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R. Given Harper

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
Dr. R. Given Harper holding a young peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) banded at the Evanston, IL Public Library.

Membership in Professional Organizations

Association of Field Ornithologists National Center for Science Education
American Association of University Professors Phi Kappa Phi
Beta Beta Beta (National Biology Honor Society) Raptor Research Foundation

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).


Research Interests

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 journals.

View R. Given Harper's Scholarly Works

Papers Presented at Professional Meetings


Preparing to hike up to the Cacao field station in
Costa Rica.

Bio. 217 students seining fish.