DCSIMG

Dr. Meagan L. Harless

Assistant Professor of Biology
Phone: (908) 852-1400 ext. 2290
Email: harlessm@centenarycollege.edu

Academic Accomplishments

  • Ph.D., Michigan Technological University, 2012
  • M.S., Loma Linda University, 2007 
  • B.A., Hiram College, 2001

Biography

I am a native of Northeastern Ohio and have travelled extensively across the U.S. My career as a field biologist has taken me some of the most beautiful places in the country- from searching for Black-throated Blue Warblers in Great Smoky Mountains National Park to monitoring the recovery of Trumpeter Swan populations in the gorgeous upper peninsula of Michigan at Seney National Wildlife Refuge to examining the land use and social structure of a population of endangered Desert Tortoises in the Mojave Desert- and many more places in between.  

My academic career has included stints as an Eagle, a Terrier, a Lion, a Husky, and now a Cyclone. I teach courses in general biology, environmental science, ecology, human nutrition, reproduction and sexuality, as well as genetics. My courses are designed to introduce non-majors to the discipline of science in a hands-on environment as well as to allow biology and environmental science majors to develop the skills they need to succeed in their field. I teach classes on campus as well as at the Environmental Science Center on the grounds of the Charles O. Hayford Hatchery adjacent to main campus. 

Research

My research interests are broad and include questions of ecotoxicology, herpetology (no, I do not study herpes), and community ecology. I am particularly interested in examining the vital role amphibians and reptiles play in freshwater communities. My research questions aim to identify these roles and address specific threats to the health of amphibian and reptile communities. My doctoral research examined the lethal and sublethal impacts of exposure to various chemical deicers (i.e., road salt and others) to larval amphibians. Our research demonstrated that larval amphibians responded very differently to a range of chemical deicers and most of these products reduced the fitness of larval amphibians during short term exposure. In addition, long-term exposure to low levels of NaCl also decreased the fitness of two native amphibians, Lithobates sylvatica and L. clamitans. Future research at Centenary will address these issues in a community context using a range of freshwater species. Stay tuned for more details!

Published Works

Harless, M.L., C.J. Huckins, J.B. Grant, and T.G. Pypker. 2011.
     Effects of sixchemical deicers on larval wood frogs (Lithobates
     sylvatica). EnvironmentalToxicology and Chemistry 30:
     1637–1641. 

Harless, M.L., A.D. Walde, D.K. Delaney, L.L. Pater, and
     W.K. Hayes. 2010. Sampling Considerations for Improving
     Home Range Estimates from Radio-telemetry Studies
.
     Herpetological Conservation and Biology 5(3):374–387. 

Harless, M. L., A.D. Walde, D.K. Delaney, L.L. Pater, and
     W.K. Hayes. 2009. Home Range, Spatial Overlap, and
     Burrow Use of the Desert Tortoise in the West Mojave
     Desert
. Copeia. 2009: 378-389 

Walde, A.D., D.K. Delaney, M.L. Harless, and L.L. Pater.
     2007. Osteophagy by the Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii).
     Southwestern Naturalist 52:147-149. 

Walde, A.D., M.L. Harless, D.K. Delaney, L.L. Pater. 2006.
     Note: Anthropogenic threats to the desert tortoise
     (Gopherus agassizii)
: Litter in the Mojave Desert.
     Herpetological Review 37:77-78.