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Degree Program University
Ph.D. Biology University of South Carolina
B.A. Biology University of Chicago

My Siena Experience

My Teaching Philosophy

It is easy to think about biology as a discipline of facts, forgetting that facts are only useful when they are applied. Students in my courses practice using and applying their biological knowledge through problem solving, data analysis, experimental design, and critical writing. My goals are to foster students' life-long interest in the biological world surrounding us, prepare them to be citizens of that world, and help advance their expertise in the learning, thinking, and communicating skills that will serve them throughout their lives.

What I Love About Siena

I love Siena students -- they are inquisitive, fun, and hardworking, and they remind me every day why I wanted to become a college professor.

My Favorite Courses to Teach

I teach Invertebrate Biology, General Biology, Science Writing, and Marine Ecology. I don't think I could choose a favorite -- I love them all in different ways.

My Professional Experience

Year Title University
2012 - Now Assistant Professor of Biology Siena College
2009 - 2012 Postdoctoral Scholar University of Chicago
2008 - 2009 Postdoctoral Fellow Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Current Research

As an ecologist, I care about what organisms do. Every phenotype has myriad effects--on the individual, on the systems in which it participates, and on the evolutionary fate of its lineage. Understanding how functional traits operate across these scales is at the core of my work. From crabs to worms to clams; from individual growth to size distributions of global faunas; from manipulative field experiments to database-oriented statistical modeling, I work in varied systems using varied approaches.Current projects include (i) understanding how an invasive alga is affecting coastal invertebrates in the Eastern United States and (ii) using marine bivalves as a model system for understanding global patterns in biodiversity.
See more at my personal website: skberke.com

Articles & Book Reviews

  • Non-linear climatic gradients shape broad-scale patterns in geographic range size and diversity
    Global Ecology and Biogeography
    2014
  • Origination and migration drive latitudinal gradients in marine functional diversity
    PLoS ONE, vol. 9
    2014
  • Beyond Bergmann's Rule: size-latitude relationships in marine Bivalvia worldwide
    Global Ecology and Biogeography, vol. 22
    2013
  • Out of the tropics, but how? Fossils, bridge species, and thermal ranges in the dynamics of the marine latitudinal diversity gradient
    PNAS, vol. 110
    2013
  • The sampling and estimation of marine paleodiversity patterns: implications of a Pliocene model
    Paleobiology, vol. 39
    2013
  • Biogeographic variability in the abundance, behavior, and ecosystem engineering of the tube-building polychaete Diopatra cuprea (Bosc)
    Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol. 447
    2012
  • Diopatra (Onuphidae: Polychaeta) from intertidal sediments in Southwestern Europe
    Zootaxa, vol. 3395
    2012
  • Global environmental predictors of benthic marine biogeographic structure
    PNAS, vol. 109
    2012
  • Functional groups of ecosystem engineers: a proposed classification with comments on current issues
    Integrative and Comparative Biology, vol. 50
    2010
  • Range shifts and species diversity in marine ecosystem engineers: patterns and predictions for European sedimentary habitats
    Global Ecology and Biogeography, vol. 19
    2010
  • Behavioral and morphological aspects of decorating in Oregonia gracilis (Brachyura: Majoidea)
    Invertebrate Biology, vol. 238
    2009
  • Sublethal predation in ecosystem engineering polychaetes
    Biological Bulletin, vol. 217
    2009
  • Energetic costs, ontogenetic shifts and sexual dimorphism in decorator crabs
    Functional Ecology, vol. 22
    2008
  • Tube decoration may not be cryptic for Diopatra cuprea Bosc (Polychaeta: Onuphidae)
    Biological Bulletin, vol. 214
    2008
  • Modelling the energy-mortality tradeoffs of invertebrate decorating behaviour
    Evolutionary Ecology Research, vol. 8
    2006
  • Reversion of the glycopeptide resistance phenotype in Staphylococcus aureus clinical isolates
    Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, vol. 44
    2000

Presentations

  • Teaching about teaching: Sally Woodin's legacy in biology education
    January, 2015
    Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology Annual Meeting, West Palm Beach, Florida
  • Epifaunal and infaunal community responses to an invasive species
    2015
    Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology Annual Meeting, West Palm Beach, Florida
  • Interactions between invasive algae and native invertebrates in Virginia's coastal bays
    2015
    Invited professional lectures/symposia: Mt Holyoke College, Mt. Holyoke, Massachusetts
  • A regime shift in progress? New effects of an invasive alga in Virginia's coastal bays
    January, 2014
    Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology Annual Meeting, Austin, Texas
  • Algal showdown: invasive Gracilaria vermiculophylla vs. native species in Virginia's coastal bays
    January, 2014
    Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology Annual Meeting, Austin, Texas
  • Does oceanography constrain marine bivalve invasions?
    2013
    Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, Utah