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Don Miller

Don Miller


Department of Biological Sciences

California State University
Chico, California 95929-0515

Office: Holt 213

Campus phone # (530) 898-6153

Campus FAX # (530) 898-5060


  • M.Sc., Oxford, 1990
  • Ph.D., UC Berkeley, 1997
  • Post-doc, Arizona, 1998


  • Science and Human Values - WI (BIOL 322I)
  • General Entomology (BIOL 422)
  • Animal Behavior (BIOL 428)

Research Interests:

  • Behavioral ecology, especially of invertebrates
  • Ecology and evolution of social behavior and social parasitism
  • Insect-plant interactions

Research Summary

Given that most animals live solitarily, why might some species live in groups? What are the causes and consequences of social interactions?  Because of their relatively small size, ease of observation, abundance and diversity of life history types, the insects lend themselves especially well towards addressing these fundamental questions in behavioral ecology. My research involves natural populations of galling aphids (Tamalia spp.) on their food plants, manzanita (Arctostaphylos spp.), both of which occur in the Sierra Nevada near the California State University, Chico campus.  A remarkable fact about Tamaliaaphids is that they sometimes initiate galls in groups (rather than singly, as do all other known galling aphids), raising questions about what factors favor this social behavior. Other species of Tamalia act as inquilines by invading and co-occupying these galls.  My students and I are applying both field- and molecular methods to answer questions about the role of kinship in intraspecific interactions, as well as the impact of inquilines on the host aphids. Other current and recent projects include sex allocation of galling aphids, sociobiology of honey bees and yellowjackets, pollination ecology of solitary bees, shoaling behavior of cyprinid fish, migration in Black-tailed deer, and population biology of Spotted Owls.

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