and Ecological  Infrastructure: Concepts and Applications for Small Animals. Johns Hopkins Press.

Andrews, K.M., T.A. Langen, and R.P.J.H. Struijk. 2015 Chapter 26: Reptiles: Overlooked but often at risk from roads. In  (R. van der Ree, C. Grilo, and D.J. Smith eds.). Handbook of Road Ecology. John Wiley. Langen, T.A., T. Mourad, B.W. Grant, W.K. Gram, B.J. Abraham, D.S. Fernandez, M. Carroll, A. Nuding, and S.E. Hampton. 2014. Opportunities & challenges in using large public data sets in the undergraduate ecology classroom. Frontiers in Ecology & the Environment 12:362-363.

Halamkova, L., J. Schulte, T.A. Langen. 2013. Patterns of sexual size dimorphism in Chelonia. Biological Journal of  the Linnaean Society 108:396-413.

Langen T.A., K. Gunson, C. Scheiner, and J. Boulerice. 2012. Road mortality in freshwater turtles: identifying causes of spatial patterns to optimize road planning and mitigation. Biodiversity and Conservation 21:3017-3034.

Langen T.A. 26 April 2012, posting date. Drivers of avian local species richness: continental-scale gradients, regional landscape, or local land cover? Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology, Vol. 8: Experiment #2 [online]. http://tiee.esa.org/vol/v8/experiments/langen/abstract.html

Steen, D.A., J.P. Gibbs, K.A. Buhlmann, J.C. Carr, B.W. Compton, J. Congdon, S. Doody, J.C. Godwin, K.L. Holcomb, D. Jackson, F. Janzen, G. Johnson, M. Jones, G. Lamer, T.A. Langen, M. Plummer, J. Rowe, R.A. Saumure, J.K. Tucker, and D.S. Wilson. 2012. Distances from wetlands to freshwater turtle nests with guidelines for core terrestrial habitat conservation. Biological Conservation 150:121–128

 
 Mentored Student Research (Last three years)

2012

  • Laura  Barlow (Environmental Science & Policy) Comparison of bird diversity at natural and restored wetlands.
  • Jeremy Ozolins (Biology) Comparison of amphibian and reptile diversity at natural and restored wetlands.
  • Jane Casey (Biology) Sexual size dimorphism in seabirds, Mating skew in cooperatively breeding birds.
  • Hillary  Clifton (Environmental Science & Policy) Impacts of rock climbing on cliff plants.
  • Vinita Eswar (Environmental Science & Policy) Impact of tourism on elephant movements in Queen Elizabeth NP, Uganda.
  • Jon Podoliak (Biology) Evaluation of the wetlands in the Massena AOC using birds as indicators.
  • Kate Gilpin (Wesleyan University, Environmental Science and Engineering REU Program) Evaluation of the wetlands in the Massena AOC using macroinverterbates as indicators.
  • Evan Tomakiewicz (Biology, UBM Program), Jennifer Burl (Mathematics, UBM Program), Shelby Casas (Biomolecular Science, Hobors Program) Intercolony aggression and colony dispersion in Pheidole ants.
  • Jennifer Burl (Mathmatics, UBM Program) Intercolony aggression and colony dispersion in Pheidole ants.
  • Shelby Casas (Biomolecular Science, Honors Program) Intercolony aggression and colony dispersion in Pheidole ants.
  • Victor Epiter-Smith (Biology, UBM Program) Patterns of physiological stress on oaks.

2013

  • Ashley Mattison (Biology) Correlates of sexual size dimorphism in snakes.
  • Robin Collins (McNair, Biology) Created nesting habitat to reduce turtle road mortality. 
  • Brendan Carberry (CUPO, Mechanical Engineering) Design of wildlife barriers to reduce turtle road mortality. Shelby Casas (Honors, Biology) Habitat selection by golden-winged warblers and hybrids.
  •  Kathryn Lawson (Honors, Chemical Engineering) Population density of golden-winged warblers at Upper & Lower Lakes and Fish Creek State Wildlife Management Areas.
  • Amy Hait (Honors, Environmental Engineering) Habitat selection by golden-winged warblers – a GIS analysis.
  • Lorianny Rivera (U. Puerto Rico, Environmental Science and Engineering REU Program) Distribution of Blanding’s Turtles in northeastern New York.
  • Jon Podoliak (Biology) Biodiversity Survey of Clarkson University Campus. Jessica Beach (Biology) Biodiversity Survey of Clarkson University Campus.

2014

  • Shelby Casas (CUPO, Honors, Biology) Habitat selection by golden-winged warblers and hybrids.
  • Daniela Silva (REU, St. Mary’s University) Habitat selection by golden-winged warblers and hybrids.
  • Jon Podoliak (Biology) Biodiversity Survey of Clarkson University Campus. John Sherry (Biology) Comparison of restored and natural wetlands of the St. Lawrence valley based on fish species diversity.
  • Felix Grimberg (McGill University) Turtle abundance in restored vs. natural wetlands.  Amanda Graham (Biology) Camera-trap biodiversity Survey of Clarkson University Campus. 
  • Zachary Austin (Biology) Camera-trap biodiversity Survey of Clarkson University Campus. Katherine Lauer (Biology) GIS modeling of habitat connectivity