|Craig S. Hood
Professor of Biological Sciences,
Loyola University New Orleans
Trekking Nepal (2004)
Office: Monroe Hall 358 Lab: Monroe Hall 314 Phone: (504) 865-2193 Fax: (504) 865-2920
I consider myself to be an ecological and evolutionary biologist in the broadest sense of the word. My interests have spanned many aspects of organismal biology, including the phylogeny, cytogenetics, reproduction, and feeding in mammals, especially bats. My current interests include both laboratory and field-based studies. The laboratory studies include using computer graphic and statistical methods to describe and analyze biological form to answer evolutionary questions. This emerging field -- geometric morphometrics -- allows one to describe shape variation and seeks answers to questions concerning how and why biological forms differ. My current studies focus on body shape evolution in freshwater fish (minnows and darters) and in mammals.
Field studies include -- 1) patterns vegetation structure and environmental gradients in Yucatan dry tropical forests (with Dr. David White), 2) patterns of phenotypic plasticity in Mississippi River delta populations of roseau cane, Phragmites australis (with Drs. David White and Don Hauber), 3) mammalian biodiversity at Jean Lafitte National Park, and 4) the distribution, ecology, and conservation status of mammals of Louisiana.
My interests in teaching were fueled during my earliest days as a graduate teaching assistant in Biological Sciences at California State University, Fullerton. Since that time, I have taught a wide diversity of students in courses ranging from non-majors Evolution to majors courses in introductory zoology, ecology and evolution, and upperlevel courses in Comparative Anatomy and Histology. My subject area expertise is in concepts of evolution, ecology, and organismal form and function.
My approach to teaching is that students are responsible for being engaged in a course, they should work hard at understanding major concepts and achieving course goals. At the same time, as an instructor, I'm responsible for course organization and providing students with the most current ideas and approaches to learning. My focus is on students learning major concepts. However, to do so, students must master fundamental objective knowledge in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics.
I am dedicated to exploring new learning pedagogies and attend workshops and network with educators at several professional meetings each year to identify approaches that are likely to improve student learning. It is clear that we are now in the midst of an Information Age, and it is therefore imperative that students learn to learn using modern information technologies. With this said, my attitude is that these technologies are tools and that people still count -- learning begins and ends with people.
Formed in 1989, the SE Louisiana EEB Group has as its goals the support of research and education in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology through the interaction among faculty and research scientists from area institutions. The seed for the development of an interest group of ecologists and evolutionary biologists in Southeastern Louisiana came from the belief that a broad interaction among educators and researchers in this region would benefit us all. Members are Ph.D. faculty and educators from most of our region's academic institutions. Each year, we gather for a special annual lecture, hosted by one of the local institutions, featuring an eminent scientist. These lectures seek to help invigorate faculty and students and draw attention to SE Louisiana as a place where ecology and evolutionary biology "happens".
Illustrations by Jean Cassels (jean-cassels.com)