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Vertebrate Collection Staff

Dr. Barbara Ballentine

Dr. Barbara Ballentine

Associate Professor, College of Arts and Sciences

About Dr. Ballentine:

Barbara Ballentine, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Biology. Before joining WCU, Dr. Ballentine earned a BS in Biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1996), a MS in Zoology at Auburn University (2000) and a PhD in Biology at Duke University (2007). She worked as a post-doc at the University of Miami and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. Dr. Ballentine joined WCU in 2013.

Dr. Ballentine’s research explores evolutionary mechanisms underlying phenotypic variation and population divergence in animals, primarily birds. She uses integrative and experimental approaches with both field and laboratory studies to specifically addresses 1) how sexual selection favors reliable mating signals, 2) how natural selection constrains the expression of mating signals, 3) mechanisms of phenotypic (morphological and behavioral) variation between populations, and 4) consequences of variation in reproductive behavior on reproductive success.

Britton, S and B. Ballentine Submitted 2019. Stage specific response to a threat in a cavity nesting bird. Ecology and Evolution Krippel J, Ballentine B, Hyman J. 2017.

Reproductive Consequences of Aggression in a Territorial Songbird. Ethology 123:261–269. doi:10.1111/eth.12588.

Greenberg, R., A. G. Wilson, B. J. Olsen, B. Ballentine, N. R. McInerney and R. C. Fleischer. 2016 Geographic population structure and subspecific boundaries in a tidal marsh sparrow. Conservation Genetics 17:603-613.

Ballentine, B., K. W. Gkoo, and R. Greenberg. 2013. Mechanisms of song divergence between swamp sparrow subspecies. Behaviour 150:1165.

Ballentine, B., B. Horton, E. T. Brown, and R. Greenberg. 2013. Divergent selection on bill morphology contributes to non-random mating between swamp sparrow subspecies. Animal Behaviour 86:467-473.

Searcy, W. A., R. C. Anderson, B. Ballentine, and S. Nowicki. 2013. Limits to reliability in avian aggressive signals. Behaviour 150:1129.

Angelier, F, B. Ballentine, R. L. Holberton, P. P. Marra, and R. Greenberg. 2011. What drives variation in the corticosterone stress response between subspecies? A common garden experiment of swamp sparrows (Melospiza georgiana). Journal of Evolutionary Biology: 24:1274-1283.

Ballentine, B. and R. Greenberg. 2010. Common garden experiment reveals genetic control of phenotypic divergence between swamp sparrow subspecies that lack divergence in neutral genotypes. PLoS One 5:e10229.

Ballentine, B. 2009. The ability to perform physically challenging songs predicts age and size in male swamps sparrows (Melospiza georgiana). Animal Behaviour 77:973-978.

Ballentine, B. 2006. Natural selection influences the evolution of a signal used in mate choice. Evolution. 60: 1936-1944.

Dr. Aimee Rockhill

Dr. Aimee Rockhill

Assistant Professor, Natural Resource Conservation and Management 

About Dr. Rockhill:

Dr. Rockhill currently teaches wildlife management and geospatial science courses at Western Carolina University; placing a strong emphasis on integrating teaching, research, and service. Her broad research interest is in better understanding anthropomorphic disturbances on vertebrate population dynamics. More specifically, Dr. Rockhill is interested in understanding how our land-use practices impact predator/prey dynamics, resource partitioning of sympatric carnivores, and spatio-temporal use of land by wildlife.




PhD Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology; North Carolina State University; Raleigh, N.C. Dissertation: The ecology of bobcats (Lynx rufus) in coastal North Carolina. Advisors: Roger Powell and Chris DePerno August 2013

MS Forestry and Environmental Resources; North Carolina State University; Raleigh, N.C. Thesis: Imputation of Missing Observations in Forest Inventories Advisor: Bronson Bullock May 2008

BA Environmental Science; Plattsburgh State University of New York; Plattsburgh, N.Y. December 1998 SUNY Overseas Academic Program; University of Queensland; Brisbane, Australia May 1998

Selected Publications

Rockhill, A. P., C. S. DePerno, Powell, R. A. (2016) The efficiency of survey techniques used for monitoring meso-mammals in coastal North Carolina. Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 15, Number 1 (2016): 175–187.

Rockhill, A. P., N. Guldager, D. Vargas Kretsinger, B. Wylie, M. Coan. (2016) Estimating the forage potential for moose (Alces alces) in high and low density areas of Alaska. 23rd Annual Conference of The Wildlife Society, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Rockhill, A. P., C. S. DePerno, G. P. Catts, and R. A. Powell. (2016) A temporal model to assess cropland as dispersal habitat for bobcat (Lynx rufus). 23rd Annual Conference of The Wildlife Society, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Rockhill, A. P., D. V. Kretsinger, and N. Guldager. (2015) A comparison of low and high density moose habitats. USFWS 2015 Northern Biologist Meeting, Fairbanks, Alaska.

Harris, F., A. Martin, S. A. Suresh, B. McKenna, and A. Rockhill. (2015) Koyukuk River chum salmon radio telemetry proportional distribution and abundance estimation with mark recapture sampling. Alaska Fisheries Data Series Number xxxx-xx. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, In Press.

Scotton, B. A., J. Bryant, A. P. Rockhill. (2014) Bald Eagle, Osprey, and other raptor stick nest surveys on Koyukuk/Nowitna NWR, Northwest Interior Alaska, 2008-2014. 16th Alaska Bird Conference, Juneau, Alaska.

Rockhill, A. P., C. S. DePerno, and R. A. Powell. (2013) The effect of illumination and time of day on movement of bobcats (Lynx rufus). PLOS ONE 8(7): e69213. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069213

Courses Taught

NRM 140: Natural Resource Conservation and Management
NRM 330: Wildlife Ecology and Management
NRM 344: Applied Geospatial Information
NRM 440: Integrated Resource Management