Linda S. Fink
DORYS MCCONNELL DUBERG PROFESSOR OF ECOLOGY
Ph.D. 1989 University of Florida (Zoology)
M.S. 1984 University of Florida (Zoology)
B.A. 1980 Amherst College (Biology)
Courses I teach
Introduction to Organisms, Introductory Laboratory Techniques, Animal Behavior, Field Natural History, Insect Biology, Ecology, Seminar in Conservation Biology
I have three interrelated research interests.
- I study arthropod behavior and ecology, and have published work on caterpillars, butterflies and spiders. Currently I am working with Lincoln Brower on a project to understand why monarch butterflies are so selective about their wintering sites in Mexico. I am also investigating sexual selection and sperm competition in the northern walkingstick insect, Diapheromera femorata, using microsatellite DNA.
- I am fascinated by, and concerned by, the effects of invasive organisms on the ecological communities they invade. Two plants that my students and I have examined on Sweet Briar's campus are Japanese stiltgrass, Microstegium vimineum, and periwinkle, Vinca minor. My interest in invasive species has broadened to encompass student research on exotic plant pathogens, parasitoids, earthworms and crayfish.
- As a field biologist on a 3200-acre campus, I conduct research on the ecology of our hardwood forests and freshwater habitats.
Recent papers presented (* = undergraduate author, presenter)
- 2008. Fink, L.S. , Brower, L.P., Ramirez, M.I. Variation in lipid reserves as an indicator of the condition of migrating and overwintering monarch butterflies. Society for Conservation Biology annual meeting, Chattanooga TN, 14-17 June.
- 2008. Ramirez, M. I. Brower, L.P., Fink, L.S., Slayback, D., Zubieta, R. The effect of changes in legal protection status on forest cover within the monarch butterfly biosphere reserve in Mexico. Society for Conservation Biology annual meeting, Chattanooga TN, 14-17 June.
- 2008. Slayback, D., Fink, L.S. , Brower, L.P., Ramirez, M.I. Integrating geography and microclimatology to evaluate the physiological suitability of sties selected by overwintering monarch butterflies in Mexico. Society for Conservation Biology annual meeting, Chattanooga TN, 14-17 June.
- 2008. Pham, N.*, Robinson, A.*, Macone, M.*, Ruffle, L.*, Johnson, J.*, Capano, A., Fink, L.S. & Steven, J.C. Long term ecological research on forest composition. MARCUS (Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference on Undergraduate Scholarship), Sweet Briar College.
- 2007. Fink, L.S. The monarch butterfly man: A Lincoln portrait. Invited presentation, Symposium on Honour of Lincoln Pierson Brower. Fifth International Conference on the Biology of Butterflies. Villa Mondragone, Italy, 2-7 July. download pdf
- 2006. Fink, L.S., Brower, L.P. and T.Himelright Helton.* The limited freeze resistance of overwintering monarch butterflies. Annual meeting of the Lepidopterists' Society, 14-18 June, Gainesville FL.
- 2006. L.P. Brower, L.S. Fink, I. Ramirez, S. Weiss, D. Slayback and D. Perault. The physiological ecology of overwintering monarch butterflies. Invited paper in the symposium, Ecophysiology and conservation: the contributions of energetics. Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, annual meeting. Orlando FL, 4-8 January.
- Slayback, D.A., Brower, L.P., Ramirez, M.I. and Fink, L.S. 2007. Establishing the presence and absence of overwintering colonies of the monarch butterfly in Mexico by the use of small aircraft . American Entomologist 53 (1): 28-40. download pdf
- Brower, L. P., Fink, L.S. and P. Walford. 2006. Fueling the fall migration of the monarch butterfly. Integrative and Comparative Biology 46: 1123-1142.
- Kellogg, S.K.*, Fink, L.S., & Brower, L.P. 2003. Parasitism of native luna moths, Actias luna (L.) (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae) by the introduced Compsilura concinnata (Meigen) (Diptera: Tachinidae) in central Virginia, and their hyperparasitism by trigonalid wasps (Hymenoptera: Trigonalidae). Environmental Entomology 32: 1019-1027. download pdf
- Fink, L.S. 1995. Foodplant effects on colour morphs of Eumorpha fasciata caterpillars (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 56(3): 423-437.
- Fink, L.S. 1986. Costs and benefits of maternal behaviour in the green lynx spider (Oxyopidae, Peucetia viridans). Animal Behaviour 34: 1051-1059.
- Fink, L.S. and Brower, L.P. 1981. Birds can overcome the cardenolide defense of monarch butterflies in Mexico. Nature 291: 67-70.
Recent student research projects
I supervise research on the ecology, natural history, and behavior of organisms in the wild; and on animal learning in the lab. Many students work on insects, but I also supervise research on salamanders, crayfish, plants, reptiles and fish. As long as I feel that I have enough expertise to supervise a project, I enjoy learning along with my students.
- Nealon, C., Development of an assay for trehalose in Monarch (Danaus plexippus) hemolymph
- Davis, R., Are melanism and elevation correlated with the ability of the Asian ladybird beetle, Harmonia axyridis, to resist freezing?
- McVeigh, D., Investigating the reproductive anatomy and physiology of the female walkingstick, Diapheromera femorata
- Horne, M., Insecticide detection in the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)
- Wiley, J., Do monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) histolyze flight muscles during the overwintering period?
- Adams, A., DNA fingerprinting used to determine paternity of the northern walkingstick (Diapheromera femorata): developing a technique to optimize PCR results.
Effects of invasive exotic species on natural communities
- Rothamel, S., Short term survivorship study of Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) egg masses in Guion Pond
- Summerfield, J. Effects of crayfish chemical cues on hatching of spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum)
- Ogilvie, M., The effect of Vinca minor on microhabitat selection by Peromyscus mice
- Kellogg, S., Effects of an exotic tachinid fly parasitoid on luna moth caterpillar survival
- Tannahill, C., The effects of Japanese stilt grass, Microstegium vimineum, on earthworm abundance and diversity
- Wieditz, K., Dots and stripes: pattern learning in the angelfish, Pterophyllum scalare
- Bryan, K., Chameleon learning: can chameleons learn to discriminate between edible and inedible food using color cues?