Faculty and Staff Profiles

MICHAEL HOWARD FERKIN
Professor, Biology
Email: mhferkin@memphis.edu
Office Location: 315 Ellington Hall

Work Experience

  • Research Assistant, Biology - Boston University - 1984-88
  • Instructor, Biology - Metropolitan College - 1984-88
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Psychology - University of California, Berkeley - 1988-91
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Psychology - Cornell University - 1991-93
  • Visiting Scholar, Psychology - Cornell University - 1993-98
  • Assistant Professor, Biology - King's College - 1993-95
  • Assistant Professor, Biology - The University of Memphis - 1995-200
  • Associate Professor, Biology - University of Memphis - 2000-2006
  • Professor, Biological Sciencs - University of Memphis - 2006-present
Honors/Awards
  • Sigma Xi Travel Award - Boston University - 1987
  • Early Career Research Award - The University of Memphis - 1996
  • Sigma Xi Faculty Research Award - The University of Memphis - 1998
  • College of Arts and Sciences Research Award - Univeristy of Memphis - 2009
  • PI Millionaire Club - University of Memphis - 2012

Teaching Experience

  • General Biology II Honors (U) - The University of Memphis
  • Behavioral Ecology (G) - The University of Memphis
  • Undergraduate Research (U) - The University of Memphis
  • Animal Cognition (G) - The University of Memphis
  • General Endocrinology (U, G) - The University of Memphis
  • Graduate Research (G) - The University of Memphis
  • Honors Forum (U) - The University of Memphis
  • Animal Communication (G) - University of Memphis
  • Anatomy & Physiology I and II (U) - University of Memphis
  • Animal Behavior/Ethology (U, G) - University of Memphis
  • Endocrine Methods (G) - University of Memphis
  • Leadership and Teaching Biology (G) - Univeristy of Memphis

Student Advising/Mentoring

  • BS - Allen Aven - 2012
  • BS - Kristen Stokes - 2005
  • BS - Nero Patel - 1999
  • MD - Robert Sealand - 2007
  • BS - Amy Combs - 2008
  • MS - Kim Bartos - 2000
  • MD - Evan Sorokin - 1998
  • Doctoral - Stuart Leonard - 2002
  • Doctoral - Brian Schilling - 2005
  • Undergraduate - A. Whatley - 2007
  • Undergraduate - A. Tobias - 2007
  • Masters - W. Starke - 2005
  • Doctoral - A. Pierce - 2006
  • Doctoral - M. Knight - 2006
  • Doctoral - J. delBarco-Trillo - 2007
  • Doctoral - L. Ladage - 2007
  • Doctoral - Ashlee Vaughn - 2011
  • Doctoral - Nicholas Hobbs - 2012
  • Doctoral - Christian Vlautin - 2013
  • MD - Jeff Kile - 1995
  • DO - Theresa Kelly - 1995
  • BS - Porshia Gibbs - 2012
  • MD - Evan Sorokin - 1995
  • BS - Tim Applebury - 2012
  • undergrad - Matt Heatheron - 2014
  • BS - Daniel Ferkin - 2013
  • BS - Kristen Kohli - 1997
  • MD - Tavares Williams - 2006
  • BS - Antedra Finger - 2009
  • MD - Jerry Gilles - 1999
  • DDS - Reza Nadeir - 1999
  • MD - Izu Iwueke - 2005
  • undergrad - Ben Ferkin - 2014
  • undergrad - Adam Ferkin - 2014
  • BS - Kyle Fong - 2013
  • High School - Mica Che - 2014
  • undergrad - Austin Hardaway - 2014
  • BS - Roschunda Cherry - 2012
  • MD - Dana Obzut - 1996
  • BS - Megan O'Connor - 1996
  • undergrad - Scott McMullin - 2014

Support

  • Funded - National Science Foundation - $96,093 - 1995-97
  • Funded - National Science Foundation - $5000 - 1996
  • Funded - Assisi Foundation - $48,500 - 1997
  • Funded - National Science Foundation - $8,331 - 1998-99
  • Funded - National Institutes of Health - $105,000 - 1999-03
  • Funded - National Institutes of Health - $640,000 - 2000-06
  • Funded - National Science Foundation - $400,000 - 2003-06
  • Funded - National Science Foundation - $263,000 - 2005-2010
  • Funded - National Institutes of Health - $210,000 - 2006-2011
  • Funded - National Science Foundation - $9,899 - 2009-2010
  • Funded - Faculty Research Grant - $4000 - 1996-97
  • Funded - Faculty Research Grant - $4000 - 1998-99
  • Funded - Faculty Research Grant - $4000 - 1999-00

Outreach

  • Animal Communication - Boy Scouts of America - 1995- -  
  • Animal Behavior - Memphis City Schools - 1995- -  
  • Science Fair Judge - Memphis City Schools - 1995 -  
  • Honor's Forum Judge - The University of Memphis - 1997- -  
  • Giant Panda Project - The Memphis Zoo - 1997-00 -  
  • Natural History - Shelby County Schools - 2004- -  
Service
  • University - Engaged Scholarship, Animal Care and Use, Van Vleet, Eminent Faculty - 1996-
  • University of Memphis - Grad Council - 2003-2011
  • University of Memphis - Grad Studies Committee - 1996-2011
  • University of Memphis - Strategic Planning Committee - 2011-present
  • Journal of Ethology - Advisory Board - 1999-present
  • Acta Ethologica - Editorial Board - 2005-present
  • Current Zoology - Editorial Board - 2005 present
  • Journal of Ethology - Editorial Board - 2000-present
Presentations
  • Ferkin, M. H. & Seamon, 1986. Odor communication in nonbreeding meadow voles. Amer. Soc. Mammal. Mtg.
  • Ferkin, M. H. 1987. Parental care and kin recognition in meadow voles. Anim. Behav. Soc. Mtg.
  • Ferkin, M. H. & Seamon, 1987 - Seasonal differences in odor communication in meadow voles. Amer. Soc. Mammal. Mtg.
  • Ferkin, M. H., Pugh, S. R. & Tamarin, R. H. 1988. Correlates of Reproductive Success in meadow voles. Amer. Soc. Mammal. Mtg.
  • Ferkin, M. H. 1989. Social behavior in meadow voles. Anim. Behav. Soc. Mtg.
  • Ferkin, M. H. 1990. Seasonality in voles. Anim. Behav. Soc. Mtg.
  • Ferkin, M. H. & Johnston, R. E. 1992. Sources of sex-specific scent in meadow voles. Anim. Behav. Soc. Mtg.
  • Ferkin, M. H. & Johnston, R. E. 1993. Gonadal hormone control of sex-specific scents in meadow voles. Conf. Reproductive Behav. Soc.
  • Ferkin, M. H. & Johnston, R. E. 1993. Attractiveness of scent varies with testosterone concentration in male meadow voles. Amer. Chemoreception Soc. Mtg.
  • Ferkin, M. H. & Johnston, R. E. 1994. Co-evolution of scents and responses to them in voles. Conf. Reproductive      Behav. Soc.
  • Ferkin, M. H. & Johnston, R. E. 1994. Persistence of attractiveness of odors in meadow voles. Anim. Behav. Soc. Mtg.
  • Ferkin, M. H. & Johnston, R. E. 1994. Sources of sex-specific scent vary by season in meadow voles. Amer. Soc. Mammal. Mtg.
  • Ferkin, M. H. 1994. Gonadal hormones mediate odor communication in voles. Conf. Reproductive Behav. Soc.
  • Johnston, R. & Ferkin, M. H. 1995. Scent-marking behavior in hamsters and voles. European Ethological Congress, Mtg.
  • Ferkin, M. H. & Johnston, R. E. 1995. Self-grooming as a sexually dimorphic communicative behavior in voles. Anim. Behav. Soc. Mtg.
  • Ferkin, M. H. & Johnston, R. E. 1996. Protein content of the diet affects the attractiveness of scent in meadow voles. Anim. Behav. Soc. Mtg.
  • Johnston, R. E. & Ferkin, M. H. 1996. Scent countermarking in male meadow voles. Anim. Behav. Soc. Mtg.
  • Ferkin, M. H. 1997. Scent communication in voles: what a vole nose. Microtine Rodent Group Tribute to Dr. Lowell Getz.
  • Ferkin, M. H. & Johnston, R. E. 1997. Perception of over-marks in voles. Anim. Behav. Soc. Mtg.
  • Ferkin, M. H. & Johnston, R. E. 1997. Scent-marking behavior in voles. Chem. Signals in Vertebrates, Mtg.
  • Woodward, R. L., Schmick, M. K. & Ferkin, M. H. 1997. Scent counter-marking in prairie voles. Chem. Signals in Vertebrates, Mtg.
  • Woodward, R. L. & Ferkin, M. H. 1997. Scent de-valuation hypothesis. Anim. Behav. Soc. Mtg. Schmick, M. K. &, Woodward, R. L. & Ferkin, M. H. 1997. Selective memory for odors in prairie voles. Chem. Signals in Vertebrates, Mtg.
  • Leonard, S. T. & Ferkin, M. H. 1997. Prolactin affects odor preferences in meadow voles. Chem.Signals in Vertebrates, Mtg.
  • Leonard, S. T. & Ferkin, M. H. 1997. Prolactin affects odor preferences of long-photoperiod male meadow voles Anim. Behav. Soc. Mtg. 
  • Woodward, R. L. & Ferkin, M. H. 1998. Scent over-marking by same-sex prairie voles, mate guarding hypothesis. Anim. Behav. Soc. Mtg.
  • Leonard, S. T. and Ferkin, M. H. 1998. Prolactin and testosterone underlie seasonal differences in odor preferences of male meadow voles. Anim. Behav. Soc. Mtg.
  • Leonard, S. T. and Ferkin, M. H. 1998. Prolactin and testosterone underlie seasonal differences in odor preferences of male meadow voles. Soc. Behavioral Neuroendocrinol. Mtg.
  • Ferkin, M. H. 1998. Scent over-marking and competition between same-sex meadow voles. Anim. Behav. Soc. Mtg.
  • Leonard, S. T. and Ferkin, M. H. 1999. Odor donor quality and over-marking in meadow voles. Soc. Behavioral Neuroendocrinol. Mtg.
  • Lee, D. and Ferkin, M. H. 1999. Female vole reproductive status affects scent over-marking in voles. Anim. Behav. Soc. Mtg.
  • Ferkin, M. H. 1999. Scent over-marking in two different species of voles. Soc. Behavioral Neuroendocrinol. Mtg.
  • Ferkin, M. H. 2000.  An association exists between memory for the top-scent donor of an over-mark and mating system in voles.  Chemical Signals in Vertebrates 9, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland, 25-30 July.
  • Ferkin, M. H. 2000.  Species differences in the response to over-marks may be associated with mating system in two     species of voles. Animal Behavior Meetings, Morehouse College,  Atlanta, Georgia, 5-9 August.
  • Heath, L. A. & Ferkin, M. H. 2000. Age-related effects on scent-marking in meadow voles. Animal Behavior Meetings, Morehouse College,  Atlanta, Georgia, 5-9 August.
  • Lee, D. & Ferkin, M. H. 2000.  Source of scent marks varies with reproductive state in meadow voles.  Animal Behavior Meetings, Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia, 5-9 August.
  • Leonard, S.T. & Ferkin, M. H. 2000. Meadow voles respond preferentially to the hormonal condition of a scent donor rather than its position in an over-mark. Animal Behavior Meetings,  Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia, 5-9 August.
  • Woodward, R. L. Jr., Bartos, K., & Ferkin, M. H. 2000.  Responses of meadow voles and prairie voles to over-marks from opposite- and same-sex conspecifics. Animal Behavior Meetings, Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia, 5-9 August.
  •  Ferkin, M. H. 2001. High throughput screens for the social behavior domain. Tennessee Mouse Mutageneis Consortia, Franklin TN.
  • Ferkin, M. H. 2001.  Species differences in self-grooming in meadow voles and prairie voles. Animal Behavior Meetings, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, July
  • Leonard, S.T. & Ferkin, M. H. 2001. Seasonal differences in self-grooming behavior in meadow voles: effects of short          photoperiod. Animal Behavior Meetings, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, July
  • Lee, D.& Ferkin, M. H. 2001.  Scent over-marking in voles does not vary with reproductive state in meadow voles. Animal Behavior Meetings, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, July
  • Heath, L. A. & Ferkin, M. H. 2001. Age-related effects on self-grooming in meadow voles. Animal Behavior Meetings, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, July.
  • Ferkin, M. H. 2002. Screens for identifying pheno-deviants. Tennessee Mouse Mutageneis Consortia, Nashville, TN Pierce, A. A. & Ferkin, M. H. 2002. Condition dependent odor signals do not influence copulatory behavior in meadow voles.  Animal Behavior Society Meetings, Indiana University, July.
  • Heath, L. A., Paz-y-Mino C. G. & Ferkin, M. H. 2002. Self-grooming is affected by age in meadow voles. Animal Behavior Meetings, Indiana University, July
  • Ferkin, M. H and S. T. Leonard. 2002.  Scent marking and over-marking in two species of voles: a test of three   hypotheses. Animal Behavior Meetings, Indiana University, July.
  • Ferkin, M. H. 2003. Identifying pheno-deviants in the social behavior domain. Tennessee Mouse Mutageneis Consortia, Nashville, TN
  • Pierce, A. A., Ferkin, M. H. & Patel, N. P. 2003. Protein content of the diet does not influence proceptive or receptive behavior in female meadow voles, Microtus pennsylvanicus.  Animal Behavior Meetings, Boise State University, Boise, ID July
  • Ferkin, M. H. 2003. Reproductive status affects scent marking in voles. Chem. Signals Vertebrates 10, Oregon State University, OR.
  • Pierce, A. A., Ferkin, M. H. & Williams, T. K. 2004.  Food-deprivation-induced changes in sexual behavior of meadow voles, Microtus pennsylvanicus., Association of the Society of Southeastern Biologist, University of Memphis
  • Ferkin, M. H. 2004.  Pheno-deviants and mutations found in the social behavior domain. Tennessee Mouse Mutageneis Consortia, Cookeville TN
  • Ferkin, M. H. 2004.  Measuring social and sexual behavior in transgenic mice. Tennessee Mouse Mutageneis Consortia, Memphis, TN
  • Pierce, A. A., Ferkin, M. H. & Williams, T. K. 2004. Odor attractivity, odor preference, and sexual receptivity in food-deprived female meadow voles. 19th Zoological Congress in China, Beijing, China.
  • Ferkin, M. H. 2004. Self-grooming and scent marking in voles. Association of the Society of Southeastern Biologist, University of Memphis- Organizer of the  Symposia on Social Behavior.
  • Ferkin, M. H. 2004. Scent marking in voles. 19th Zoological Congress in China, Beijing, China- Organizer of the Symposia on Chemical Communication
  • delBarco-Trillo, J. & Ferkin, M. H. 2004.  Male mammals respond to a risk of sperm competition conveyed by odours of conspecific males. 19th Zoological Congress in China, Beijing, China
  • Cherry, R. P. & Ferkin, M. H. 2005. Sperm competition in voles. Honor’s Forum. The University of Memphis.
  • Iwueke, I. & Ferkin, M. H. 2005. Food deprivation affects attractivity in food-deprived voles. Honor’s Forum. The University of Memphis.
  • Iwueke, I. & Ferkin, M. H. 2005. Food deprivation affects reproduction in food-deprived voles. National Conference on Undergraduate Research. New Orleans, LA.
  • Combs, A. & Ferkin, M. H. 2005. Episodic-like memory in voles. Honor’s Forum. The University of Memphis.
  • LaDage, L & Ferkin, M. H. 2005. Male leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius) can discriminate between two familiar females. Animal Behavior Society Meetings, Snowbird UT
  • Pierce, A. A., Iwueke, I. & Ferkin, M. H. 2005. Estradiol titers, food deprivation and sexual behavior in meadow voles. Animal Behavior Society Meetings, Snowbird UT
  • del-Barco-Trillo, J. & Ferkin, M. H. 2005.  Male mammals respond to a risk of sperm competition: tests of multiple hypotheses. Animal Behavior Society Meetings, Snowbird UT
  • Ferkin, M. H, Pierce, A. A., Sealand, R. O. & delBarco-Trillo, J. 2005. Meadow voles, Microtus pennsylvanicus, can distinguish more over-marks from fewer over-marks. Animal Behavior Society Meetings, Snowbird UT.
  • Cherry, R. P. & Ferkin, M. H. 2005. Sperm competition in voles. WIP’s Forum. The University of Memphis.
  • Iwueke, I. & Ferkin, M. H. 2005. Estradiol titers affects reproductive behaviors in food-deprived voles. WIP’s Forum. The University of Memphis.
  • Iwueke, I. & Ferkin, M. H. 2006. Estradiol affects sexual behaviors in food-deprived voles. Honor’s Forum. The University of Memphis.
  • Combs, A. & Ferkin, M. H. 2006. Episodic-like memory in voles. Honor’s Forum. The University of Memphis
  • Combs, A. & Ferkin, M. H. 2006. Episodic-like memory in voles. NCUR Meetings, Asheville, NC
  • Combs, A. & Ferkin, M. H. 2006. Episodic-like memory in voles. Ecological Society Association Meeting, Memphis.
  • Ferkin, M. H. 2006. Voles have the capacity of for episodic-like memory. Chemical Signals in Vertebrates XI, Chester, England.
  • Hobbs, N & Ferkin, M. H. 2007.  Protein content of the diet affects sexual behaviors in voles. Honor’s Forum. The University of Memphis.
  • Vaughn, A. & Ferkin, M. H. 2007. Sperm competition in voles. Honor’s Forum. The University of Memphis
  • LaDage, L & Ferkin, M. H. 2007. Multiple male mating in leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius). Animal Behavior Society Meetings, University of Vermont.
  • Hobbs, N & Ferkin, M. H. 2008.  Protein content of the diet affects self-grooming in voles. American Society of Mammalogists Meeting, Soth Dakota  State Univerity.
  • Vaughn, A. & Ferkin, M. H. 2008. Sperm competition in voles. Animal Behavior Society Meetings, Snowbird UT.
  • Hobbs, N & Ferkin, M. H. 2009.  Protein content of the diet affects scent marking behaviors in voles. Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, Boston. MA
  • Hobbs, N & Ferkin, M. H. 2010.  Sexual behaviors in voles are affected by diet. Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, Boston. MA
  • Hobbs, N & Ferkin, M. H. 2010.  Dietary effects on odor cues. Animal Behavior Society Meetings, College of William and Mary, VA.
  • Vaughn, A. & Ferkin, M. H. 2010. Dietary constraints on sperm allocation in male voles. Animal Behavior Society Meetings, College of William and Mary, VA.
  • Ferkin, M. H. 2010. Over-marking and cognition in voles. Animal Behavior Society Meetings, College of William and Mary, VA.
  • Vlautin, C. T. & Ferkin, M. H. 2010. Affects of short daylengths on the responses of voles to over-marksAnimal Behavior Society Meetings, College of William and Mary, VA.
  • Sabau, R. M. & Ferkin, M. H. 2010. Food restriction of dams affects the maternal behavior of meadow voles. Animal Behavior Society Meetings, College of William and Mary, VA.
  • Vlautin, C. T. & Ferkin, M. H. 2011. Path choice and the affect of predation and competition in male and female meadow voles. Animal Behavior Society Meeting, Bloomington, Indiana.
  • Vaughn, A. A. & Ferkin M. H. 2011. Sexual behavior of voles. Animal Behavior Society Meetings
  • Vlautin C. T. & Ferkin, M. H. 2011. Over-marking by short-day voles.  Animal Behavior Society Meetings
  • Hobbs, N. J. & Ferkin, M. H. 2011. Scent marking and over-marking in food-challenged voles. Animal Behavior Society Meetings.
  • Hobbs, N. J. & Ferkin, M. H. 2011. Sexual and social behavior of voles under food stress. Society of Comparative and Integrative Biology meetings.
  • Vlautin C. T. & Ferkin, M. H. 2012. Path choice by voles.  Animal Behavior Society Meetings
  • Vlautin C. T. & Ferkin, M. H. 2012. Path choice by voles.  Ecological Society Meetings
  • Hobbs, N. J. & Ferkin, M. H. 2012. Nutritional status affects behavior of voles. Society of Comparative and Integrative Biology meetings.
  • Hobbs, N. J. & Ferkin, M. H. 2013. Diet affects scent marking and sexual behavior of voles. Society of Comparative and Integrative Biology meetings.
  • 1988, University of California, Berkeley - Seasonal behavior in voles.
  • 1990, University of New Hampshire - Photoperiod and seasonality in voles.        
  • 1991, North Carolina State University - Social behavior in voles.
  • 1991, Tel Aviv University - Photoperiodism in microtine rodents.
  • 1991, Conference on Reproductive Behavior - Photoperiodically-induced changes in gonadal hormones affect odor communication in meadow voles. Conference on Reproductive Behavior, Monterey, CA.
  • 1992, Central Connecticut State University - Seasonality in voles.
  • 1993, Boston University - Odor communication in voles.
  • 1994, University of Massachusetts, Amherst - Behavior and olfaction in voles.
  • 1994, Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA - Social behavior and reproduction.
  • 1995, University of Utah - Psychobiology of microtine behavior.
  • 1995, University of Idaho - Olfaction and social behavior in voles.
  • 1995, University of Memphis, Dept. Psychology - Seasonal breeding in voles.
  • 1997, Breckenridge, CO, Steroid Hormone Conference and Workshop - Olfaction and gonadal hormones in voles.
  • 1997, Cornell University, Chemical Signals in Vertebrates - Scent marking behavior in voles.
  • 1997, University of Maryland, Tribute to Lowell Getz - Odor communication in voles.
  • 1999, University of Memphis, Department of Biology - Over-marking in voles.
  • 2002, Beijing University – did not attend
  • 2002, University of Barcelona- did not attend
  • 2004, Association of the Society of Southeastern Biologist, University of Memphis- Organizer of the Symposium on Social Behavior
  • 2004, 19th Zoological Congress in China, Beijing, China- Organizer of the Symposium on Olfactory Communication
  • 2005,  I was an invited speaker at the Chemical Signals in Vertebrates conference in Chester, England.
  • 2007,   I was an invited speaker at the International Zoological Conference in Bahia, Brazil
  • 2008,  I was an invited speaker in the Animal Cognition- Episodic Memory in Animals Symposia at the American Psychological Association meeting at Boston, MA.
  • 2009,  I was an invited speaker at the Southeast Psychological Association meeting at New Orleans, LA.
  • 2009,  I was an invited speaker at the Cognitive Science Symposia, Fed Ex Institute of Technology,  at Memphis, TN.
  • 2009,  I was an invited speaker at Hendrix College, Conway AR.
  • 2010,  Keynote Speaker,  Behavior and Cognition in vole. Central European Meeting on Genes, Gene Expression, and Behaviour, Hruba Skála, Czech Republic
  • 2011,  I was an invited speaker at the Cognitive Science Symposia, Fed Ex Institute of Technology, at Memphis, TN.
  • 2012,  I was an invited speaker in the Animal Cognition- Research on Episodic Memory in Animals Symposia at the American Psychological Association meeting at Orlando, FL.

Appendix A - Teaching Experience

  • BIOL 7/8019 - Sp Topic Anim Behav
  • BIOL 7/8719 - Behavioral Ecology
  • BIOL 4000 - Undergrad Research
  • BIOL 7/8092 - Grad Research
  • BIOL 9000 - Doct Dissert
  • BIOL 7/8731 - Animal Communication
  • BIOL 4000 - Undergrad Research
  • BIOL 7/8092 - Grad Research
  • BIOL 9000 - Doct Dissert
  • BIOL 4/6630 - General Endocrinology
  • BIOL 7/8091 - Hormones and Behavior
  • BIOL 4/6604 - Animal Behavior
  • BIOL 7/8340 - Behavioral Ecology
  • BIOL 4000 - Undergrad Research
  • BIOL 4001 - Undergrad Research II
  • BIOL 7/8092 - Grad Research
  • BIOL 9000 - Doct Dissert
  • BIOL 4000 - Undergrad Research
  • BIOL 7/8092 - Grad Research
  • BIOL 9000 - Doct Dissert
  • BIOL 4/6630 - General Endocrinology
  • BIOL 7/8345 - Animal Communication
  • BIOL 7/8019 - Sp Topics Anim Behav
  • BIOL 4/6604 - Animal Behavior
  • BIOL 4000 - Undergrad Research
  • BIOL 4001 - Undergrad Research II
  • BIOL 7/8092 - Grad Research
  • BIOL 9000 - Doct Dissert
  • BIOL 4000 - Undergrad Research
  • BIOL 7/8092 - Grad Research
  • BIOL 9000 - Doct Dissert
  • BIOL 4/6630 - General Endocrinology
  • BIOL 7/8340 - Behavioral Ecology
  • BIOL4001 - Undergrad Research II
Appendix B - Student Advising/Mentoring
  • Additional Information on Advising/Mentoring
  •  I am committed to high quality science training. I feel strongly that teaching and research are not dichotomous. One of my main goals as a researcher and teacher is to stimulate students' thinking about the complexity and elegance of science, particularly the study of animal behavior. Our doctoral program in the Biology Department at The University of Memphis is growing, and it is gratifying to be a part of that development. Training students for research degrees is very satisfying for me. I have trained several Master’s students and have graduated several doctoral students. I currently have 2 students working as Ph.D. students in my lab.  All of my doctoral students regularly present at professional meetings. As graduate students, Pierce and delBarco-Trillo were invited speakers at the 19th Zoological Congress in Beijing, China in August 2004. Nearly, all of my PhD students have gone on to postdoc positions. Dr. Vlautin is a research scientist at the large felid facility in Arkansas. Dr. Hobbs is a postdoc fellow and University of Michigan. After completing their postdocs, my former doctoral students took on faculty positions. Dr. Leonard is an assistant professor at William Carey University. Dr. LaDage is an assistant professor at Penn State University at Altoona. Dr. Pierce is lab manager at the Liver Laboratory at University of California, San Francisco. Dr. delBarco-Trillo is an assistant professor at the Natural History and Science Museum at Madrid, Spain. Dr. Brian Schilling, is an assistant professor in the HMSE Department at The University of Memphis.
Appendix C - Research/Scholarship/Creative Activities
  • Research Interests of Dr. Michael H. Ferkin
  •  
  •                My research involves the study of animal behavior. My students and I study the social and sexual behavior of animals from four different levels of analysis, mechanism, development, function, and evolutionary history. We have addressed questions regarding the role of olfactory communication in the expression of social and sexual behavior in small mammals, such as voles. We have made many important discoveries that have increased our understanding of the physiology, ontogeny, cognitive functioning, adaptive significance, and evolution and function of the behaviors that support social and sexual interactions in terrestrial mammals.  My laboratory has been supported primarily through competitive grants from the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health. To date, I have been awarded nearly $2 million dollars from these granting agencies. I currently receive support from a NIH grant and a NSF grant.  In this narrative, I provide a summary of my research accomplishments during my career thus far, and outline the future directions of my research program.
  •  
  • During my professional career, I have always been interested in how animals behave.  For the past 15 years at The University of Memphis, my research has determined aspects of how animals communicate with one another, and how this affects their subsequent social and sexual interactions.  My questions about animal behavior have addressed both proximate and ultimate levels of analysis.  The proximate questions have centered on physiological and cognitive mechanisms and developmental factors that contribute to a given animal’s behavior.  The ultimate questions have addressed the functional significance and the evolution of behavior.
  •  
  •  This approach has served me well.  To date, I have published over 90 peer-reviewed papers, in top-tier journals such as Nature, Animal Behaviour, Hormones and Behavior, Behaviour, Physiology and Behavior, Ethology, Journal of Comparative Psychology, Animal Cognition, and Behavioral Ecology. My recent paper in Nature received much recognition in the scientific and public arena; several articles were published in journals and newspapers discussing its findings.  Additionally, an article in the June 2005 issue of Animal Behaviour listed The University of Memphis as one of the top four universities in North America in publishing papers in core journals of Animal Behavior.  I am pleased to report that my lab and I contributed the vast majority of the papers from the University of Memphis taken into account in that review. Thus, my research program makes a strong contribution to the research environment of The University of Memphis.
  • I have also been very active professionally since joining the faculty at The University of Memphis in 1995.  I regularly attend meetings of the Animal Behavior Society and Chemical Signals in Vertebrates Group. I have been invited to make presentations at several international meetings and at universities and colleges. I was an organizer and invited keynote speaker at the 19th Zoological Congress in Beijing, China in August 2004. In 2005, I was an invited speaker at the Chemical Signals in Vertebrates conference in Chester, England. I was also an invited speaker at the International Zoological Conference in Bahia, Brazil, but could not attend.  In 2008, I was an invited speaker in the Animal Cognition- Episodic Memory in Animals Symposia at the American Psychological Association meeting at Boston, MA. In addition, I am a regular reviewer for NSF grant proposals and numerous journals.  I am currently on the editorial board for three journals, Integrative and Comparative Zoology, Zoological Research, and the Journal of Ethology. Lastly, I have spread “the Gospel of Animal Behavior” to many civic groups and students at elementary, middle, and high schools.
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  • I am committed to high quality science training. I feel strongly that teaching and research are not dichotomous. One of my main goals as a researcher and teacher is to stimulate students' thinking about the complexity and elegance of science, particularly the study of animal behavior. Our doctoral program in the Biology Department at The University of Memphis is growing, and it is gratifying to be a part of that development. Training students for research degrees is very satisfying for me. I have trained several Master’s students and have graduated six doctoral students.  One of my doctoral students, Dr. Brian Schilling, is an assistant professor in the HMSE Department at The University of Memphis. Three of my other doctoral students, Drs. Javier delBarco-Trillo, Andrew Pierce and Stuart Leonard, are currently National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellows at Duke University, University of California, San Francisco, and Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, respectively.  Lara LaDage, another of my doctoral students, is a NSF postdoctoral fellow at the University of Nevada, Reno. I currently have 4 students working as Ph.D. students in my lab.  All of my doctoral students regularly present at professional meetings. As graduate students, Pierce and delBarco-Trillo were invited speakers at the 19th Zoological Congress in Beijing, China in August 2004.  
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  • In closing, my research program has provided me with much joy and a share of success.  I am still excited about “doing science” and “getting people excited about science.” I believe that my approach to research has helped to bring national and international recognition to The University of Memphis.  I am especially pleased with the opportunity to enhance the education and training of postdoctoral students, graduate students, and undergraduate students. The fellows and students that have performed research under my supervision have gained valuable hands-on experiences that have strengthened their transferable skills in critical thinking and writing while being directly involved in federally funded research projects. They have worked on interdisciplinary projects, learning the importance of integrating diverse areas of study and thought. I believe this has led my students and I to make advances in the field of animal behavior.
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  • In the future, I will continue my research on the role of olfaction in communication, social behavior, and sexual behavior of animals specifically by looking at the effects of age, diet and hormonal state on the interactions among conspecifics. In addition, I will be continuing to develop studies that link cognitive processing, such as numerousness and decision making with the risk and intensity of sperm competition and sperm investment. I will do so, by testing hypotheses that surround sperm competition, and whose outcomes may involve cognitive processing such as episodic memory, individual recognition, and judgments of relative numerousness.   
Appendix D - Support
  • My integrative and interdisciplinary approach to research has also allowed me to receive nearly continuous funding from 1985 to the present from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).  During my 18 years at The University of Memphis, I have been funded continuously by these federal agencies. Currently, I am the principal investigator on two research grants and co-principal investigator on an undergraduate education grant.  My research grant from the NSF (2005-2010) examines sperm competition and olfactory communication in small mammals. My research grant from the NIH, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (2006-2011), examines the effects of food availability on socio-sexual behaviors in small mammals.  A recently completed education grant from the NSF (2004-2009) was directed at increasing minority participation in Environmental Biology. To date, I have been awarded nearly $2 million dollars from NIH and NSF grants to support my research program at The University of Memphis. I am submitting a grant proposal to the NSF to investigate the cognitive processes associated with an individual’s response to sperm competition using a small mammal as the model. I am also submitting a proposal to the NIH that examines the role of maternal diet on development of cognitive processes underlying social and sexual behavior of offspring.
Appendix E - Outreach
  • Presented a discussion on animals and nature to cub scouts, troop 359.
  • Consulted with general public on numerous occasions on the behavior of domestic and wild animals.
  • Consulted with the general public on several occasions on the control of rodent pests.
  • Consulted with Larry Pickens at Lictherman Nature Center on establishing a program about monitoring small mammals.
  • Presented a talk about animal behavior to first graders at the Oak Forest Elementary School, Memphis.
  • Presented a talk about bats to first and second grade CLUE Class graders at the Oak Forest Elementary School, Memphis.
  • Presented a talk about animal communication to fifth and sixth graders at the Idlewild Elementary School, Memphis.
  • Presented a talk about animal communication to first and fourth graders at Oak Forest Elementary School, Memphis.
  • Consulted with general public on numerous occasions on the behavior of domestic and wild animals.
  • Consulted with the general public on several occasions on the control of rodent pests.
  • Collaborating with Dr. Brady, curator of mammals at the Memphis Zoo on understanding the behavioral endocrinology of elephants in exhibits.
  • Presented a talk about rodents to first and second grade CLUE Class graders at the Oak Forest Elementary School, Memphis.
  • Consulted with general public on numerous occasions on the behavior of domestic and wild animals.
  • Presented a talk about animal communication to fifth and sixth grade CLUE Class at Oak Forest Elementary School, Memphis.
  • Judge at Science Fair at the Oak Forest Elementary School, Memphis.
  • Presented a talk about animal communication to first and fourth graders at Oak Forest Elementary School, Memphis
  • Consulted with general public on numerous occasions on the behavior of domestic and wild animals.
  • Judge at Science Fair at the Oak Forest Elementary School, Memphis.
  • Judge at Science Fair at the Oak Forest Elementary School, Memphis.
  • Consulted with general public on numerous occasions on the behavior of domestic and wild animals.
  • INTERVIEWS ABOUT MY RESEARCH - Also cross-listed in Appendix C, Research
  • I was phone-interviewed by the weekly newsmagazine of science, Science News.- An interview and a discussion of my research on self-grooming as a communicative behavior in voles appeared in the April 20, 1996 issue. Vol. 149, No. 16. The article appears on page 247 of this issue.
  • I was phone interviewed by the newsmagazine of the National Wildlife Foundation, International Wildlife. The interview and a discussion of my research on self-grooming and communication in voles appears in the spring 1998 issue.
  • I was phone interviewed by the newsmagazine, New Scientist. The interview and a discussion of my research on the effects of protein in the diet and sexual attractivity of microtine rodents appears in the 5 April 1997 issue.
  • I was phone interviewed by the newsmagazine, The Memphis Flyer. The interview and a discussion about mammalian pests were published in a January or February edition.
  • Many articles in the popular press in US, Europe, and Asia on the delBarco-Trillo and Ferkin (2004) Nature paper on sperm competition