Denise M. Thompson, Ph.D. student.

Major advisor: Ron Van Den Bussche

Reproduction, Fitness, Life History Theory, Behavioral Ecology, Genetics, Conservation, Turtles

M.S. Biology 2013, Missouri State University



Specific Interests

I am interested in understanding the proximate and ultimate causes that shape reproductive success and fitness. My Master’s thesis research focused on three critical aspects of alligator snapping turtle reproduction, including maternal investment, nesting behavior and ecology, and nest predation patterns. For my dissertation research I will use an integrated approach, applying field studies and genetic techniques, to study fitness patterns in a captive population of alligator snapping turtles.


  • Thompson DM and DB Ligon. Predator responses to conspicuous prey: raccoon predation patterns on alligator snapping turtle nests. (Submitted).
  • Ligon DB, K Backues, BM Fillmore, DM Thompson. Ontogeny of gonad and genital morphology in juvenile alligator snapping turtles (Macrochelys temminckii). (In review).
  • Miller JL, DM Thompson, J Heywood, and DB Ligon. Nest-site selection among reintroduced Macrochelys temminckii. Southwestern Naturalist (In press).