Erica Westerman, PhD

Assistant Professor, Comparative Invertebrate Biology


University of Arkansas, Department of Biological Sciences
Science and Engineering, Room 416
Fayetteville, AR 72701

Shipping address:

850 W. Dickson St.
SCEN 601
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701

Yale University, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. New Haven, CT Ph.D. 2012
Thesis: The effect of social experience and rearing environment on mating behavior in the butterfly Bicyclus anynana; Advisor: Antónia Monteiro

University of New Hampshire, Zoology. Durham, NH M.Sc. 2007
Thesis: Impacts of changing water temperatures in the life histories of two invasive ascidians in the Gulf of Maine: Botryllus schlosseri and Botrylloides violaceus;
Advisors: Larry Harris and Jessica Bolker

Yale University, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. New Haven, CT B.S. Intensive 2003
Thesis: Phenotypic plasticity and the effect of temperature on two species of marine rotifer in the Brachionus plicatilis Muller species complex, Brachionus plicatilis sensu stricto and Brachionus rotundiformis; Advisor: Sean Rice

Postdoctoral Research
University of Chicago, Ecology & Evolution. Chicago IL, Sept 2012-Aug 2016
Postdoctoral scholar: genetics, social components, and neurobiology of visual mate preference.
PI: Dr. Marcus Kronforst

Westerman, E.L., Monteiro, A. (2016) Rearing temperature influences adult response to changes in mating status. PLoS ONE Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0146546 pdf

Westerman, E.L., Chirathivat, N+., Schyling, E+., Monteiro, A. (2014) Mate preference for a phenotypically plastic trait is learned, and may facilitate preference-phenotype matching. Evolution 68(6) 1661-1670 Doi: 10.1111/evo.12381 pdf

Westerman, E.L., Drucker, C.B+, Monteiro, A. (2014) Male and female mating behavior is dependent on social context in the butterfly Bicyclus anynana. Journal of Insect Behavior
27(4) 478-495 Doi: 10.1007/s10905-014-9441-9 pdf

Westerman, E.L. Monteiro A (2013) Odour influences whether females learn to prefer or
avoid wing patterns of male butterflies. Animal Behaviour 86: 1139-1145. Doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2013.09.002 pdf

Westerman, E.L., Hodgins-Davis, A., Dinwiddie, A., Monteiro, A. (2012) Biased learning affects mate choice in a butterfly. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109(27) 10948-10953. Doi: 10.1073/pnas.1118378109 pdf

Buss, L.W., Anderson, C., Westerman, E.L., Kritzberger, C+., Poudyal, M., Moreno, M., Lakkis, F. (2012) Allorecognition triggers autophagy and subsequent necrosis in the cnidarian Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus. PLoS ONE 7(11): e48914. Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0048914 pdf

Dijkstra, J., Westerman, E., Harris, L.G. (2011) The effects of climate change on species composition, succession and phenology: A case study. Global Change Biology 17: 2360-2369. Doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2010.02371.x pdf

Bear, A., Simons, A+., Westerman, E., Monteiro, A. (2010) The genetic, morphological, and physiological characterization of a dark larval cuticle mutation in the butterfly, Bicyclus anynana. PLoS ONE 5(7): e11563. Doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011563 pdf

Smits A+., Cooley J.R., Westerman E. (2010) Twig to root: Egg-nest density and underground nymph distribution in a periodical cicada (Hemiptera: Magicacada septendecim (L.)). Entomologica Americanan 116:73-77. Doi: 10.1664/09-RA-004R.1 pdf

Westerman, E., Dijkstra, J., Harris, L.G. (2009) High natural fusion rates in a botryllid ascidian. Marine Biology 156(12): 2613-2619. Doi: 10.1007/s00227-009-1287-x pdf

Westerman, E. Whitlatch, R., Dijkstra, J., and Harris, L.G. (2009) Variation in brooding period masks similarities in response to changing temperatures. Marine Ecology Progress Series 391:13-19. Doi: 10.3354/meps08107 pdf

Dijkstra, J., Dutton, A+., Westerman, E., Harris, L.G. (2008) Heart rate reflects osmotic stress levels in the two introduced colonial ascidians Botryllus schlosseri and Botrylloides violaceus. Marine Biology 154(5): 805-811. Doi: 10.1007/s00227-008-0973-4 pdf

Dijkstra, J., Harris, L.G., Westerman, E. (2007) Distribution and ecology of four colonial ascidians: Botryllus schlosseri, Botrylloides violaceus, Diplosoma listerianum and Didemnum sp. in the Gulf of Maine. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 342: 61-68. Doi: 10.1016/j.jembe.2006.10.015 pdf

+=undergraduate coauthor

Funding Awards
University of Arkansas Collaborative Research Grant (2016-2017)
Chicago Biomedical Consortium Postdoctoral Research Grant (2014-2015)
Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, NSF (2011-2013)
National Estuarine Research Reserve Fellowship, NOAA (2006-2008)
Lepidopterists’ Society Clench Award (2011)
Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology Division of Animal Behavior Best Student Oral Presentation (2011)

• University of Chicago Postdoctoral Association Survey Committee Co-Chair 2013-present
• Society of Integrative & Comparative Biology Student Presentation Judge 2014-present
• Yale University Graduate Student Assembly Departmental Representative 2009-2012
Senior Editor for GSA Compass 2010; Summer Steering Committee 2010; Athletics Committee 2009-2010; Steering Committee 2011-2012; Secretary of Health and Facilities Committee 2011-2012.
• Graduate Associate of Yale College, Jonathan Edwards College 2008-2012
• Yale University Graduate and Professional Student Senate Representative 2008-2009
Graduate School representative, Travel Fellowship Committee: evaluated and administered the Yale Graduate School Travel Fellowships 2008-2009.
• Conference Organizational Committee Member 2005-2006
12th International Echinoderm Conference, at University of New Hampshire, August 2006.

Scientific Outreach
• Co-organized and led a workshop at the Expanding Your Horizons event at the University
of Chicago to introduce and engage low income middle-school-aged girls in science.
Spring, 2014, 2015
• Participated in a workshop with 4th grade students from a Chicago elementary school leading hands-on experiments on neural signaling, including recording from a live cockroach and EMG recording of the student’s own muscles. Spring 2014, Winter 2015
• Speaker for Expose Yourself! A University-wide discussion of research on Love and Sex at the University of Chicago. Feb 13, 2014
• Organized and led a workshop at the annual Animal Behavior Society Outreach Fair.
Summer 2013,2015
• Participated as a science judge at local and regional middle school science fairs.

Research Tool Set
Animal behavior: focal watches of avian and lepidopteran species, wing pattern, social environment, and physical environment manipulations for experimental animal behavior, studies of mate choice, visual learning, and mating behavior in butterflies, feeding behavior and nest location in song birds, reproductive isolation in rotifers

Molecular biology and genetics: PCR, qPCR, DNA and RNA extraction, library preparation for Illumina sequencing, design and execution of breeding programs to determine trait heritability

Bioinformatics and genomics: NextGen sequence processing and data analysis for genome wide association studies, templated genome assembly

Physiology and morphology: dissection and sample preparation of insect eye and brain for light microscopy, macro-invertebrate whole body fluorescent time-laps microscopy, transmitted electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, resin embedding, ultramicrotome sectioning, gelatin embedding and freezing microtome sectioning, cryostat sectioning, light spectroscopy

Field ecology: underwater transect sampling using SCUBA, terrestrial transect sampling, marine invertebrate rapid assessment surveys, long-term fouling community abundance and reproduction assays, avian mist netting, avian blood sample acquisition, bander on an endangered species permit

Professional Affiliations
Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB)
Animal Behavior Society (ABS)
Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE)
International Society of Behavioral Ecology (ISBE)
National Postdoctoral Association (NPA)

WestermanEL Extended CV2016


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