Kenneth L. Cramer
I chose ecology as my focus because I loved spending time in natural habitats and wilderness areas experiencing the lives of animals. Naturally, that led to an interest in environmental science and protecting our natural resources. Once I entered graduate school and began teaching labs, I knew I wanted to pursue a teaching career.
MC is special because it allows me share my excitement and enthusiasm for the diversity of life on earth with students in a way that can transform their lives. It allows me to explore environmental issues from multiple discplinary perspectives, which is essential to solving real world problems. It also enables me to pursue a wide variety of interests beyond biology and ecology. For instance, the Integrated Studies program gives me opportunities to branch out and teach in others areas of interest, such as the intersection between science, philosophy and religion. I have also been able to take students on travel programs to experience wilderness ecosystems in the boundary waters of northern Minnesota, the Grand Canyon and deserts of the Southwest, the rainforests of Panama, and the Galapagos islands. I also am the on-campus adviser for off-campus programs in Costa Rica, Tanzania, and Brazil where students can study a variety of topics in biology for a full semester.
My research focuses generally on animal behavior and ecology, with attention to environmental issues. Specifically, my recent work has involved spiders, particularly the behavior and distribution of the venomous brown recluse spider. Currently, my lab is focusing on testing natural repellants for the brown recluse.
Selected Research and/or Creative Work:
Cramer, K. L. and R. S. Vetter. 2014 (in press). Distribution of the brown recluse spider (Araneae: Sicariidae) in Illinois and Iowa. Journal of Medical Entomology.
Cramer, K. L. 2008. Are brown recluse spiders (Loxosceles reclusa) scavengers? The influence of predator satiation, prey size and prey quality. Journal of Arachnology 36(1):140-144.
Cramer, K. L. and A. Maywright. 2008. Cold temperature tolerance and distribution of the brown recluse spider Loxosceles reclusa (Araneae, Sicariidae) in Illinois. Journal of Arachnology 36(1):136-139.
Cramer, K. L. 2003. The influence of precipitation change on spiders as top predators in the detrital community. Chapter 20 in North American Temperate Deciduous Forest Responses to Changing Precipitation Regimes, Ecological Studies vol. 166, ed. P. J. Hanson and S. D. Wullschleger. Springer, New York, NY, 472 pp.
Courses Taught: Education:
BIOL 101 Life on Earth
BIOL 155 Intro. to Evolution, Ecology and Diversity
BIOL 315 Conservation Biology
BIOL 345 Animal Behavior
INTG 304 Reflections: Beyond Belief
INTG 402 Citizenship: Green Initiatives
ENVI 103 Intro. to Environmental Science
INTG 101 Intro. to the Liberal Arts
B.S. Univ. of Missouri 1979
M.S. Univ. of Oklahoma 1983
Ph.D. Utah State University 1988
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