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Sean O'Donnell, PhD

Sean O'Donnell, PhD

Professor
Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science
Department of Biology
Office: PISB 321
so356@drexel.edu
Phone: 215.571.4177
Lab Location: PISB 310 E
Lab Phone: 215.571.4198
Additional Sites: O'Donnell Lab

Education:

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, NSF (DEB-9303244) and University of California/NSF Animal Behavior Research Training Grant. University of California-Davis, 1993-1996
  • PhD, Zoology and Entomology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1990-1993
  • MS, Entomology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1989
  • BS, Biology Cum Laude, Saint Joseph's University (Philadelphia PA), 1986

Research Interests:

  • Brain plasticity and the evolution of brain structure
  • Social behavior and division of labor, especially of eusocial Hymenoptera
  • Thermal ecology and thermal physiology
  • Network models of social group organization
  • Behavior and ecology of bird-army ant interactions

Selected Publications:

  • O’Donnell S., S.J. Bulova, S. DeLeon, P. Khodak, S. Miller, & E. Sulger. 2015. Distributed cognition and social brains: reductions in mushroom body investment accompanied the origins of sociality in wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Proceedings of the Royal Society B 282: 20150791.
  • Baudier K.M., A. E. Mudd, S.C. Erickson, & S. O’Donnell. 2015. Microhabitat and body size effects on heat tolerance: implications for responses to climate change (army ants: Formicidae, Ecitoninae). Journal of Animal Ecology 84: 1322-1330.
  • Arcilla N., L.H. Hollbech, & S. O'Donnell. 2015. Severe declines of understory birds follow illegal logging in Upper Guinea forests of Ghana, West Africa. Biological Conservation 188: 41-49.
  • McCann S., T. Jones, O. Moeri, C. Scott, S. O’Donnell & G. Gries. 2015. Red-throated Caracara, a falconid raptor, rivals predatory impact of army ants on social wasps. Insectes Sociaux 62: 101-108.
  • Rehan S.M, S.J. Bulova, & S. O’Donnell. 2015. Cumulative effects of foraging behavior and social dominance on brain development in a facultatively social bee (Ceratina australensis). Brain, Behavior and Evolution 85: 117-124.
  • O’Donnell S., A. Kumar & C.J. Logan. 2014. Do Nearctic migrant birds compete with residents at army ant raids? A geographical and seasonal analysis. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 126: 474-487.
  • Sulger E., N. Mcaloon, S.J. Bulova, J. Sapp & S. O’Donnell. 2014. Evidence for adaptive brain tissue reduction in obligate social parasites (Polyergus mexicanus) relative to their hosts (Formica fusca). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 113: 415-422.
  • Baudier K.M., S.D. Kaschock-Marenda, N. Patel, K.L. Diangelus, S. O’Donnell & D.R. Marenda. 2014. Erythritol, a non-nutritive sugar alcohol sweetener and the main component of Truvia®, is a palatable ingested insecticide. PLOS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0098949
  • O’Donnell S., M.R. Clifford, S. Deleon, C. Papa, N. Zahedi & S.J. Bulova. 2014. A test of neuroecological predictions using paperwasp caste differences in brain structure (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology 68: 529-536.
  • Soare T.W., A. Kumar, K.A. Naish & S. O’Donnell. 2014. Genetic evidence for habitat effects on colony dispersal in the army ant Eciton burchellii. Molecular Ecology 23: 96-109.

Current Funding

  • Lead PI on Eppley Foundation for Research, Toward developing erythritol as a novel human-safe insecticide (Daniel Marenda co-PI), 2015-16.
  • PI on National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration grant: Using automated radio tracking to study avian exploitation of Neotropical army ants, 2014-2015.
  • Co-PI on Wistar-Morris fund grant (awarded 2014, T. Livshutz PI): Neuroecology and pollination biology of SE Asian social wasps.
  • Co-PI on Wistar-Morris fund grant (awarded 2014, D. Velinsky PI): Using stable isotopes to test the role of nutrition in division of labor.