George C. and Ella Beach Lewis Endowed Chair of Biology
Ph.D., Illinois State University; M.S., Western Illinois University; B.S., Transylvania University
R. Given Harper is Professor of Biology and currently serves as the Co-Director of Environmental Studies. He is the adviser for the Ecology Concentration within the ES major and teaches a number of environmental science courses, including Introductory Ecology, Experimental Ecology, Ecology and Environmental Problems, Conservation Biology and Restoration Ecology, and Tropical Ecology (May Term travel course to Costa Rica). His research projects focus on quantifying organochlorine (OC) pesticide levels in birds and other wildlife and involve students and other faculty members. Three current such projects include documenting OC contamination in resident North American birds, dickcissel (a small, sparrow-like bird) eggs and nestlings, and wolves, white-tailed deer and vegetation collected in Minnesota. In addition, he collaborates with U.S. and Canadian Fish and Wildlife Service on a project documenting OC contamination in North American gray wolves, Mexican gray wolves and red wolves. Dr. Harper is also conducting research to determine strontium-90 levels in white-tailed deer in relation to nuclear power plants in Illinois and Minnesota. On campus, he has served as co-chairperson of the University's GREENetwork, which works to improve campus sustainability.