Dr. Jason Davis


Office: 172 Center for the Sciences
Lab: 166 Center for the Sciences
Box 6931, Radford University
Radford, VA 24142-6931
Tel:(540) 831-6290
E-mail: jdavis319@radford.edu

Courses Taught:

  • BIOL 310/311 – Human Structure and Function
  • BIOL 322 – Anatomy & Physiology for Pre-Nursing Majors
  • BIOL 351 – Comparative Animal Physiology
  • BIOL 434 – Evolutionary Developmental Biology
  • BIOL 478 – Endocrinology
  • BIOL 460 – Senior Seminar (Species & the Species Concept; The Physiology of Human Modification; The Biology of Superheroes; The Biology of Death)
  • BIOL 481 – Radford Amazonian Research Expedition 
  • BIOL 489 – Darwin and Victorian Science
  • BIOL 491 – Independent Research
  • HNRS 310 – Special topics in Honors (Evolution the Board Game; Talking Controversy in Science)


I’m interested in how organisms cope with a changing world; how they survive disturbance and bounce back from damage and disruption. Specifically, I’m interested in integrative resilience processes; how the actions and interactions of different physiological and behavioral systems working across levels of organization can help animals to cope with and prepare for major life challenges, like development, reproduction and stressful situations.

Projects that students in my lab are currently working on include:

PASSER (Programmable Automated System for Songbird Ecobehavioral Research), a computerized interactive bird feeder/bird box that can interact with wild and captive birds both by recording data on its own over long periods of time and by presenting stimuli directly to the birds without direct human control. In collaboration with Dr. Sarah Foltz,  Dr. Tara Pelletier, and Dr. Andrew Ray.

·       Physiological and behavioral resilience to acute and chronic disruption in wild songbirds, with a focus on invasive vs. native species across a range of habitats.

·       Exploring underlying factors (physiological, experiential and social) that influence responses to novel stressful  stimuli in captive zebra finches. This project uses a computer-automated interactive “scary feeder” that presents images and sounds to birds during feeding events and records their responses and uses adaptive computing/genetic algorithms to competitively evolve novel stimuli during interactions with animals.

·       Exploring how social system parameters (#, sex, behavioral syndrome combinations) can modulate stress reactivity and learning behavior in captive populations of zebra finches

·       Development of computer-based evolutionary models using genetic algorithms to both parse data and simulate evolutionary patterns.

Some of my past research I’ve done has explored: sex-related differences in hormonal patterns in parenting bluebirds, interaction of stimuli traits, sex differences and stress state on neophobia in songbirds, hormones controlling sociality in spiders, differences in neuroendocrinology and receptor dynamics in native and invasive songbirds in Tibet, variation in hormone receptor patterns in expanding populations of songbirds in the Pacific Northwest, and species variation in natural fear and stress responses in old world monkeys. In my lab we use a wide range of techniques to study and experimentally manipulate physiology, including ELISA hormone assays, automated behavioral tracking systems, immunohistological assays, and neurohormonal modulation.

I am also a part of the RARE (Radford Amazonian Research Expedition) program and the Associate Director of Radford’s Honors College.

If you think you might be interested in learning more about the research projects in my lab please feel free to email me!