Matthew B. Lovern, Associate Professor.Animal Behavior, Behavioral endocrinology, Maternal effects.
PhD, 2000, Virginia Tech
I am interested in animal behavior and the developmental, physiological, and social factors that can influence its expression. Current and planned research focuses on maternal steroid deposition into yolk as a potential means of influencing offspring phenotype. For this exciting work, we use the green anole lizard (Anolis carolinensis) as a model organism, employing behavioral, physiological, and histological techniques to address our research questions. For example, we know that the steroids testosterone and corticosterone are present in anole egg yolks, but many questions remain. Do maternal phenotype and environment cause variation in steroid deposition into eggs? Is such variation meaningful, causing differences in offspring development? Do phenotypic differences observed in hatchlings or juveniles persist into adulthood?
I also am keenly interested in science education and scientific literacy, particularly as applied to evolutionary biology and persistent political (NOT scientific) attempts to undermine its teaching. All of my courses contain discussions of the nature of science (vs. non-science and pseudoscience) and scientific progress. As a way of knowing, science is uniquely suited to continually advance and refine our understanding of the world around us. One of the most thoroughly documented cases of scientific progress can be found in the case of evolution, the importance of which to the topic at hand is consistently presented and considered in my courses. For information and resources concerning science education and evolution, please see our Zoology Department Statement on Evolution.
- Lovern, M. B., and Adams, A. L. 2008. The effects of diet on plasma and yolk steroids in lizards (Anolis carolinensis). Integrative and Comparative Biology 48:428-436.
- Wack, C. L., Fox, S. F., Hellgren, E. C., and Lovern, M. B. 2008. Effects of sex, age, and season on plasma steroids in free-ranging Texas horned lizards (Phrynosoma cornutum). General and Comparative Endocrinology 155:589-596.
- Warner, D. A., Lovern, M. B., and Shine, R. 2007. Maternal nutrition affects reproductive output and sex allocation in a lizard with environmental sex determination. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 274:883-890.
- Chang, J. L., Doughty, S., Wade, J., and Lovern, M. B. 2006. Sexual dimorphism in the second-to-fourth digit length ratio in green anoles, Anolis carolinensis (Squamata: Polychrotidae), from the southeastern United States. Canadian Journal of Zoology 84:1489-1494.
- Husak, J. F., Fox, S. F., Lovern, M. B., and Van Den Bussche, R. A. 2006. Faster lizards sire more offspring: sexual selection on whole-animal performance. Evolution 60:2122-2130.
- Lovern, M. B., Holmes, M. M., Fuller, C. O., and Wade, J. 2004. Effects of testosterone on the development of neuromuscular systems and their target tissues involved in courtship and copulation in green anoles (Anolis carolinensis). Hormones and Behavior 45:295-305.
- Lovern, M. B., Holmes, M. M., and Wade, J. 2004. The green anole, Anolis carolinensis: a reptilian model for laboratory studies of reproductive morphology and behavior. Journal of the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research 45:54-64.
- Lovern, M. B., and Wade, J. 2003. Sex steroids in green anoles (Anolis carolinensis): uncoupled maternal plasma and yolking follicle concentrations, potential embryonic steroidogenesis, and evolutionary implications. General and Comparative Endocrinology 134:109-115.
- Lovern, M. B., and Jenssen, T. A. 2003. Form emergence and fixation of headbobbing displays in the lizard, Anolis carolinensis: a reptilian model of signal ontogeny. Journal of Comparative Psychology 117:133-141.