SONNY S. BLEICHER, PH.D.
EVOLUTIONARY WILDLIFE ECOLOGIST
Mobile Tel: +1 (415) 670-0595
Address: 544 Zollmans Mill Rd., Lexington, VA, USA, 24450
Published: 13 H-index: 6
In review/preparation: 5 Citations 107
I-Index: 3 RG Score: 22.58
Experience, Fellowships and Affiliations
2019-20 Washington and Lee University, Biology, Visiting Assistant Professor
2018-21 George Mason University, Environmental Science and Policy Affiliate
2018 AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship
2018 University of Jyvaskyla, Behavioral Ecology Lab
2015-18 University of Arizona, Ike Russell Fellow, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
2015 University of Sydney, Desert Biodiversity Lab.
2014 University of Illinois at Chicago, Biological Sciences
PhD Biology 2014 University of Illinois at Chicago
MSc Desert Ecology 2012 Ben Gurion University of the Negev
BSc Environmental Science 2009 Rochester Institute of Technology
Population and Community Biology
Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
Introductory Environmental Science/ Studies
Water policy, politics and conflict
Languages (and Nationalities)
English (USA), French (France), Hebrew (Israel)
|July 2014||Ph.D.||University of Illinois at Chicago||Biological Science||Evolutionary and Behavioral Ecology||Divergent Behaviour Amid Convergent Evolution: Common Garden Experiments with Desert Rodents and Vipers|
|May 2012||M.Sc.||Ben Gurion University of The Negev||Desert Studies||Dryland Ecology/ Community and Population Ecology||Prey Response to Predator Scent Cues; A Manipulative Experimental Series of a Changing Climate|
|February 2009||B.S.||Rochester Institute of Technology||Environmental Science||Environmental Health Assessment and Biological Indicators of Environmental Degradation||Non-Point Source Pollutants found in the tributaries of Irondequoit Creek Watershed within the Town of Penfield|
|2019 -2020||Visiting Assistant Professor||Washington and Lee University||Lexington, VA, USA||Teach ecology, urban ecology, environmental studies electives and water policy and politics. Mentor undergraduate research students.|
|2018 – 2021
|Affiliate Faculty||George Mason University†||Fairfax, VA, USA||Provide administrative services and presentations|
|2018||Visiting Research Associate/ Affiliate||University of Jyvaskyla†||Konnevesi Research Station, Konnevesi, Finland||Research Project: The importance of information, how a predator cue is affected by environmental factors|
|2015-2018||Ike Russell Postdoctoral Fellow||University of Arizona||Tucson, Arizona, USA||Research Focus: Human-wildlife Interactions in Urban and Suburban Environments|
|2015-2016||Research and Development Manager||Felidae Conservation Fund||Mill Valley, California, USA||Manage Education and Outreach Programs, PI for Mountain Lion Research Programs, Fundraising and Grant-writing.|
|2015||Visiting Postdoctoral Research Associate||University of Sydney†||Camperdown, New South Wales, Australia||Research Projects: (1) Response of Dasyurid Carnivorous Marsupials to a Shelter Augmentation Management Regime; and (2) Foraging Dynamics of Dunnarts During a Population Bust|
|2014||Teaching Postdoctoral Researcher||University of Illinois at Chicago||Chicago, Illinois, USA||Teach Ecology Lab (BIOS331);
Research: Bridging community ecology and Neurobiology and evolutionary dynamics in animal behavior.
|2011-2014||Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant||Teaching: ecology (BIOS331), comparative vertebrate anatomy and physiology (BIOS227), biology of populations and communities (BIOS101).
Research project: Intercontinental-wide consequences of compromise-breaking adaptations: the case of desert rodents and vipers.
|2012-2013||Adjunct Professor of Environmental Science||Northeastern Illinois University||Chicago, Illinois, USA||Teach Introduction to Environmental Science Elective (BIO127)|
|2009-2012||Graduate Fellow||Ben Gurion University of the Negev||Bluestein Institutes for Desert Research, Albert Katz School of Desert Studies, Midreshet Ben Gurion, Sde Boker, Israel||Research on climate change on consequences on wildlife conservation in arid zones.|
|2008||Research Team Lead||Town of Penfield†||Penfield, New York, USA||Capstone (honors) project. Project title: Non-Point Source Pollutants found in the tributaries of Irondequoit Creek Watershed within the Town of Penfield|
|2007,2009||REU Research Fellow||Harvard University||Harvard Forest, Petersham, Massachusetts, USA||Research project: response of ant assemblages to grazing and logging along a rainfall gradient in mesic scrublands|
|2006-2009||bird bander (ringer) in training||Braddock Bay Bird Observatory†||Rochester, New York, USA||Research Project: passerine habitat-use during migration within reconstructed wetlands.|
|2005-2009||Undergraduate Research Fellow||Rochester Institute of Technology||Rochester, New York, USA||Research Project: River otter post-reintroduction monitoring using scat genetics, diet analysis and GIS.|
|2008-2009||Teaching Assistant||Teach: Conservation Biology and Ecology Labs|
|2006||Seasonal Interpretation Ranger||US National Park Service||Lava Beds National Monument, Tulelake, California, USA||Duties: lead lava-tube cave-tours and guided naturalist walks.
|2005||Camp Councilor||Young Judea||Tel Yehuda Summer Camp, New York, USA||Provide social and educational activities to 16 year-old summer campers.|
|2003-2005||Informal Education Specialist||Shlomit National Service Agency||(1) TALI Education Fund, Jerusalem, Israel. (2) Yavne’el Community Center, Yavne’el, Israel||(1) Provide Jewish education in informal activities from a progressive and pluralistic approach to children in the TALI schools in grades 2-9. (2) Teach Hebrew literacy to illiterate refugee women from North Africa and the Middle East|
|† Not Supported by Payroll|
(† with lab)
|Number of Classes (sessions)||Mean number of students|
|2019*||Assistant Professor||Environmental Studies From Data to Policy||2||18|
|2019*||Assistant Professor||Water, policies and politics||1||12|
|2019*||Assistant Professor||Urban Ecology†||1||12|
|2013-2014, 2008, 2019||Assistant Professor||Ecology (331) †||7||27|
|2011-2012||Teaching Assistant in-charge of labs and discussions||Population and Community Biology (101) †||6||20|
|2013||Teaching Assistant in-charge of labs||Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy (227) †||1||20|
|2012-2013||Professor in Charge||Introductory Environmental Science Elective (127)||1||30|
|2009||Teaching Assistant||Conservation Biology (488)||1||30|
|Year||Institution||Project-type||My Role||Number of Students|
|2019-||George Mason University||Graduate Project||Committee Member||1|
|2018-19||University of Jyväskylä||Graduate Research – Lab Focus||Advising (as postdoc)||1|
|2015||University of Sydney||Graduate Research – Field Focus||Advising (as postdoc)||2|
|2012-14||University of Illinois||Undergraduate Independent Research Project||Mentor||8|
PEDAGOGIC WORKSHOPS (Academic)
|2020||Pedagogy and Purell: Alternatives for Assignments, Activities, and Assessments Brown Bag – Technology for Virtual Instruction|
|2020||Virtual Instruction: Best Practices & Creative Ideas|
|2020||Options for Virtual Labs in Science and Art|
|2020||Remote Teaching: Teleconferencing and Methods of Remote Pedagogy|
|2020||Using Canvas for Online and Remote Teaching|
|2019||Mastery- Based Testing; Introduction, Implementation and Evidence|
|2019||Community Based Learning Course Development|
|2019||Values Strengths and Interests; Assessment Tools That Can Support Personal and Professional Growth|
|2019||Facilitating Discussion of Controversial Political Issues in the College Classroom|
|2019||Community Based Learning Pedagogy in Practice: lesson learned and how to get involved.|
|2019||Robert’s Rule; How to Navigate Faculty Meetings|
|2019||Active Learning in the Classroom; Lessons Learned|
|2019||Teaching Career Readiness; Notes from a Pilot Careers Class|
|2019||Navigating Registrar Systems; as guide for academic advising|
|2019||The 21st Centenary Library|
|2019||Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education|
|2019||Leveraging Technology to Cultivate and Inclusive Classroom|
|2019||Applied Inclusive Pedagogy; a Practical Guide|
|2019||Disability, Diversity and Inclusivity; Pedagogy in Higher Education (and Universal Design)|
|2019||Lecture Capture with YuJa|
|2019||Approving Courses for Study Abroad and International Travel Courses|
|2019||Title IX and the Classroom|
|2019||Think Globally, Teach Locally – Discovering Teaching in Global Discoveries|
|2013-14||Foundation of Tertiary Pedagogy (graduate course)|
GRANTS, AWARDS and FELLOWSHIPS
|Year||Award Name||Granting Organization||Award Type|
|2018||Science and Technology Policy Fellowship||American Association for Advancement of Science||Fellowship|
|2016||Ike Russel Postdoctoral Fellowship||University of Arizona||Fellowship (Includes Research Funds)|
|2015*||Wells Fargo National Fish and Wildlife Foundation||Wells Fargo||NGO Funding and Research Project – Bay Area Puma Project|
|2016*||Regina Bauer Foundation Grant||Regina Bauer||Small NGO support grant|
|2016*||NGO Education Grant||Frankenburg Foundation||Small NGO support grant|
|2016*||Wildlife Conservation Grant||Disney Foundation||NGO Funding and Research Project – Bay Area Puma Project|
|2016*||Conservation Education Grant||Summerlee Foundation||Small NGO support grant|
|2016*||Wells Fargo Small Family Foundations Grants (64 in total)||Mix of family foundations||2-20,000$ grants for NGO support both research and education|
|2013||Bodmer International Research and Travel Award||University of Illinois||Travel Award and Research Support|
|2013||Grants In-Aid||American Society of Mammologists||Small Research Grant|
|2012||Bodmer International Research and Travel Award||University of Illinois||Travel Award and Research Support|
|2009||REU Scholarship Award||US National Science Foundation + Harvard University||Fellowship and Research Support|
|2008||Research Scholars Award||Rochester Institute of Technology||Fellowship and Research Support|
|2007||REU Scholarship Award||US National Science Foundation + Harvard University||Fellowship and Research Support|
|*Earned as fundraising team for the Felidae Conservation Fund|
- American Association for Advancement of Science
- MacArthur Academy for Evolutionary Ecology
- American Association of Mammalogists
- International Society for Behavioral Ecology
- Israeli Zoological Society
- Society for Conservation Biology
LANGUAGES AND NATIONALITIES
|English||USA||Native Speaker||Native Speaker||Native Speaker|
|Hebrew||Israel||Native Speaker||Native Speaker||Native Speaker|
- Bleicher, S. S., B. P. Kotler, and J. S. Brown. 2019. Comparing Plasticity of Response to Perceived Risk in the Textbook Example of Convergent Evolution of Desert Rodents and Their Predators; a Manipulative Study Employing the Landscape of Fear. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 13:1–12. (impact factor 3.38)
- Bleicher, S. S., Ylonen, T. Käpylä, and M. Haapakoski. 2018. Olfactory cues and the value of Information: voles interpret cues based on recent predator encounters. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 72:187–199. (impact factor 2.382)
- Bleicher, S. S., and M. L. Rosenzweig. 2018. Too much of a good thing? A landscape-of-fear analysis for collared peccaries (Pecari tajacu) reveals hikers act as a greater deterrent than thorny or bitter food. Canadian Journal of Zoology 96:317–324. (impact factor 1.52)
- Bleicher, S. S., P. Kotler, O. Shalev, A. Dixon, K. Embar, and J. S. Brown. 2018. Divergent behavior amid convergent evolution: A case of four desert rodents learning to respond to known and novel vipers. PLoS ONE 13:1–17. (impact factor 2.766)
- Embar, K., B. P. Kotler, S. Bleicher, and J. S. Brown. 2018. Pit fights: predators in evolutionarily independent communities. Journal of Mammalogy 1–25. (impact factor 2.139)
- Bleicher, S. S. The landscape of fear conceptual framework: Definition and review of current applications and misuses. PeerJ 1:1–14. (impact factor 2.118)
- Bleicher, S. S., and C. R. Dickman. 2016. Bust economics: Foragers choose high quality habitats in lean times. PeerJ 2016. (impact factor 2.118)
- Bleicher, S. S., J. S. Brown, K. Embar, and B.P. Kotler. 2016. Novel predator recognition by Allenby’s gerbil (Gerbillus andersoni allenbyi): do gerbils learn to respond to a snake that can “see” in the dark? Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution 62:178–185. (impact factor 0.69)
- Kotler, B. P., J. S. Brown, S. Bleicher, and K. Embar. 2016. Intercontinental-wide consequences of compromise-breaking adaptations: the case of desert rodents. Israel Journal of Ecology & Evolution 62:186–195. (impact factor 0.69)
- Bleicher S.S., Haapakoski M., Morin D., Kaapala T., and and Ylonen, H. 2019.Balancing food, activity and the dangers of sunlit nights. Behavioral Ecology and Socio Biology. 73: 7. 95-103 (impact factor 2.382)
- Bleicher, S. S., and C. R. Dickman. 2020. On the landscape of fear: shelters affect foraging by dunnarts (Marsupiala, Sminthopsis spp.) in sandridge desert environment. J. Mamm. 101:1, 281-290. (impact factor 2.139)
- Bleicher S.S., Brown J.S., C.J. Downs, Kotler B.P. 2019. Playing to their evolutionary strengths; heteromyid rodents provide opposite snake evasion strategies in the face of known and novel snakes. Journal of Arid Environments. 173. 1-10 (Impact factor 1.83)
- Bleicher S.S., Brown J.S., C.J. Downs, and Kotler B.P.,Intercontinental Test of Constraint-Breaking Adaptations; Testing Behavioural Plasticity in the Face of a Predator with Novel Hunting Strategies. (J. Animal Ecology- Production- Jan 2020, Impact factor 4.46)
- Bleicher S.S., Embar K., and Kotler P.B. Ninja Owl; Risk perception outweighs information on predator lethality. (Behavioral Processes- Minor Revision March 2020)
- Bleicher S.S. and Kabbani N. Game on Game Off: bridging ecological and neurological approaches to fear (Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience)
- Bleicher S.S., Eichenwald A., Reinhardt S. and Laundre J. The landscape of fear future outlook (Trends in Ecology and Evolution).
- Bleicher S. Revisiting Sympatric Speciation – A Case for the Landscape of Fear (special issue- Diversity)
- Bleicher S. – Anthropogenic Landscapes, Landscapes of Fear and Speciation on the Adaptive landscape.
Bleicher S.S. 2014, Divergent behaviour amid convergent evolution; Common-garden experiments with desert rodents and vipers, PhD Dissertation, University of Illinois at Chicago
Bleicher S.S., 2012, Heat and Humidity Alter Predation Cues in Gerbillus andersoni allebyi. MS Thesis. Ben Gurion University of the Negev
CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS and SYMPOSIA (subset)
- Oikos 2020 Ecology in the Anthropocene – Anthropogenic Landscapes, Landscapes of Fear and Speciation on the Adaptive landscape. Reykjavik, Iceland
- Washington and Lee University Biological Symposium – Evolutionary Ecology and Behavioral Optimization. Lexington, VA, USA
- MacArthur Academy for Evolutionary Ecology – Assessing Risk in the Environment; an evolution of interacting methods to address predation risk. Logan, Utah, USA
2019 American Mammalogical Congress – Risk, Energy and Cognition; Addressing the game- theoretic challenges of predation cues. Washington, District of Colombia, USA
- Neurobiology Symposium. Ecological Fear- and why Neuroscientists should care about it. George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, USA
- Environmental Science and Policy Symposium. Landscapes of Fear: incorporating anti-predator behaviors in evolutionary theory and conservation. George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, USA
- Biological Science Symposium. Landscapes of Fear: incorporating anti-predator behaviors in evolutionary theory and conservation. University of Jyvaskyla. Jyvaskyla, Finland.
- Gordon Research Conference on Predator Prey Interactions— Section Leader: Macroevolutionary Patterns in Predator-Prey Interactions. Ventura, CA, USA.
- Biology Undergraduate Research Symposium – Landscapes of fear: foraging, fear and conservation. University of Redlands, Redlands, California.
- International Mammalogical Congress (IMC) 12—Game-on Game-Off: Bridging Ecological and Neurological Pathways to Fear. Perth, Western Australia, Australia.
- International Mammalogical Congress (IMC) 12— Bringing the landscape of fear back to conservation, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.
- Natural Resource Department Symposium— Bringing the Fit of Form and Function to Applied Ecology. University of Nebraska Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.
- Rosenzweig Festschrift— Conflicts of recreation and conservation, the case of Javelinas on Tumamoc Hill. Tucson, AZ, USA.
- Tumamoc Hill Visiting Scholars Symposium – The study of fear and conservation efforts: applying landscapes of fear to human-wildlife interactions in examples from the Australian sand crest desert and Tumamoc Hill, Arizona. Tumamoc People and Habitats, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA.
- Biology Symposium – Divergent Behavior amid Convergent Evolution. University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
- Dissertation Seminar EEB Symposium– Divergent Behavior amid Convergent Evolution: common garden experiments with desert rodents and vipers. University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
- International Mammalogical Congress (IMC) 11 — Landscapes of Fear;
Spatial Effects of Predator Facilitation on Convergent Rodents. Belfast, United Kingdom.
- International Mammalogical Congress (IMC) 11 —Macroevolution Meets Microecology: Intercontinental wide consequences of compromise-breaking adaptations. Belfast, United Kingdom.
- International Mammalogical Congress (IMC) 11 —Evolutionarily convergent yet behaviorally divergent: cross-continental predator-prey cross exposure. Belfast, United Kingdom.
- European Society for Evolutionary Biology Congress — Do prey respond appropriately to evolutionarily novel predators? Lisbon, Portugal
- European Society for Evolutionary Biology Congress — Evolutionarily Convergent Rodents do not converge on predator evasion strategy. Lisbon, Portugal
- Biology Symposium – Using game theory to assess the convergence of communities. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York, USA.
- Albert Katz School of Desert Studies Dissertation Defense – Prey Response to Predator Scent Cues; A Manipulative Experimental Series of a Changing Climate. Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Sde Boker, Israel.
- Behavior 2011 – Joint meeting of the Animal Behaviour Society & the International Ethological Conference – Heat and humidity perceived risk in the face of climate change. Bloomington, Indiana, USA.
- What Makes Good Science? Conference organizing team. NATO. Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben Gurion University of the Negev. Sde Boker, Israel
- Drylands Deserts and Desertification. Conference organizing team. NATO. Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben Gurion University of the Negev. Sde Boker, Israel
- Ecological Society of America – Similar effects on myrmecological assemblages based on grazing and logging along a rainfall gradient in Israel. Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.
- Harvard Forest Summer Research Symposium – Similar effects on myrmecological assemblages based on grazing and logging along a rainfall gradient. Petersham, Massachusetts, USA.
- Biology Summer Research Symposium – Impacts of biochar as insect repellent. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York, USA.
- Ecological Society of America – Effects of grazing and removal of woody species on ant diversity. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
- Harvard Forest Summer Research Symposium – Effects of grazing and removal of woody species on ant diversity. Petersham, Massachusetts, USA.
- Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
- Zoology and Ecology (Francis and Tailor)
- Animal Behavior
- Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution
- Functional Ecology
- Ecology Letters
- Biology Letters
- The Open Ecology Journal
- PLOS ONE
- Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
- Conservation and Biogeography
- Animal Welfare
|· Curriculum Design
· Applications of pedagogic tools to course aims and audience (Bloom’s taxonomy)
· Test Writing and Student Evaluations
· Discussion leading
· Lab and field course management
· Teaching in formal and in-formal styles to audiences form kindergarten age to golden ages.
· Student mentoring and guidance (undergraduate and graduate)
· Virtual Instruction/ Remote/ Online Pedagogy
|· Proposal writing
· HR. Recruiting and interviewing
· Schedule management
· Interdisciplinary report authoring
· Stakeholder management and recruiting.
· Public speaking
· Representation on interdisciplinary committees
· Interagency communication
· Permit acquisition
· Informational material design and authoring
· Presentations to, and communications with, NGOs board of trusties
· Volunteer training recruiting and management
|· Microsoft Suite
· Adobe Suite/ Cloud
· Database Management (SQL, Access)
|· Wildlife surveys (mammals, birds, herps, invertebrates)
· Vegetation and ground cover surveys
· Ground and surface water chemistry sampling and kit testing
· Wildlife immobilization
· Animal husbandry
· Microcosm experiments
· GIS, Radio, and RFID Tracking
· CPR, first-aid
|· Small and large grant proposal writing
· Tabling and community outreach
· Public speaking
· Networking at local, national and international levels
· Ethics based experimentation training
· International field travel logistics
· Science and education policy advocacy