Rebecca S. Burton
Rebecca S. Burton
Post-doctoral Fellow |
Current Position and Address:
Dept. of Biology
Milwaukee, WI 53234
Information below is no longer current
I'm primarily interested in behavioral and evolutionary ecology. Specifically, I
study ways in which animals cope with variable environments. I use immunological and
other physiological tools in my research.
Caching questions have been the focus of my graduate work. My doctoral research
was on cache management in the eastern woodrat (Neotoma floridana).
I examined winter fasting and adaptive weight loss. You can read the
if you're interested.
Taxonomically, I am a mammalogist with particular interest in rodents.
I'm presently working on evolutionary tradeoffs between hibernation
I am studying seasonal changes in body mass, metabolism, and immunocompetence of dusky-footed
woodrats (N. fuscipes) and California ground
squirrels (Spermophilus beecheyi).
My current study site is the
Sedgwick Reserve .
Sedgwick has chaparral, oak savannah, and serpentine habitats. I am also conducting
a survey of the
mammals of Sedgwick.
In my spare time, I'm part of a team
that is experimenting with management strategies
to encourage native plants found on serpentine refuges to reinvade the
alluvial soil, which is now covered with introduced grasses.
I have become more of a physiologist than
I ever intended. I recently completed an experiment to examine the effect of
immune challenge on hibernation in Turkish hamsters (Mesocricetus brandti).
It appears that the hamsters spend more time in torpor if they are exposed to a novel
antigen during the hibernation season. This mechanism may allow them to defend themselves
against pathogens, which can't proliferate at low temperatures.
I have studied in Washington, Montana, and Kansas. I am primarily
trained in behavior, ecology, and vertebrate biology, but I have had
additional work in immunology and education. For more detail, you
can check my
I have the privilege
of working as a volunteer with the Los Marineros
program. Students in this program learn about ecology in many ways, including designing and performing
their own experiments. I work with
Mrs. Hanson's 5th grade class
at Cleveland School.
I recently created an
exercise to help them design their first experiment. I am also a volunteer for the
"Science Online" program in which local students can ask scientists
questions via email.
At Kansas State, I enjoyed helping with prescribed fires and bison
Konza Prairie Research Natural Area. Now I'm enjoying the beaches and
mountains of the central California coast, where I can camp, bike, and boogie board.
I coach the Santa Barbara Sirens women's rugby team.
I like to ride and sail when the opportunity presents itself.
I am also a voracious reader.
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(Last update: June 18, 1998 by Becky Burton)