I am an Assistant Professor of Biology at St. Mary's College of Maryland. I am an evolutionary ecologist broadly interested in maternal effects and developmental plasticity. My current work is on reptile systems with a particular focus on how female nest choice affects development and fitness across life stages.
Jenna E. Pruett
St. Mary's College of Maryland
Department of Biology
2/27/2023: Assistant Professor at St. Mary's College of Maryland
After two great years in Colorado, I've accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Organismal Biology at St. Mary's College of Maryland that will start in August. I'll be developing and teaching a vertebrate biology course in the fall and continuing research on the ecology, evolution, and behavior of reptiles.
2/27/2023: Paper Accepted
Our paper Fluctuating environments hinder the ability of female lizards to choose suitable nest sites for their embryos was accepted in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. This paper explores the effects of changing conditions on female nesting behavior in Anolis lizards. We presented females with nest pots that had constant (wet or dry), predictable fluctuating, and unpredictably fluctuating moisture levels. We found that females nest in wet substrate regardless of the constancy or level of predictability. This suggests that females use immediate cues to choose nest sites.
1/22/2023: Paper Accepted
Biology researchers, students, and teachers are constantly faced with the intersection of society and their field of study. Science, like any human endeavor, is full of biases and limitations that we must be aware of to be effective and honest educators. This paper discusses how we can manage these intersections in the classroom, not by avoiding the inevitable complexity, but by embracing it. We advocate for the incorporation of ideologically aware (IA) material into postsecondary Biology courses through culturally relevant pedagogical practices. The work of becoming a more inclusive discipline can start in the classroom.
4/25/2022: Paper Accepted
Thankfully, before I left Auburn, I was able to take a course in Discipline Based Education Research with Dr. Cissy Ballen. In addition to learning a lot about the field, we completed a research project on why students struggle in introductory biology courses. Incoming preparation was one of the most interesting factors affecting student struggle with lower incoming preparation leading to increased reporting of struggle and an inability to overcome that struggle. We recommend several equitable teaching strategies to help students with lower incoming preparation such as pre-course concept inventories.
3/15/2022: Paper Accepted
One of my main goals during my PhD was to lay a foundation for empirical study of Anolis nesting behavior. This topic has long been neglected in the field for a host of reasons, but my hope is that won't be the case going forward. In this paper we review what we know about nesting in Anoles and outline some promising methodology.
9/3/2021: Paper Accepted
My final dissertation chapter, Spatial and temporal variation in phenotypes and fitness in response to developmental thermal environments, was accepted in Functional Ecology. In this study, I set out to better understand the the effects of incubation temperature on brown anole development at a higher resolution and across life stages. My favorite take away from this paper is that the optimal incubation temperature for hatching success is different than optimal incubation temperature for survival to adulthood. The early view will be available soon, so watch this space!
10/26/2020: Paper Accepted
The Warner Lab has been working together to follow a population of brown anoles that took up residence in a local greenhouse in Auburn, AL. The resulting paper has just been accepted in Biological Invasions! (Spoiler alert: They all died)
5/13/2020: Margaret McNeal Arant Award
I'm the recipient of the Department of Biological Sciences Margaret McNeal Arant Memorial Award in Zoology. "This award recognizes a graduate student in Zoology who demonstrates outstanding academic achievement, leadership qualities, and strong moral character."
3/30/2020: Paper Accepted
Our paper, Communal egg laying behavior and the consequences of egg aggregation in the brown anole (Anolis sagrei), was accepted in Ethology. Some amazing Warner Lab undergrads led the writing on this paper where we examined communal nesting behavior and incubated eggs in aggregations to understand effects on embryo development.
3/25/2020: Animal Behavior Society Grant
I received a $1,300 Student Research Grant from the Animal Behavior Society to support my work on anole nesting behavior in relation to predator presence.