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Dr. James E. Alexander, Jr.

Associate Professor                
Department of Biology
University of Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky  40292  

Office:  (502) 852-7243
e-mail :  jealex01 (at symbol) louisville (dot) edu

 

 

 

Education and Training

University of Arizona (1975); University of Missouri (1976-1979). B.A. Biology  (1979),  University of Missouri.

University of Missouri (1980-1982). M.A. Biology (1982), University of Missouri.  Thesis advisor: Dr. Teresa Audesirk (Department of Biology [retired], University of Colorado - Denver).

University of Oklahoma (1983-1987), Ph.D. Zoology (1987), University of Oklahoma.  Dissertation advisor: Dr. Alan Covich (Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia). 

Postdoctoral Fellow/ Research Associate Positions: 

Louisiana State University (1988-1989).  Advisor: Dr. Kenneth Brown (Department of Biological Sciences).

University of Texas-Arlington (1990-1991). Advisor: Dr. Robert McMahon (Emeritus, Department of Biology).

University of Louisville (1992-1994). Advisor: Dr. James Thorp (Kansas Biological Survey and Department of Biology, University of Kansas).

Dr. Alexander’s Research Interests

I have a wide-ranging mix of interests, particularly concerning the population ecology, community ecology, and physiological ecology of freshwater invertebrates.  In particular, I am interested in how the following factors affect the distribution, density, dispersion, and persistence of animal populations:

1) behavioral responses (dispersal and migration, reproductive behavior and parental care, foraging, predator avoidance);

2) ecological interactions, both direct and indirect  (predator-prey and competitive interactions, intraspecific and interspecific agonistic interactions);

3) physiological adaptations to changes in the physical environment (particularly respiratory adaptations to temperature, turbidity and hypoxia).

Study organisms include: zebra mussels and quagga mussels (Dreissena polymorpha and D. bugensis), snails (numerous spp.), unionid bivalves (numerous spp.), crayfish (multiple spp.), isopod and amphipod crustaceans (Gammarus, Lirceus), waterbugs (Belostoma), and freshwater jellyfish (Craspedacusta).

 Past and Ongoing Research Projects in my Laboratory

1) zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) and quagga mussel (D. bugensis) impacts on aquatic communities and public utilities.
2) ecological interactions and distribution of two major gastropod groups in lotic ecosystems: pulmonate and prosobranch snails.  
3) physiological tolerances of freshwater and marine mollusks: dreissenid mussels (D. polymorpha and D. bugensis), unionid clams (Toxolasma parvus) and snails (Lithasia obovata , Pleurocera canaliculatum and Littoraria anguilifera). 
4) in vitro culture of unionid mussel glochidia (larvae) and comparing the results to larvae reared in vivo on fish hosts.
5) the impacts of freshwater amphipods and isopods (Gammarus, Lirceus) with the rest of the aquatic community.
6) predator-prey interactions between freshwater snails, insects, fish and crayfish.
7) the impact of freshwater jellyfish (Craspedecusta) on zooplankton and the rest of the aquatic community.
8) the impact of muskrat predation on unionid communities.
9) search for endangered unionid species in the Green River; describing the species diversity of the Green River unionid community and the Green River algal commuity.
10) analysis of the molluscan community (land snails, aquatic snails and bivalves) in the Meade Basin of Southwestern Kansas over the past five million years; analyzing the potential connection between climate change and change in species diversity.
11) classical conditioning in the freshwater snail Lymnaea stagnalis.
12) the effect of parental care on foraging in waterbugs (Belostoma flumineum).
13) predation tactics and antipredator behavior between freshwater snails (Physella virgata and Helisoma trivolvis)  and crayfish (Procambarus simulans).
14) group foraging tactics (scroungers versus producers) in marine snails (Thais haemastoma) on oysters (Crassostrea virginica).

15) the impact of bush honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.) on songbird diversity in urban and rural forests.

jim in the ohio

 

Dissertations, Theses, and Undergraduate Projects Under my Supervision

[Eight graduate students have finished their degree programs; one undergraduate has completed a major research project.  Three Ph.D. students are currently working on their degrees.  To date, I also have served or are currently serving on 39 graduate student committees. ]

As major advisor and chair of the committee:

R. Brent Summers (Ph.D., 1999, University of Louisville).  "The effects of colonization by Dreissena polymorpha (zebra mussel) on the riverine amphipod Gammarus fasciatus: increased benthic production due to biotic and abiotic factors".  Dr. Summers currently is an Associate Professor in Biology and Assistant Dean at the University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, IN.

Richard S. Pirkle (M.S., 2007, University of Louisville).  “Trihalomethane formation potential in two Kentucky reservoirs: possible influencing chemical and physical environmental factors and a potential method for trihalomethane reduction in finished drinking water”.  Mr. Pirkle currently is an Instructor  in the Biology Department at Tennessee Tech University, Cookeville, TN.

Natalie B.Abram (M.S., 2008, University of Louisville).  “A comparative study on the effects of thermal stress on the respiration rates of adult and juvenile freshwater mollusks: Toxolasma parvus”.  Ms. Abram currently is an Instructor at Jefferson Community College in Louisville, KY.

Christopher T. Owen  (Ph.D., 2009, University of Louisville). “Investigations for the conservation and propagation of freshwater mussels”.  Dr. Owen currently is a Fisheries Biologist in the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources in Frankfort, KY.

Craig Emerson (M.S. [non-thesis], 2009, University of Louisville).

Kelly C. Thayer ( B.S., 2010, University of Louisville). "Temperature acclimation by Lithasia obovata".  Undergraduate research project.

Brian W. Steffen  (Ph.D., 2010, University of Louisville). "Testing the use of molluscs to infer climate with special reference to the late Cenozoic molluscs of the Meade Basin, Southwest Kansas".  Dr. Steffen currently is an Instructor in Geology and Biology at Southern Louisiana College in Lafayette, LA.

Kyle Kopatich (M.S. [non-thesis], 2013, University of Louisville.)

Julio Wilson (M.S. [non-thesis], 2014, University of Louisville.)

Katie R. Lynch (Ph.D. candidate, University of Louisville, in progress.)

Alissa Ganser (Ph.D., University of Louisville, in progress.)

Megan DeVries (Ph.D., University of Louisville, in progress.)

 

As a member of the graduate committee:

Dennis Varza (M.S., 1989, Louisiana State University).

R. Brent Summers (M.S., 1995, University of Louisville).

Timothy Sellers (M.S. (1997), Ph.D. (2001), University of Louisville).

Michael Alfieri (Ph.D., 2000, University of Louisville).

Joseph Shostell (Ph.D., 2001, University of Louisville).

Bethany M. Cates (M.S. [non-thesis], 2002, University of Louisville).

Matthew B. Auge (M.S. [non-thesis], 2002, University of Louisville).

Ryan L. Earley (Ph.D., 2002, University of Louisville).

Amanda Rickett (M.S. [non-thesis], 2003, University of Louisville).

Emily Dawson (M.S. [non-thesis], 2003, University of Louisville).

Molly Carpenter (M.S. [non-thesis], 2003, University of Louisville).

Omar Attum (Ph.D., 2004, University of Louisville).

Edward Galligan (M.S. [non-thesis], 2005, University of Louisville).

Mindy LaManna (Ph.D., 2006, University of Louisville).

Tamara Sluss (Ph.D., 2006, University of Louisville).

Natasha Vanderhoff (Ph.D., 2007, University of Louisville).

Lina Rafai (Ph.D., 2007, University of Louisville).

Catherine Byers (Ph.D., 2007, University of Louisville).

John Brinkworth (M.S. [non-thesis], 2007, University of Louisville).

Mason Masden (M.S.[non-thesis], 2007, University of Louisville).

Jessica Perpich (M.S., [non-thesis], 2007, University of Louisville).

David Word (M.S., 2007, University of Louisville).

Wesley Daniel (M.S., 2008, University of Louisville).

Chadwick Hanna (Ph.D., 2009, University of Louisville).

Cassandra Hauswald (M.S., 2010, University of Louisville).

Jonathan White (Ph.D. 2011, University of Louisville).

Robert Johnson (Ph.D. 2011, University of Louisville).

Kari R. Smith (M.S. [non-thesis], 2012, University of Louisville).

Jonathon Marner (M.S. [non-thesis], 2012, University of Louisville).

Sacha-Renee Todd (Ph.D., 2012, The University of the West Indes).

Kendall Stocke (M.S. [non-thesis], 2013, University of Louisville).

Piyumika Suriyampola (Ph.D. 2014, University of Louisville).

Jeff Masters (Ph.D. 2014, University of Louisville).

Sarah Ramaker (Ph.D. candidate, University of Louisville, in progress).

Micah Perkins (Ph.D.candidate, University of Louisville, in progress).

Victoria Prescott (Ph.D. candidate, University of Louisville, in progress).

William Persons (Ph.D. candidate, University of Louisville, in progress).

Joseph Bradley (Ph.D. student, University of Louisville, in progress).

Stephen Bailey (Ph.D. student, University of Louisville, in progress).


As the undergraduate honor’s thesis chair:

Valarie Brenner (B.S., 1990, University of Oklahoma).

As a member of an undergraduate Honor's committee:

Michelle L. LeNoue (B.S., 2000, University of Louisville).

 

Grants Funded While at The University of Louisville (as PI or Co-PI)

Thorp, J. H. J. E. Alexander, Jr., K. H. Haag and J. C. Smith. 1991. “Impact of a biofouler on water companies located along large rivers: Part I. Studies of survival, growth, and reproduction of the zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, in a riverine mesocosm”. American Water Works Association Research Foundation ($146,329).

Thorp, J. H., J. E. Alexander, Jr. and A. R. Black. 1993. “Reproduction and dispersal of zebra mussels in the Ohio River near Louisville, Kentucky”. Public Service Indiana ($10,000).

Thorp, J. H., A. R. Black, J. E. Alexander, Jr., K. H. Haag, D. A. Howarth, and R. W. Bosserman. 1993. “Experimental analog and sensitivity modeling studies predicting influences of global climate change on introduced species”. U. S. Environmental Protection Agency ($230,334).

Alexander, J. E. Jr. and J. H. Thorp. 1994. “Impact of a biofouler on water utilities located along rivers.”  American Water Works Association Research Foundation, ($20,000).

Fell, R., J. Alexander and J. Steffen. 2005. “Curriculum enhancement through research-centered learning”. College of Arts and Sciences, University of Louisville, Grant for Improvement of Teaching  ($2,404).

Alexander, J. E. Jr. 2006. “Respiratory responses to temperature change in freshwater bivalve mollusks”, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Louisville, Intramural Grants for Research and Creative Activities ($1,990).

Alexander, J. E. Jr.   2007.  “Development of in vitro (artificial) laboratory culture methods for rearing juvenile freshwater mussels”.   Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, State and Tribal Wildlife Grants, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ($80,000).

Alexander, J. E. Jr. 2007.  “Assessment of Algal Communities”.  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ($26,400).

Alexander, J. E. Jr. 2007. “Development of in vitro (artificial) laboratory culture methods for rearing juvenile freshwater mussels”, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Louisville, Intramural Grants for Research and Creative Activities ($1,970).

Alexander, J. E. Jr. 2008. “Locating the endangered ring pink mussel (Obovaria retusa) in the Green River system, Kentucky”, United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service ($24,936).
 

Classes Taught at The University of Louisville

Since 1994, I have taught over 15,600 students (over 110 lecture sections, not counting individual lab sections).

Biology 102, Introduction to Biological Systems (lecture)
Biology 240, Diversity of Organisms (lecture)
Biology 240, Diversity of Animals (lecture)                
Biology 241, Diversity of Animals (lab)
Biology 240, Unity of Life (lecture)
Biology 241, Unity of Life (lab)
Biology 242, Diversity of Life (lecture)
Biology 243, Diversity of Life (lab)
Biology 244, Principles of Biology (lab)
Biology 263, Environmental Biology (lecture)
Biology 301/363, Principles of Ecology (lecture)
Biology 302, Principles of Ecology (lab)
Biology 305, Invertebrate Zoology (lecture/lab)
Biology 360, Human Anatomy and Physiology (lecture)
Biology 420, Marine Biology (lecture)
Biology 515/615, Environmental Adaptations (lecture)
Biology 572/672, Physiological Ecology (lecture)
Biology 522/622, Aquatic Ecology/Limnology (lecture/lab)
Biology 663, Population and Community Ecology (lecture)

 

Honors and Awards at The University of Louisville

‘Bill Furnish Award for Excellence in Teaching in Biology’, Department of Biology, University of Louisville (2008) (student nominated).

Finalist for ‘The Paul Weber Award For Departmental Excellence in Teaching’, University of Louisville, Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning. Steffen, J., Alexander, J. E. and R. D. Fell. “Biology Programmatic Assessment of Learning (BIO-PAL)”(2006).

Nominated as a ‘REACH Ambassador Favorite Faculty’, REACH Center, University of Louisville (2006) (student nominated).

Nominated as a 'Faculty Favorite', Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning, University of Louisville (2005, 2009, 2011) (student nominated).

Inducted as an Honorary Member, Golden Key International Honor Society, University of Louisville (2005) (student nominated).

Red and Black Mentor, University of Louisville Athletic Association (1998, 2001, 2005, 2011) (student nominated).

Faculty of the Year (2000), Runner-up (1996), Disability Awareness Award, Disability Resources Center, University of Louisville (student nominated).

Manual High School-University of Louisville Mentor Program (1999).

 Talks and Presentations

∙ I have given or coauthored at total of 67 presentations (talks, posters and seminars). 
∙ I have personally given 23 presentations at professional meetings.
∙ I have given 19 department talks at different universities.
∙ I have coauthored seven talks given by my colleagues at various meetings.
∙ I have coauthored 17 talks by my graduate students and one talk by an undergraduate student.

Publications     

[ My publications (as of October 2013) have been cited at least  523 times (data from Science Citation Index). h-factor = 13; g-factor = 18. ]

Alexander, J. E. Jr. and Joseph M. Steffen. 2013. Principles of Quantitative Biology Laboratory. Van-Griner Press, Cincinnati, OH ISBN: 978-1-61740-107-7).

Alexander, J. E. Jr. and Joseph M. Steffen. 2012. Principles of Quantitative Biology Laboratory. Van-Griner Press, Cincinnati, OH ISBN: 978-1-61740-045-2).

Alexander, J. E. Jr. and K. C. Thayer. Long-term acclimatory and short-term respiratory responses to temperature by Lithasia obovata, and its relation to differences in the physiological adaptations of freshwater pulmonates and prosobranchs. Submitted to American Malacological Bulletin.

Alexander, J. E. Jr., G. A. Cobbs, R. F. McMahon. Dichotomy or continuum: conformers and regulators revisited. Submitted to The Biological Bulletin.

Owen, C.T., M.A. McGregor, G. A. Cobbs and J. E. Alexander, Jr. 2011. Muskrat predation on a diverse unionid communiy: impacts of prey species composition, size, and shape. Freshwater Biology 56: 554-564.

Owen, C. T., J. E. Alexander, Jr. and M. McGregor. 2010. Control of microbial contamination during in vitro culture of larval unionid mussels. Invertebrate Reproduction & Development 54: 187-193.

Smith, A. S. and J. E. Alexander, Jr.  2008.  Potential effects of the freshwater jellyfish Craspedacusta sowerbii on zooplankton community abundance.  Journal of Plankton Research 30 (12):1323-1327.

Alexander, J. E. Jr. and R. F. McMahon. 2004.  Respiratory response to increasing temperature and hypoxia in the zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha.  Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A 137(2): 425-434.

Thorp, J. H., J. E. Alexander, Jr., and G. A. Cobbs. 2002. Coping with warmer, large rivers: a field experiment on potential range expansion of northern quagga mussels (Dreissena bugensis).  Freshwater Biology 47: 1779-1790.

Thorp, J. H.,  J. E. Alexander,  Jr., B. L. Bukaveckas, G. A. Cobbs and K. L. Bresko. 1998. Responses of Ohio River and Lake Erie dreissenid molluscs to changes in temperature and turbidity.  Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 55:220-229.

Brown, K. M., J. E. Alexander, Jr. and J. H. Thorp. 1998. Differences in the ecology and distribution of lotic pulmonate and prosobranch gastropods. American Malacological Bulletin 14: 91-101.

Alexander, J. E. Jr., J. H. Thorp  and J. C. Smith. 1997. Biology and Potential Impacts of Zebra Mussels in Large Rivers.  American Water Works Association Research Foundation, Denver, CO.  (ISBN: 0-89867-930-3).   

Summers, R. B.,  J. H. Thorp, J. E. Alexander, Jr and R. D. Fell. 1996. Respiratory adjustment of dreissenid mussels (Dreissena polymorpha and D. bugensis) in response to chronic turbidity.  Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 53: 1626-1631.

Alexander, J. E. Jr., J. H. Thorp, and R. D. Fell. 1994. Turbidity and temperature effects on oxygen consumption in the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha).  Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 51: 179-184.

Covich, A. P., T. A. Crowl, J. E. Alexander, Jr. and C. C. Vaughn. 1994. Predator-avoidance responses in freshwater decapod-gastropod interactions mediated by chemical stimuli.  Journal of the North American Benthological Society 13: 283-290.

Thorp, J. H., J. E. Alexander, Jr., K. S. Greenwood, A. F. Casper, R. K. Kessler, A. R. Black, W. Fang, A. F. Westin, R. B. Summers, T. W. Sellers and B. Lewis. 1994. Predicting the success of riverine populations of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) - early colonization and microhabitat distribution in the Ohio River.  Pages 457-478 in “Proceedings: Fourth International Zebra Mussel Conference”, The University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute, Advisory Services, Madison, Wisconsin..

Brown, K. M. and J. E. Alexander, Jr. 1994. Group foraging in a marine gastropod: benefits and costs to individuals.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 112:97-105.
 
Alexander, J. E. Jr. and M. L. Bruening. 1992. Introduction to Quantitative Biology (5th Ed.). Burgess International Group, Inc. Edina, MN. (ISBN 0-8087-7352-6).

Alexander, J. E. Jr. and A. P. Covich. 1991. Predation risk and avoidance behavior in two freshwater snails. Biological Bulletin 180: 387-393.

Alexander, J. E. Jr. and A. P. Covich. 1991. Predator avoidance in the freshwater snail Physella virgata to the crayfish Procambarus simulans. Oecologia 87:435-442.

McMahon, R. F. and J. E. Alexander, Jr. 1991.  Respiratory responses to temperature, hypoxia and temperature-acclimation in the zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha (Pall.).  American Zoologist 31(5): A74.

Crowl, T. A. and J. E. Alexander, Jr. 1989. Parental care and foraging ability in male water bugs Belostoma flumineum. Canadian Journal of Zoology 67: 513-515.

Alexander, J. E. Jr., T. E. Audesirk and G. J. Audesirk. 1985. Classical conditioning in the freshwater pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis. The American Biology Teacher 47: 295-298.

Alexander, J. E. Jr., T. E. Audesirk and G. J. Audesirk. 1984. One-trial, long-lasting reward learning in the snail Lymnaea stagnalis. Journal of Neurobiology 15: 67-72.

Alexander, J. E. Jr., T. E. Audesirk and G. J. Audesirk. 1982. Rapid, non-aversive conditioning in a freshwater gastropod. II. Effects of temporal relationships on learning. Behavioral and Neural Biology 36: 391-402.

Audesirk, T.E., J.E. Alexander, Jr., G. J. Audesirk and C. Moyer. 1982. Rapid, non-avesive conditioning  in a freshwater gastropod. I. Effects  of age and motivation.  Behavioral and Neural Biology 36: 379-390.
 

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