11/21/07

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Todd A. Blackledge 

Department of Biology

voice (330) 972-7264

University of Akron

fax (330) 972-8445

Akron, OH 44325-3908

Email: Blackledge<at>uakron.edu

 Education

Ph.D. The Ohio State University, Department of Entomology, advisor: John W. Wenzel, 2000
B.S. The George Washington University, Department of Biology, 1994, magna cum laude

Academic Employment

  • Postdoctoral Researcher, University of California – Riverside. 2003-2004
  • Lecturer, Cornell University. 2002
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California – Berkeley. 2000-2002
  • Presidential Fellow, The Ohio State University. 1999
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant, The Ohio State University. 1997-1998
  • NSF Predoctoral Fellow, The Ohio State University. 1995-1997
  • National Museum of Natural History Research Training Program, Smithsonian Institution. 1994
  • NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates, Benedict Estuarine Research Laboratory. 1993

 

Research Experience
  • Postdoctoral Researcher (2003-2004). Evolution of spider silk functional morphology and silk genes. Advisor: Dr. Cheryl Y. Hayashi.
  • Postdoctoral Fellow (2000-2002). Community evolution in adaptive and non-adaptive radiations of Hawaiian spiders. Division of Insect Biology, University of California, Berkeley. Advisor: Dr. Rosemary G. Gillespie.
  • Doctoral Student (1994-2000) Functional aspects of stabilimentum decorations in spider webs and the evolution of spider silk coloration. Department of Entomology, The Ohio State University. Advisor: Dr. John W. Wenzel
  • Research Training Program (1994) Taxonomy of Characiform fish from the upper Amazon. Included morphometric analysis and clearing and staining of specimens. National Museum of Natural History Research Training Program, Smithsonian Institution. Advisor: Dr. Richard P. Vari
  • NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (1993) Effects of hypoxia on trophic interactions and larval fish in estuarine ecosystems. Benedict Estuarine Research Laboratory. Advisor: Dr. Denise Breitburg

 Publications

 Click here for a link to my publications, including PDFs

Teaching Experience

Principles of Biology I: Bio 111 - University of Akron (2007)
Biology of Behavior: Bio 428/528 – University of Akron (2005-2007)
Biology of Behavior Laboratory: Bio 429/529 – University of Akron (2006)
Experimental Approaches to Behavior: Bio 695 – University of Akron (2005)
Entomology 212: Insect Biology – Cornell University (2002)

Undergraduate research advisor:
U AKRON: Burhan Adir (McNair Scholar), Holly Hillebrecht, Hannah Koppleberger (Honors Thesis advisor), Ryan Satow, Steve Schulz, Tim Shultz & Jacki Zevenbergen
BALDWIN-WALLACE COLLEGE: Nicki Schneider
UCR: Jennie Beltrán (1st place for MBRS presentation at UC Irvine), Patricia Kao, Joy Sarkar, Nannie Woo & Heather Williams

 

Grants and Fellowships

“Investigating the tensile performance and structural properties of spider dragline and egg case silk”, Integrated Bioscience Collaborative Research Incentive Grant. (2007). Co-PI with Shing-Chung Wong. $8,000
“Semimicro bomb calorimetry and metabolic costs of web spinning in spiders” Departmental Research Grant. (2006) Co-PI with Peter Niewiarowski. $4,000
“Acquisition of a dynamic nano-force tensile test system for ultrathin fibers with environmental control and integrated image analysis”, National Science Foundation, PI, (2005-2008), $337,345
“Araneid phylogeny and evolution of spider silk phenotypes”, National Science Foundation, PI with collaborators John Wenzel and Nikolaj Scharff, (2005-2008), $297,990

Awards and Honors

Mentor of the Year, Conference on Undergraduate and Graduate Student Research, University of Akron (2007)
Excellence in Research Honorable Mention for undergraduate McNair Scholar research (2006)
Favorite Faculty teaching award, Mortar Board Honor Society, University of Akron (2005)
Frank A. Pitelka Award for excellence in research, International Society for Behavioral Ecology, (2002) 
John Henry Comstock research award, Entomological Society of America (1999)
W. Fred Hink Research Award - Department of Entomology, The Ohio State University (1998)

 

Invited Presentations (select)

2007: International Congress of Arachnology, invited plenary, "New perspectives on the ecology and evolution of spiders webs"
Case Western Reserve University, "New perspectives on the ecology and evolution of spider webs"
Case Western Reserve University, "Spider silk: an evolutionary experiment in materials science"

2006:  John Carroll University, "Spider silk: a 400 million year experiment in materials science”
Susquehanna University, "Spider silk: a 400 million year experiment in materials science”

2005:  Franklin Philosophical Society, “Spider silk: a 400 million year experiment in materials science”
Kent State University, “Spider webs: the evolution of behavior across biological levels”
Greater Akron Audubon Society, “Spiders: silk and web evolution”

2004:  University of Akron, “Spider webs: the evolution of behavior across biological levels”

2003:  California State University Longbeach, “Evolution of the modern orb web and beyond”
Lewis & Clark College, “Predator vs. Prey: Why do spiders decorate their webs?”
University of California Riverside, “A new look at stabilimenta in spider webs”
San Diego State University, “A new look at stabilimentum decorations in spider webs”

2002: Cornell University, “Spider webs: confronting ecological and evolutionary challenges through behavior”
University of Toronto at Scarborough, “Spider webs: confronting ecological and evolutionary challenges through behavior”
University of Massachusetts Amherst, “Spider webs: confronting ecological and evolutionary challenges through behavior”
California State University Hayward, “Stabilimenta in spider webs: predator-prey conflict and sensory drive”
Pacific Coast Entomological Society, California Academy of Sciences, “Why do spiders decorate webs with stabilimenta?” (2001)

 

Contributed Presentations (select)

* denotes graduate student coauthor, ** undergraduate coauthor

2006, Spider silk: a 400 million year experiment in material science, International Symposium for Biologically Inspired Design in Science and Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
Unraveling the mechanical properties of composite silk threads spun by cribellate orb weaving spiders. American Arachnological Society, College of Notre Dame, June 2006
Does plasticity in the web building behavior of the western black widow spider, Latrodectus hesperus affect foraging and defense? American Arachnological Society, College of Notre Dame, June 2006 (with J.M. Zevenbergen*)
Energetic investment and reinforcement of the function of different components of the cobwebs of black widows in relation to physiologicals status, American Arachnological Society, College of Notre Dame, June 2006 (with C. Boutry*)

2005,  Silken toolkits: Fiber biomechanics in the orb web spider Argiope argentata, Physico-Chemical Ecology of Organisms, Conférences Jacques-Monod, CNRS, France (Sept)
Web architecture in the western black widow spider (Latrodectus hesperus) in relation to prey availability, American Arachnological Society, Univ. of Akron (with J.M. Zevenbergen**)

2004,  Evolution of extreme prey specialization in bolas spiders & Functional diversification of spider silks, International Society of Arachnology in Ghent, Belgium, and International Congress of Entomology in Brisbane, Australia

2003, Dynamic and quasi-static nano-tensile characterization of spider silk, Nano User’s Group Meeting, MTS corporation
Evolution of extreme prey specialization in bolas spiders, American Arachnological Society, Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Evolution of extreme prey specialization in bolas spiders, Society for the Study of Evolution, California State Univ. at Chico
Predators, prey, and the decoration of webs with stabilimenta, Animal Behaviorists of Southern California, UC Irvine

 

Professional Service

Co-host of the annual meeting of the American Arachnological Society at Univ. of Akron (2005)

Public Affairs Committee student representative, Animal Behavior Society (1998-2000)

ad hoc reviewer – Acta Zoologica Sinica, American Midlands Naturalist, Behavioral Ecology, Behaviour, Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, Biologia, Canadian Journal of Zoology, Cladistics, Ethology, Environmental Entomology, Ethology, Ethology Ecology & Evolution, Ecology Letters, European Journal of Entomology, Journal of Arachnology, Journal of Chemical Ecology, Journal of Experimental Biology, Journal of Insect Behavior, Journal of Natural History, Journal of Zoology, Southwestern Naturalist, National Geographic, National Science Foundation, Nature, Naturwissenschaften, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Science, Zoology

 Consultant for: Audubon Magazine, Discovery Channel (online and television), Earth & Sky (National Public Radio), National Geographic, Outside Magazine, Science News, various regional newspapers and magazines

 Research featured in: Akron Beacon Journal, BBC Wildlife Magazine, CBC Radio (Quirks & Quarks), Crain’s Cleveland Business, Discovery Channel (Superhero Science), Discovery News, Environmental News Network, Geo Magazine, History Channel (Modern Marvels), Iran Daily News, National Geographic News, Nature News, New York Times (News & Syndicate), “This week in wild California” California Academy of Sciences

 

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This site was last updated 11/21/07