Marius van der Merwe
Born and raised in South Africa, I am now a biology professor at a public teaching university in Utah. I love working with undergraduate students in the wonderful deserts and mountains surrounding our town. My formal training was in behavioral ecology and for my dissertation work I studied the foraging behavior of squirrels to gain insights into food value, habitat use, the risk of predation, and coexistence of animal competitors. More recently I have become interested in the ecology of cliffs, and more specifically, the ecology of cliff-dwelling lichens. Undergraduate students that take my ecology classes do a variety of field based projects, with an emphasis on ecological survey techniques. For undergraduate research I offer projects ranging from field-based optimal foraging experiments, animal activity (as measured by camera traps or live traps), to base-line surveys of cliff vegetation.