Department of Biological Sciences

Christine Maher Ph.D.

Professor of Biology
Chris Maher

Office Location

201 Science



Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D., Animal Behavior, University of California, Davis, 1992
  • M.S., Zoology, University of Idaho, 1986
  • B.S., Zoology, Miami University, 1984

Research Interests

My research interests lie in the field of behavioral ecology and, more specifically, mammalian social behavior and social organization, in which I adopt a field-oriented approach to my research. For many years, I have examined the role that ecological conditions (e.g., food resources) play in shaping the behavior patterns of animals and, in turn, a population's spatial organization.

In 1998, I began working with woodchucks, animals whose relatives are much more social than they are. Little research has been done on these animals since the 1960s and late 1980s, so a great deal remains to be learned. I am interested in the evolution of social behavior in mammals, and these animals can be used to test various ideas about why other marmot species are more social.

Recent Publications

Maher, C. R. and Burger, J. R. 2016. Diversity of social behavior in caviomorph rodents. In: Sociobiology of caviomorph rodents: an integrative review (L. Ebensperger and L. Hayes, eds.). Wiley-Blackwell.

Zervanos, S. M., Maher, C. R., and Florant, G. L. 2014. Effect of body mass on hibernation strategies of woodchucks (Marmota monax). Integrative and Comparative Biology. doi: 10.1093/icb/ict100

McKay, J.L. and Maher, C.R. 2012. Relationship between blood mercury levels and components of male song in Nelson’s Sparrows (Ammodramus nelsoni). Ecotoxicology. 21:2391-2397.

Aschemeier, L.M. and Maher, C.R. 2011. Eavesdropping of woodchucks (Marmota monax) and eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus) on heterospecific alarm calls. Journal of Mammalogy. 92: 493-499.

Maher, C.R. and Burger, J.R. 2011. Intraspecific variation in space use, group size and mating systems of caviomorph rodents. Journal of Mammalogy 92: 54-64.