Monmouth / Academics / Faculty Profile

Kenneth L. Cramer

Academic Biography:
I chose ecology as my focus because I loved spending time in natural habitats and wilderness areas. The amazing diversity and complexity of animals has always fascinated me. Naturally, that led to an interest in environmental science and protecting our natural resources. Once I entered graduate school and began teaching biology labs, I knew I wanted to pursue a teaching career.

Teaching at Monmouth allows me to share my excitement and enthusiasm for the diversity of life on earth with students in a way that can hopefully impact their lives positively. It allows me to explore environmental issues from multiple disciplinary perspectives, which is essential to solving real world problems. Teaching at a liberal arts college 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 fortunate 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 Costa Rica, and the Galapagos islands. I also advise students interested in off-campus programs such as those in Costa Rica, Tanzania, Botswana and Brazil where students can study a variety of topics in biology or environmental studies for a full semester.

Research Interests:
My research focuses generally on animal behavior and ecology. For more than a decade my work has focused on spiders, in particular the behavior and distribution of the venomous brown recluse spider. Students in my lab have studied temperature tolerance, natural repellents, olfaction, and many other aspects of brown recluse behavior.

Selected Research and/or Creative Work:
Cramer, K. L. and L. M. Zagar. 2016. High temperature tolerance of the brown recluse spider (Araneae, Sicariidae): potential for pest control. Journal of Economic Entomology 109:284-287

Cramer, K. L. 2015. Activity patterns of a synanthropic population of the brown recluse spider, Loxosceles reclusa (Araneae, Sicariidae) with observations on feeding and mating. Journal of Arachnology 43:67-71.

Cramer, K. L. and R. S. Vetter. 2014. Distribution of the brown recluse spider (Araneae: Sicariidae) in Illinois and Iowa. Journal of Medical Entomology 51(1):46-49.

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.

Courses Taught:
BIOL 101 Life on Earth
BIOL 155 Intro. to Ecology, Evolution 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 Studies & Sustainability
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

Contact Info:
Office: Rm 243 Ctr for Sci & Busi