Marlboro College

Academics Jaime Tanner - Biology

With a doctoral degree in both zoology and ecology, evolutionary biology and behavior, Jaime Tanner has spent much of her academic career studying spotted hyenas in Kenya's Masai Mara Game Reserve. In addition to her field research in Kenya, Jaime taught a study-abroad program on the behavioral ecology of African mammals. She also received the College of Natural Science Excellence-In-Teaching Award at Michigan State University.

Teaching Philosophy

"I strive to equip students with the tools they'll need to answer questions about the natural world," says Jaime, who brings her appreciation of experiential and student-driven learning into the classroom. "I want them to know how to think critically about science and how to ask good scientific questions." She conducts discussion-based classes and works from real-life and field examples as much as possible. In 2010, Jaime's Biology of Mammals class joined her in Kenya to observe mammals in their natural habitat and to understand the relationships between humans and wildlife in and around Masai Mara.

Scholarly Activities

"My research takes an integrative approach, combining behavioral, morphological and performance data to understand developmental changes in hyenas and other members of the Order Carnivora," says Jaime. Her field studies have included measuring the biting force of hyenas, not a task for the faint of heart, and comparing skull structure in hyenas of assorted ages. This research is part of a growing body of literature demonstrating that the relationship between morphology and performance changes as an animal grows and faces different challenges. In addition to her own publications, Jaime is a reviewer for Behaviour, Journal of Mammalogy, Journal of Morphology and Canadian Journal of Zoology.

Selected Publications

B.S., University of Massachusetts, 1998; Ph.D., Michigan State University, 2007  Darwin Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Massachusetts, 2008; Marlboro College, 2009 -


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