Biological Sciences

Don Miller

Professor

Education:

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

Teaching:

  • 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.

Publications:

Shimizu, A., Dohzono, I., Nakaji, M., Roff, D.A., Donald G. Miller III, Osato, S., Yajima, T., Niitsu, S., Utsugi, N., Sugawara, T., Yoshimura, J. (2014). Fine-tuned bee-flower coevolutionary state hidden within multiple pollination interactions. Scientific Reports 4: 3988. DOI: 10.1038/srep03988.

Purdy, G. C. and Donald G. Miller III (2013). Evidence for adaptive sex allocation in Tamalia coweni (Hemiptera: Aphididae) in response to nutrient variability in Arctostaphylos patula (Ericaceae).  Evolutionary Ecology Research15: 79-91.

Yoshimura, J., Ito, H., Donald G. Miller III, Tainaka, K. (2013). Dynamic decision-making in uncertain environments I. The principle of dynamic utility.  Journal of Ethology (invited paper) DOI 10.1007/s10164-013-0362-4

Yoshimura, J., Ito, H., Donald G. Miller III, Tainaka, K. (2013). Dynamic decision-making in uncertain environments II. Allais paradox in human behavior.  Journal of Ethology (invited paper) DOI 10.1007/s10164-013-0359-z

Donald G. Miller III, Lane, J. and Senock, R. (2011). Butterflies as potential bioindicators of primary rain forest and oil palm plantation habitats on New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Pacific Conservation Biology 17: 149-159.

Pike, K.S., Graf, G., Foottit, R.G., Maw, H.E.L., Starý, P., Hammon, R. and Donald G. Miller III (2009). New species of Braggia (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on desert buckwheat in the western United States. Canadian Entomologist141: 561-581.

Jessa Kay Guisse and Donald G. Miller III (2011). Distribution and habitat preferences of Osmia lignaria (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) and associated cavity-nesting insects in California’s Sierra Nevada foothills adjacent to the Sacramento Valley. The Pan-Pacific Entomologist (PDF)

Donald G. Miller III, Christopher T. Ivey & Jackson D. Shedd (2009). Support for the microenvironment hypothesis for adaptive value of gall induction in the California gall wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae). Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 132: 126-133. Support for the microenvironment hypothesis for adaptive value of gall induction in the California gall wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus (PDF)

Tanaka, Y., Hayashi, T., Miller III, D.G., Tainaka, K., and J. Yoshimura (2009). Breeding Games and Dimorphism in Male Salmon. Animal Behaviour 77: 1409-1413.

Pike, K.S., Graf, G., Foottit, R.G., Maw, H.E.L., Starý, P., Hammon, R. and D.G. Miller (2009). New species of Braggia (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on desert buckwheat in the western United States. Canadian Entomologist 141: 561-581.

Miller III, D. G. (2005). Ecology and radiation of galling aphids (Tamalia; Hemiptera: Aphididae) on their host plants (Ericaceae). Basic and Applied Ecology 6: 463-469. Ecology and radiation of galling aphids (Tamalia; Hemiptera: Aphididae) on their host plants (Ericaceae) (PDF)

Miller, Donald G. (2005). Review of Evolution of Ecological and Behavioural Diversity: Australian Acacia Thrips as Model Organisms. Systematic Entomology 30 (1): 177-178.

Miller III, D. G. (2005). Review of The Triumph of Sociobiology, by John Alcock. Sociobiology 45: 205-208.

Miller III, D. G. (2004). The ecology of inquilinism in communally parasitic Tamalia aphids (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 97: 1233-1241. The Ecology of Inquilinism in Communally Parasitic Tamalia Aphids (Hemiptera: Aphididae) (PDF)

Farmer, N.A., Ribble, D.O. and D.G. Miller III (2004). Influence of familiarity on shoaling behaviour in Texas shiner (Notropis amabilis) Girard and blacktail shiner (Cyprinella venusta) Girard. Journal of Fish Biology 64: 776-782.

Miller III, D. G. and B. Crespi (2003). The evolution of inquilinism, host-plant use, and mitochondrial substitution rates in Tamalia gall aphids. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 16: 1-13.

Miller III, D. G. and M. J. Sharkey (2000). An inquiline species of Tamalia co-occurring with Tamalia coweni (Homoptera: Aphididae). Pan-Pacific Entomologist 76: 77-86.

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