R. Given Harper, Ph.D.
George C. and Ella Beach Lewis Endowed Chair of Biology
Department of Biology
Illinois Wesleyan University
Bloomington, IL 61702-2900
Phone: (309) 556-3056
Fax: (309) 556-3864
Dr. R. Given Harper holding a young peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) banded at the Evanston, IL Public Library.
Membership in Professional Organizations
Courses Regularly Taught
Bio. 102 General Biology (Spring semester annually), Enst. 120 Ecological and Environmental
Problems (Spring semester annually), Bio. 217 Introduction to Ecology (Fall semester
annually), Bio./Enst. 218 Field Ornithology (alternate May Terms), Bio. 327 Advanced
Ecology (alternate Spring semesters), Bio./Enst. 350 Tropical Ecology: Costa Rica (alternate May Terms), Bio./Enst. 375 Conservation Biology and Restoration Ecology
(Fall semester, 2012), Bio. 499 Research (annually).
My research interests are centered on various aspects of avian ecology and wildlife
toxicology. Some of my recent toxicology projects included documenting heavy metal
contaminants in North American gray wolves (Canis lupus) and documenting organochlorine (e.g., DDT) pesticide contaminants in dickcissels
(Spiza americana). I am currently working on collaborative projects investigating the porosity of
eggshells of the brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater) in relation to incubation periods and brood hatching patterns. The eggs of the
brood parasitic cowbirds often hatch earlier than those of their hosts, which increases
the survival of their offspring at the expense of host offspring. We are investigating
eggshell porosity as a possible mechanism by which hatching asynchrony may occur.
In addition, we are investigating eggshell porosity and hatching asynchrony in house
wrens (Troglodytes aedon). Since coming to Illinois Wesleyan I have involved students in all of my research
projects and we have published 12 student-coauthored papers in refereed, scientific
View R. Given Harper's Scholarly Works
Papers Presented at Professional Meetings
Preparing to hike up to the Cacao field station in
Bio. 217 students seining fish.