Jeremy Davis, Ph.D.

Associate Dean of Programs and Operations
Executive Director of Programs
Associate Teaching Professor
Animal Behavior
University of California, Davis
Biological Sciences
Binghampton University (SUNY)

My scholarly interests focus on adaptive decision making in animals. I use several species of insects as experimental models, and am particularly interested in egg-laying decisions. My research focuses on three mechanisms that shape insect decisions. First, I explore how individuals use the environment in which they were born to improve estimates of habitat quality during egg-laying decisions. Second, I am interested in how and why animals use other individuals as sources of information about the quality of encountered habitats and the competition they will encounter there. Finally, I am interested in “silver spoon” effects, in which organisms are forced to select habitats they would otherwise avoid because they are unable to find, access or defend better habitats.

My research uses a combination of field observations, laboratory experiments and comparative approaches. Undergraduate researchers are typically an integral part of these research projects.

Currently, my classrooms are shaped by two evidence-based teaching strategies. “Active learning” reflects research in cognitive science indicating that students learn best when required to actively use their knowledge to answer questions and work through problems both in and out of the classroom. This is in contrast to passively receiving content from lectures and reading. “Model-based inquiry” aims to model, in the classroom, what scientists do in their research. In model-based inquiry, students construct models or hypotheses to explain phenomena, and then are provided data to determine for themselves the most likely explanation. 

Scholarly Interests
  • Plasticity and Evolution
  • Maternal Effects
  • Animal Personality
  • Animal Welfare Science

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My primary teaching responsibilities these days are in the fields of Zoology and Ecology:
TBIOL 306 Animal Behavior
TBIOL 307 Applied Entomology
TBIOL 320 Vertebrate Anatomy and Diversity
TBIOL 340 Ecology and its Applications
TBIOL 434 Conservation Biology in Practice
TBIOL 438 Environmental Science: Marine Invertebrates
TBIOL 452 Plant-Insect Interactions

Publication Date Bibliographic Citation

Davis JM (2017), Currencies and Constraints. In: Shackelford TK and Weekes-Shackelford VA (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science. Springer International


Davis, J.M., Coogan, L. and Papaj, D.R. (In Review) Big maggots dig deeper: Size dependent larval dispersal in flies. Oecologia 


Howe, M., Okello, M.M., and J.M. Davis (2013) Variation in the displacement of ungulate species from human infrastructure. African Zoology.48: 159-166. 


Pasqualone, A. and J.M. Davis (2011) The use of performance information in the reproductive decisions of flies. Animal Behavior. 82: 281-284. 


Davis, J.M., C.R. Nufio, and D.R. Papaj (2011) Quality or competition: Why increase resource acceptance in the presence of conspecifics? Behavioral Ecology. 22:730-727. 


Davis, J. M. (2010) Habitat Imprinting. In: Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior (Ed. by D. B. Michael & M. Janice), pp. 33-37. Oxford: Academic Press. 83:363-382. 


Davis, J.M. (2008) Variation in the influence of natal experience on habitat choices. Quarterly Review of Biology. 83:363-382.