Sean O'Donnell, Ph.D.
Interim Department Head of Biology (2019-2020)
Professor of Biodiversity Earth & Environmental Science (BEES) and Biology
Papadakis Integrated Science Building, room 321, 3245 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia PA 19104 USA
O'Donnell lab news
Sean, Ginny Caponera and Karmi Oxman recently spent two weeks researching the thermal physiology of ants in the Negev Desert in Israel, funded by a Stein Fellowship. We collaborated with Dr. Itamat Giladi of Ben Gurion University.
Katie Fiocca mentored a team of three Drexel and Haverford College undergraduates for field research in Monteverde, Costa Rica.
Congratulations to PhD candidates Meghan Barrett and Katherine Fiocca for receiving the 2019 Drexel Graduate College Award for Teaching Assistant Excellence; this was Meghan's second award.
Sean taught a Drexel field ecology course in Ecuador in March, followed by work with a natural history film crew in Amazonian Peru in April.
PhD students Virginia Caponera (talk) and Katherine Fiocca (poster) presented at the 2019 Drexel Emergring Graduate Scholars Conference.
-See my Youtube video postings! Search for MrEciton
Research in the O'Donnell lab addresses questions at multiple levels of biological organization (individuals, social groups, and ecological assemblages) and across levels of causation (genetics, organismal and social physiology, nervous system development and plasticity, and the evolution of brains and behavior). Much of our work involves a strong field component; recent tropical field research sites include Costa Rica, Ecuador, Israel and Taiwan. The lab uses a diverse array of social insects (army ants, paper wasps) and Neotropical birds as study organisms. Ongoing projects include:
Neurobiology and behavior- comparative analyses of brain evolution in arthropods; social insect caste differences in brain development
Thermal physiology of social insects- species and population differences in temperature tolerances across landscapes; individual differences within social groups; group-level thermoregulation
Ecology & behavior of mixed-species foraging groups- species differences in bird attendance of army ant raids; social and ecological interactions among birds at shared resources
Population genetics of the army ant Eciton burchellii, examining gene flow and landscape effects
Thermal and sensory physiology in alternative-tactic mating systems (Meghan Barrett, Ph.D. research)
Nutritional physiology and chemical signalling in social insects (Katherine Fiocca, Ph.D. research)
Human- and mammal-safe insect control- testing effectiveness of the polyalcohol sweetener erythritol as an ingested insecticide in social and solitary insects
Mathematical models of communication and division of labor in organized biological systems
GoogleScholar metrics (10 September 2019) 4350 citations, H-index 35, i-10 index 82
Research Gate profile: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sean_Odonnell4
Web page designed and produced by Sean O'Donnell