Faculty Biography

Erin McCullough

Erin McCullough, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biology
Department of Biology
Clark University
Worcester, MA 01610-1477

Phone: 1-508-793-7346
Email: ermccullough@clarku.edu

Curriculum Vitae
Research Laboratory Website


B.S. University of Puget Sound
Ph.D. University of Montana

Current Research and Teaching

I am an evolutionary biologist and behavioral ecologist. I am fascinated by morphological and behavioral diversity, and my research aims to understand the selective pressures that drive (and constrain) this variation. I am particularly interested in the evolution of reproductive traits, and how and why the strength and pattern of sexual selection differs among populations and species. My research uses diverse and integrated approaches to explore the evolutionary forces that give rise to biodiversity at different levels of biological organization - from proteins to structures to populations to species.

I teach Animal Behavior in the Fall and Evolution in the Spring. 

Selected publications

McCullough, E. L., Whittington, E., Singh, A., Pitnick, S., Wolfner, M. F., and Dorus, S. 2022. The life history of Drosophila sperm involves molecular continuity between male and female reproductive tracts. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 119: e2119899119. 

McCullough, E. L. and O’Brien, D. M. 2022. Variation in allometry along the weapon-signal continuum. 2022. Evolutionary Ecology 35: 591-604.

McCullough, E. L., Chou, C.-C., Backwell, P. R. Y. 2020. Cost of an elaborate trait: a trade-off between attracting females and maintaining a clean ornament. Behavioral Ecology 31: 1218-1223.

McCullough, E. L., McDonough, C. E., Pitnick, S., and Dorus, S. 2020. Quantitative proteomics reveals rapid divergence in the postdating response of female reproductive tracts among sibling species. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 287: 20201030.

McCullough, E. L., Verdeflor, L., Weinsztok, A., Wiles, J. R., and Dorus, S. 2020. Exploratory activities for understanding evolutionary relationships depicted by phylogenetic trees: united but diverse. American Biology Teacher 82: 333-337.

McCullough, E. L., Buzatto, B. A., and Simmons, L. W. 2018. Population density mediates the interaction between pre- and postdating sexual selection. Evolution 72: 893-905.

McCullough, E. L., Buzatto, B. A., and Simmons, L. W. 2017. Benefits of polyandry: molecular evidence from field-caught dung beetles. Molecular Ecology 26: 3546-3555.

McCullough, E. L., Miller, C. W., and Emlen, D. J. 2016. Why sexually selected weapons are not ornaments. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 31: 742-751.

McCullough, E. L. and Simmons, L. W. 2016. Selection on male physical performance during male-male competition and female choice. Behavioral Ecology 27: 1288-1295.

McCullough, E. L., Ledger, K. J.*, O’Brien, D. M., and Emlen, D. J. 2015. Variation in the allometry of exaggerated rhinoceros beetle horns. Animal Behaviour 109: 133-140.

McCullough, E. L., Tobalske, B. W., and Emlen, D. J. 2014. Structural adaptations to diverse fighting styles in sexually selected weapons. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111: 14484-14488.

McCullough, E. L. 2014. Mechanical limits to maximum weapon size in a giant rhinoceros beetle. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 281: 20140696.

McCullough, E. L. and Emlen, D. J. 2013. Evaluating the costs of a sexually selected weapon: big horns at a small price. Animal Behaviour 86: 977-985.

McCullough, E. L. and Tobalske, B. W. 2013. Elaborate horns in a giant rhinoceros beetle incur negligible aerodynamic costs. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 280: 20130197.

McCullough, E. L. 2013. Using radio telemetry to assess movement patterns in a giant rhinoceros beetle: Are there differences among majors, minors, and females? Journal of Insect Behavior 26: 51-56.