Peggy Hill
-B.S., The University of Tulsa
-M.S., The University of Tulsa
-Ph.D., The University of Oklahoma

Office: 330B Oliphant Hall
Phone: (918) 631-2992

Research Interests:
In the broadest sense, I am interested in how animals use information from their environments in making decisions that affect their fitness, especially reproduction and foraging. Although my most recent work has been in animal behavior, I plan to work in future in the overlap area between physiological ecology and behavioral ecology, primarily with, but not restricted to, insects. In other words, I am interested in both proximate and ultimate questions in animal ecology and how these can be integrated in the study of mating systems, female choice, foraging, etc.

My research focus has recently been on the prairie mole cricket, Gryllotalpa major, a rare (and probably threatened) burrowing grasslands insect. Since the species is rare and little known, I have a strong commitment to providing details that will promote its conservation. Although I am not a conservation biologist in the strictest sense, I intend that my work always include a conservation aspect. Projects asking questions about G. major's mating system (see Hill 1999), communication through vibration (see Hill and Shadley 1997), and environmental and social effects on calling effort (see Hill 1998) have provided me with just enough answers to be able to ask questions in a dozen directions. Males construct "acoustic" burrows in the moist prairie soils in the spring of the year and produce a calling song to attract females for mating. These calls can be heard by people up to 400 meters away from the burrow and are currently our only reliable source of locating or identifying the species. I have spent most of my field time studying male communication, and I am fairly certain that most of my "sampling" of this species in future will involve acoustics, as it has in the past. 

My other major research line is in collaboration with Dr. Harrington Wells, studying honeybee foraging ecology. My primary interest is in how honeybees use color cues in making foraging choices and how some of these color cues elicit constancy from individuals. Honeybees have good, trichromatic color vision, similar to our own, and can easily discriminate among colors in their visible spectrum (UV to possibly near red). I want to know more about the color constraints under which honeybees operate as they forage on a patch of natural or artificial flowers.

The following research projects are currently under way in our lab:

  • Long-term monitoring project of the White Oak Prairie population of the prairie mole cricket, Gryllotalpa major
  • Airborne communication in G. major 
  • Vibration as a communication channel 
  • Sound fields and male spacing patterns: making oneself heard as an individual 
  • Male and female wing morphology in the Gryllotalpidae: evidence from SEM studies 
  • Phylogeny of the family Gryllotalpidae (Insecta: Orthoptera): morphological and DNA sequencing support 
  • Individual identification based on analysis of the calling song in G. major 
  • Testing hypotheses of lek formation in G. major: the hotshot model 
  • Harmonic content of the calling song and mating success in G. major 
  • How G. major perceives its environment 
  • Passive attraction vs active female choice in systems where display is through acoustics 
  • Honeybee constancy to color when foraging distance varies 
  • Honeybee constancy to color when handling time varies
  • Honeybee constancy to color when predation pressure varies 
  • Bumblebee foraging behavior on an artificial flower patches

Teaching Fields:

  • Biol 1013-Plants and Society
  • Biol 1023-Biol 1021-Human Anatomy and Physiology and Lab 
  • Biol 1033-Environment and Humanity
  • Biol 1603-Biological Diversity
  • Biol 3143-Evolution
  • Biol 3204-Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy 
  • Biol 3234-Comparative Animal Physiology 
  • Biol 3603-Special Topics in Invertebrate Zoology
  • Biol 4383-Environmental Ethics and Conservation
  • Biol 7253-Graduate Seminar in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology: Evolution and phylogenetics; Sexual selection; Physiology and color
  • FS 1973-First Seminar: Keepers of the Earth: Conservation Philosophies Pat and Present 
  • Hon 3003-Junior Research and Colloquium

Selected Publications:

  • Hill, Peggy S. M. 2008. Vibrational Communication in Animals. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, Spring publication date.
  • Howard, Daniel R. and Peggy S. M. Hill. 2006. The effect of fire on spatial distributions of male mating aggregations in Gryllotalpa major Saussure (Orthoptera: Gryllotalpidae) at the Nature Conservancy's Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in Oklahoma: Evidence of a fire-dependent species. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 80:51-64.
  • Hill, Peggy S. M., Harrington Wells and John R. Shadley. Singing from a constructed burrow: Why vary the shape of the burrow mouth? Journal of Orthoptera Research, 15: 23-29.
  • Howard, Daniel R. and Peggy S. M. Hill. Morphology and calling song characteristics in Gryllotalpa major (Orthoptera: Gryllotalpidae). Journal of Orthoptera Research, 15: 53-57.
  • Sanderson, Charlotte E., Benjamin S. Orozco, Peggy S. M. Hill and Harrington Wells. 2006. Honey bee (Apis mellifera ligustica) response to differences in handling time, reward and colours. Ethology, 112: 937-946.
  • Barclay, Alexander, Richard W. Portman and Peggy S. M. Hill. 2005. Tracheal gills of the dobsonfly larvae, or hellgrammite Corydalus cornutus L. (Megaloptera: Corydalidae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 78:181-185.
  • Hill, Peggy S. M. 2004. Vibrational communication. pp. 378-379, In: Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior. Marc Bekoff, ed. Westport, CT, Greenwood Press.
  • Hill, Peggy S. M. 2003. Review: Environmental Signal Processing and Adaptation. Heldmaier, G. & Werner, D. (eds.). Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Ethology, 110:78-79.
  • Hill, Peggy S. M. and Harrington Wells. 2003. Individual constancy to color by foraging honey bees. pp. 147-l55. Chapter 12. In: Exploring animal behavior in laboratory and field. B.J. Ploger and K. Yasukawa, eds. New York, Academic Press.
  • Hill, Peggy S. M., Cara Hoffart and Mark Buchheim. 2002. Tracing phylogenetic relationships in the family Gryllotalpidae. Journal of Orthoptera Research, 11:169-174.
  • Hoffart, Cara, Kylie Jones and Peggy S. M. Hill. 2002. Comparative morphology of the stridulatory apparatus of the Gryllotalpidae of the continental United States. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 75:123-174
  • Hill, Peggy S. M. and Harrington Wells. 2002. Individual constancy to color by foraging honey bees. pp. 51-54. Chapter 12. In: Teaching Animal Behavior in Laboratory and Field. B.J. Ploger and K. Yasukawa, eds. New York, Academic Press.
  • Hill, Peggy. 2002. Ça vibre de partout! Pour la Science, Janvier/Avril: 64.
  • Hill, Peggy S. M. 2001. Vibration as a communication channel: a synopsis. American Zoologist, 41:1133-1134.
  • Hill, Peggy S. M. 2001. Vibration and animal communication: a review. American Zoologist, 41:1135-1142.
  • Hill, Peggy S. M. and John R. Shadley. 2001. Talking back: sending soil vibration signals to lekking prairie mole cricket males. American Zoologist, 41:1200-1214.
  • Hill, Peggy S. M., Jeremy Hollis, and Harrington Wells. 2001. Foraging decisions in nectarivores: unexpected interactions between flower constancy and energetic rewards. Animal Behaviour, 62:729-737.
  • Hill, Peggy S. M. 2000. Elements of the acoustic repertoire of the prairie mole cricket (Orthoptera: Gryllotalpidae: Gryllotalpa major). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 73:95-102.
  • Çakmak, ibrahim, Ram R. S. Rathore, Takashi Ohtani, Peggy S. Hill and Harrington Wells. 2000. The flower fidelity of honeybee foragers. Recent Research in Developmental Entomology, 3:15-28.
  • Wells, Harrington, ibrahim Çakmak, Philip Coburn, Michael Athens and Peggy S. M. Hill. 2000. Honeybee (Apis mellifera ligustica) use of color and pattern in making foraging choices. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 73:195-207.
  • Hill, Peggy S.M. 1999. Lekking in Gryllotalpa major, the prairie mole cricket (Insecta: Gryllotalpidae). Ethology, 105:531-545.
  • Hill, Peggy S. M. 1998. Environmental and social influences on calling effort in the prairie mole cricket (Gryllotalpa major). Behavioral Ecology, 9:101-108.
  • Hill, P.S.M. and J.R. Shadley. 1997. Substrate vibration as a component of a calling song. Naturwissenschaften, 84:460- 463.
  • Hill, Peggy S. M., Patrick H. Wells and Harrington Wells. 1997. Spontaneous flower constancy and learning in honey bees as a function of colour. Animal Behaviour, 54:615-627.
  • Golm, Gregory T., Peggy Sue Hill and Harrington Wells. 1993. Life expectancy in a Tulsa cemetery: growth and population structure of the lichen Xanthoparmelia cumberlandia. American Midland Naturalist, 129:373-383.
  • Wells, Harrington, Peggy Sue Hill and Patrick H. Wells. 1991. Nectarivore foraging ecology: rewards differing in sugar types. Ecological Entomology, 17:280-288.
  • Hill, Peggy Sue Morrison and Paul Buck. 1980. Interspecific hybridization in a natural oak population with particular regard to introgression. Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Science, 60:48-53.


Research Students 2007:

  • Daniel Howard ( Ph.D)

Other Responsibilities:

  • Faculty Senate, Steering Committee Chair and Student Affairs Committee member
  • Undergraduate Advisor, Faculty of Biological Science
  • TU-STEMUP, Co-advisor
  • Undergraduate Mentoring in Environmental Biology
  • Animal Behavior Society, Diversity Committee