students reading in hallway

Faculty and Staff


Aris Efting is a freshwater aquatic ecologist specializing in the ecology of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). Her research includes developing predictive models for algae blooms and the study of the environmental factors that contribute to toxin production in these algae. Toxic algae blooms have been exacerbated by human activities worldwide, resulting in animal and human illness and death. Dr. Efting also works on developing water quality standards for lakes in the U.S. She is currently refining methodologies, developed with her colleagues at the University of Nebraska, to estimate historic algae toxin production using lake sediment cores. Understanding historic lake ecology enables scientists to identify the condition of a lake in the absence of human impact and establish water quality standards to protect these natural resources.
Office: Reem-Kayden Center 214
Phone: 845-752-2338
Philip Johns studies the evolution and genetics of arthropod social behavior. He is especially interested in the genetic architecture of traits involved in mate competition. He has worked on desert spiders, striped bark scorpions, dampwood termites, Chinese mantids, and stalk-eyed flies. He used genetic markers to determine which termites inherit nests when two colonies fight and the kings and queens are killed, and what those patterns imply about the evolution of sterile castes in termites. He currently studies stalk-eyed flies, whose eyes sit at the ends of extremely long stalks, longer than their bodies in some species. Some male stalk eyed flies have X linked sex ratio genes that cause them to sire all female broods. Even more interesting is that sex ratio is tightly linked to a variety of genes, and Philip mapped the genes for eye stalk and sperm length on the X chromosome and nearly perfectly linked to the sex ratio locus.
Office: Reem-Kayden Center 210
Phone: (845) 752-2337
Brooke Jude is a microbiologist who studies isolates of microorganisms found in various (local and foreign) aquatic sources. She is currently investigating the mechanisms that aquatic bacteria use to bind to surfaces in the environment. She uses classic microbiological techniques for isolation and culture of the strains, and identifies organisms via modern sequence analysis. Investigations within the lab also include molecular cloning to create deletion strains, biofilm assays, protein expression, tissue culture binding assays and investigation into bacterial behavior within microbial communities.
Felicia Keesing is a community ecologist who studies the consequences of interactions among species. Since 1995, she has studied how African savannas function when the large, charismatic animals -- like elephants, buffaloes, zebras, and giraffes -- disappear. She also studies how interactions among species influence the probability that humans will be exposed to infectious diseases. Keesing and her biology department colleague, Mike Tibbetts, currently have two grants from the National Science Foundation to study emerging tick-borne diseases of humans called anaplasmosis and babesiosis. Keesing also studies Lyme disease, another tick-borne disease. She is particularly interested in how species diversity affects disease transmission.
Office: Reem-Kayden Center 216
Phone: 845-752-2334
Bill Maple is a field biologist with broad interests in community ecology and with specific affection for herptiles, arthropods, and plants. His current research examines endangered habitats (heathland and sandplain grassland) and endangered species (American burying beetle) on Nantucket Island.
Office: Reem-Kayden Center 213
Phone: (845) 752-2332
Bruce Robertson is a conservation ecologist. His research focuses on questions that address important conservation issues, but that also provide fundamental insights into ecological theory. Broadly speaking, he investigates the direct and indirect impacts of human activities on biodiversity, species persistence and species interactions with special emphasis on how rapidly changing environments may disrupt evolved relationships and trigger maladaptation. He is especially interested in cases in which novel environments trigger animals to actually prefer to make inappropriate, detrimental and often dangerous decisions. These scenarios are known as evolutionary traps. Traps are an emerging conservation problem that can contribute population declines in species of concern. He collaborates extensively on a variety of projects including a study of the impact of new forms of pollution (polarized light pollution) on aquatic insects, and research investigating how to grow next generation bioenergy crops that facilitate the conservation of biodiversity. Trained as an ornithologist, Bruce increasingly uses arthropods, mammals and plants as study organisms.
Office: Reem-Kayden Center 212
Phone: 845-752-2309
Mike Tibbetts is a molecular biologist who uses zebrafish as a model to investigate questions related to hearing. The lateral line system of zebrafish is comprised of structures, called neuromasts, that contain specialized cells, called hair cells, that are remarkably similar to the hair cells in our inner ear, which are responsible for converting sound waves into electrical signals that are sent to the brain. One line of investigation in the lab is based on the fact that hair cells must maintain a precise orientation in order to send sensical information about the direction of water flow across the body to the zebrafish brain. However, hair cells also need to change positions within neuromasts in order to fill in where old hair cells have died and to accommodate the formation of new ones. A second avenue of research in Dr. Tibbetts' lab, stems from evidence from a specific mutant zebrafish and from chemical interference studies which suggest that the mechanism by which lateral line hair cells regenerate (a property that is, unfortunately, not shared by our inner ear hair cells) is distinct from the mechanism by which they first form in development. Using genetic and pharmacological interventions, Dr Tibbetts' lab is asking which proteins and which cellular processes are important for each of these phenomena.


Maureen O'Callaghan-Scholl is involved with the day-to-day happenings in the biology and chemistry laboratories. Her work includes preparing and setting up solutions, media, and equipment for the intro laboratory courses, maintaining equipment, scheduling outside services, ordering supplies, managing budgets and helping faculty and students with research project needs in addition to managing laboratory safety issues.
Dwane joined the biology staff at Bard in the summer of 2007. Although his major responsibilities revolve around preparation for the laboratory instruction portion of our biology classes, he also maintains all of the model organisms housed in the Reem-Kayden Center. He works closely with students and their professors to facilitate research needs, especially animal husbandry and technical guidance with laboratory and field equipment. He researched mycorrhizal fungi while in graduate school and enjoys leading nature walks. Dwane is a watchmaker during his copious spare time.