Jaime Tanner

Biology, Environmental Studies

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. At Marlboro, Jaime encourages her her students to find their own passions in Biology and then to seek out opportunities to gain first-hand experience conducting research. She often extends her classroom beyond its four walls into the forests surrounding campus in her biology, general ecology, winter ecology and many other courses.

Jamie Tanner


  • B.S., University of Massachusetts, 1998
  • Ph.D., Michigan State University, 2007
  • Darwin Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Massachusetts, 2008-2010

At Marlboro since


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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. “My goal is for my students to know how to think critically about science and how to ask good scientific questions.” She also has a passion for bringing students into the field to explore other ecosystems in places such as Kenya, Yellowstone National Park and Iceland in winter.

Scholarly Activities

Jaime’s research takes an integrative approach, combining behavioral, morphological and performance data to understand developmental changes in members of the Order Carnivora and other mammals. 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 selective pressures throughout their life history. 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

  • “Ontogenetic change in skull morphology and mechanical advantage in the spotted hyena, (Crocuta crocuta).” Tanner, J.B., M.L. Zelditch, B.L. Lundrigan & K.E. Holekamp. Journal of Morphology, 271 (2010): 353-365.
  • “Post-weaning maternal effects and the evolution of female dominance in the spotted hyena.” Watts, H.E., J.B. Tanner, B.L. Lundrigan & K.E. Holekamp. Proceedings of the Royal Society B276 (2009): 2291-2298.
  • “Of Arcs and Vaults: The biomechanics of bone-cracking in spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta).” Tanner, J.B., E.R. Dumont, S.T. Sakai, B.L. Lundrigan & K.E. Holekamp. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 95 (2008): 246-255.
  • “Ontogenetic variation in the play behavior of spotted hyenas.” Tanner, J.B., L. Smale & K.E. Holekamp. Journal of Developmental Processes 2(2)(2007):5-30.


(a mostly random selection of Marlboro microdestinations)