Dr. Patricia Gowaty is a Professor of ecology in the Institute of Ecology at the University of Georgia (UGA). She holds a Ph.D. in Zoology from Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina. She is a former President of the Animal Behavior Society and past Vice-President of the American Ornithologists' Union. She was elected to the "Committee of 100," also known as the International Ornithological Committee, the govening body of the International Ornithological Congress. Dr. Gowaty received the "K-award" Independent Scientist Award from NIMH (competitively renewed 1995 and 1997), and the Lamar Dodd Award for Creative Research from the University of Georgia.
As an evolutionary (behavioral) ecologist, Dr. Gowaty asks questions about selective forces shaping phenotypic variation in behavior that results in patterns of social organization. She focuses on natural selection and variation in mating systems (e.g., social monogamy and extra-pair paternity), sex allocation (distribution of effort by parents to sons versus daughters as in sex ratios of progeny), and sex differentiated behavior. For 30 years, Dr. Gowaty has studied populations of eastern bluebirds. She currently studies the effects of food competition with fire ants on behavior, demography, mating system, and life histories of eastern bluebirds. Recently, with collaborators, Dr. Gowaty has studied the effects of mate choice on offspring viability in Drosophila pseudoobscura, mallards, mice and several other species. These studies were motivated by the theory of sexual conflict (Gowaty 1997) and the hypothesis of reproductive compensation (Gowaty 2003), which argues that the selective pressures favoring mate choice reside in variation in offspring viability that results mainly from pathogenic challenges and social and ecological constraints on reproductive decisions. She is also working on a theory of social behavior that predicts adaptively flexible sex role behavior of both females and males - even under chance variation in inducing variables.
Dr. Gowaty is also interested in K-12 curriculum, particularly pertaining to biodiversity and evolution. She is a PI on a recently submitted National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, "Biodiversity Exploration and the Conceptual Foundations of Evolution". If funded, this grant will support collaborations between 10 Graduate Teaching Fellows (from science departments at UGA, i.e., Ecology, Genetics, Plant Sciences) and local elementary school teachers in the development of local biodiversity discovery.
E-mail: Patty Gowaty