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Dr. Michael R. Maxwell

Dr. Michael R. Maxwell
Department Chair
National University
(858) 642-8413

Dr. Maxwell earned a PhD in Animal Behavior at UC Davis, and a BA in Biology with a specialization in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at UC San Diego. He conducted postdoctoral research at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (San Diego, CA), the Marine Biological Laboratory (Woods Hole, MA), and the National Marine Fisheries Service as a National Research Council scholar. Before joining National University as full-time faculty, he taught courses at the University of San Diego, San Diego State University, and Boston University.

At National University, Dr. Maxwell regularly teaches General Zoology (BIO 412 & 412A), Ecology (BIO 330), Evolution (BIO 310), and Natural History of California (BIO 450). He has also taught courses such as Animal Behavior (BIO 420) and Biodiversity (BIO 411). Dr. Maxwell encourages students to conduct independent research projects with NU faculty, and welcomes inquiries about these projects from students.

As a behavioral ecologist and zoologist, Dr. Maxwell has examined diverse topics and questions in biology. Currently, he investigates the mating behavior and ecology of praying mantises in California. Previous projects include mating behavior and paternity in squid, population dynamics and fishery management of squid, population dynamics of baleen whales, and behavioral studies of primates in the field (olive baboons in Kenya) and in captivity (mandrills and golden monkeys).

Dr. Maxwell's current research examines reproductive physiology and behavior in a California praying mantis (Stagmomantis limbata). In this species, the female may cannibalize the male during or after mating, potentially converting the male's body mass into eggs. Females, however, mate with multiple males in nature, which casts doubt on a cannibalized male's paternity. Dr. Maxwell is investigating the use of genetic markers to determine the fertilization success of cannibalized males. Dr. Maxwell also collaborates with international scientists to examine peculiarities of mating behavior in other arthropods.

Selected publications:

Maxwell, M.R., K.L. Barry and P.M. Johns. 2010. Examinations of female pheromone use in two praying mantids, Stagmomantis limbata and Tenodera aridifolia sinensis (Mantodea: Mantidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 103: 120-127.

Buresch, K.C., M.R. Maxwell, M.R. Cox and R.T. Hanlon. 2009. Temporal dynamics of mating and paternity in the squid Loligo pealeii. Marine Ecology Progress Series 387: 197-203.

Prokop, P. and M.R. Maxwell. 2008. Interactions between multiple forms of nuptial feeding in the wood cricket Nemobius sylvestris (Bosc): dual spermatophores and male forewings. Ethology 114: 1173-1182.

Maxwell, M.R., L.D. Jacobson and R.J. Conser. 2005. Eggs-per-recruit model for management of the California market squid (Loligo opalescens) fishery. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science 62: 1640-1650.

Buresch, K.M., R.T. Hanlon, M.R. Maxwell and S. Ring. 2001. Microsatellite DNA markers indicate a high frequency of multiple paternity within individual field-collected egg capsules of the squid Loligo pealeii. Marine Ecology Progress Series 210: 161-165.

Maxwell, M.R. 1999. Mating behavior. In The praying mantids. F.R. Prete, H. Wells, P.H. Wells and L.E. Hurd (eds.). Johns Hopkins University Press; Baltimore, MD. pp. 69-89.

Maxwell, M.R. 1998. Lifetime mating opportunities and male mating behaviour in sexually cannibalistic praying mantids. Animal Behaviour 55: 1011-1028.


Ph.D. Animal Behavior,
University of California, (Davis), 1995

BA, Biology (Ecology, Evolution, Behavior),
University of California (San Diego), 1989