David Overton Ribble , Ph.D.
Ph.D. - University of California at Berkeley
M.S. - Colorado State University
B.A. - Trinity University
My areas of teaching, both at the upper- and lower-division, have been principally in ecology and evolution, which match my academic background, research interests, and personal convictions. In addition to fostering a sense of awe about nature, I also try in my teaching to bridge the gap in students thinking between scientific facts and how we come to know those facts. One of the most effective ways of bridging this gap is to teach students how a researcher in evolution or ecology gathers, processes, and interprets information. I do not expect students to remember most of the details or facts they learn in my classes after they leave Trinity. I do hope that they will remember at least some of the ways that an ecologist or evolutionary biologist tackles different problems. My classes have been structured to give students an appreciation for the diversity of approaches inherent in the biological sciences, using ecology and evolution as one set of examples.
Most of my classes involve multiple weekend field trips where students camp out and work dawn to midnight surveying small mammals, birds, and bats. I have also taken students on longer (6 weeks to 6 months) field excursions to New Mexico and Mexico. I am pleased with my record of inspiring students to continue with their own studies of biodiversity with over 12 of my students pursuing or having earned advanced degrees in science. I have made numerous scientific presentations and published numerous scientific articles, most of which have been co-authored with Trinity students. My scholarship has taken me in recent years to Mexico, Tanzania and South Africa, and recently culminated in the discovery and description of a new mammal, the grey-faced elephant-shrew, from the Eastern Arc Mountains of central Tanzania. Since 2001 I have been the Chair of the Biology Department and have helped guide the Department in receiving external grant support from the Keck Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the National Science Foundation. I recently (2008) served as the President of the Texas Society of Mammalogy. Lastly, I am a strong supporter of public schools and along with my wife, Helen, have engaged our childrenâ€TMs school in promoting an outdoor science based curriculum.
Kalcounis-Rueppell, M.C., R. Petric, J.R. Briggs, C. Carney, M.M. Marshall, J.T. Wilse, O. Rueppell, D.O. Ribble, and J.P. Crossland. 2010. "Differences in ultrasonic vocalizations between wild and laboratory California mice (Peromyscus californicus)". PLoS .ONE 5(4): e9705.
Schubert, M., C. Schradin, H.G. Rodel, N. Pillay, and D.O. Ribble. 2009. "Male mate guarding in a socially monogamous mammal, the round-eared sengi: on costs and trade-offs." Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 64:257-264.
Schubert, M., N. Pillay, D.O. Ribble, and C. Schradin. 2009. "The round-eared sengi and the evolution of social monogamy: factors that constrain males to live with a single female." Ethology 115:1-14.
Rovero, F., Rathbun, G.B., Perkin, A., Jones, T., Ribble, D.O., Leonard, C., Mwakisoma, R.R., and N. Doggart. 2008. "A new species of giant sengi or elephant-shrew (genus Rhynchocyon) highlights the exceptional biodiversity of the Udzungwa Mountains of Tanzania." Journal of Zoology, London 274:126-133.
Coster, S.*, and D.O. Ribble. 2005. "Density and cover preferences of Black-and-rufous elephant-shrews (Rhynchocyon petersi) in Chome Forest Reserve, Tanzania." Belgian Journal of Zoology 135 (supplement):175-177.
Ribble, D.O., and M.R. Perrin. 2005. "Social organization of the Eastern Rock Elephant-shrew (Elephantulus myurus): The evidence for mate guarding." Belgian Journal of Zoology 135(supplement):167-173.
Mzilikazi, N., B.G. Lovegrove, and D.O. Ribble. 2002. "Exogenous passive heating during torpor arousal in free-ranging rock elephant-shrews, Elephantulus myurus." Oecologia 133:307-314.
Farmer, N.A.*, D.O. Ribble, and D.G. Miller. 2004. "Influence of familiarity on shoaling behaviour in Texas and blacktail shiner." Journal of Fish Biology 64:776-782.
(* Indicates Trinity University student)
My teaching philosophies extend beyond my formal Trinity classroom responsibilities. I have been active in the greater San Antonio community working with conservation groups and local parks to help conserve their resources and educate the public about the importance of these resources. My wife and I have coordinated and led outdoor-science field trips for an inner-city public school, Bonham Academy. For example, several times I have taken 3rd graders on a birding and small mammal trip to Mitchell Lake Wetlands where I live-trapped small mammals for the students to observe and record using modern scientific equipment such as Global Positioning System (GPS) techniques. I have to be honest and admit that working with younger kids is truly motivating.
I also find myself at Trinity gravitating to lower division courses because of the need to instill awe as soon as possible. For example, under my leadership the Biology Department is designing new non-majors courses for Trinity that are critical for improving science literacy in the general population. I am also in the middle of developing a Biodiversity Science course for sophomores and Environmental Studies students that will be field-intensive and take advantage of our proximity to Brackenridge Park.
In addition to being Chair of the Biology Department and I am the Faculty Sheppard of our Science and Engineering Facilities Planning Committee. I am also a member of the International Studies Faculty Committee (Environmental Studies Coordinator) and the Environmental Studies Faculty Committee.
I will be on research sabbatical during the 2010-11 academic year.