Curtis Creighton, Ph.D.

 Prof. Curtis Creighton

Office: Gyte 288
Telephone: (219) 989-2617


B.S. Biology, Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS.
M.S. Zoology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK.
Ph.D. Zoology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK.

Research Interests

Behavioral Ecology and Conservation Biology: evolution of life histories and parental care, intersexual conflict and sperm competition; effects of habitat fragmentation on species diversity, focal-species studies, reintroduction of endangered species.


Research in my lab addresses questions related to the evolution of behavior. Specifically, I combine both laboratory and field experiments to test hypotheses related to how the social environment influences life history evolution. Recent and current projects in my lab include (1) phenotypic plasticity of clutch size in burying beetles; (2) factors that influence the evolution of clutch size and reproductive investment in burying beetles; (3) sibling rivalry and parent-offspring interaction in burying beetles and cattle egrets.

One of the major issues facing man today is the extraordinary loss of biodiversity around the world. A second major line of research in my lab reflects this crisis. I am interested in (1) how fragmentation of natural landscapes affects the behavior of organisms and (2) the mechanisms that lead to loss of diversity in these habitats. Much of my work in this area revolves around the ecology and conservation of the American burying beetle, a federally endangered species.

Selected Publications:

(select abstracts are linked to authors name, please click to view)

Smith A.N., Creighton J.C., Belk M.C.  2015.  Differences in patterns of reproductive allocation between the sexes in Nicrophorus orbicollis.  PloS one 10:e0143762.  DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0143762

Houston D. D., Mitchell K. S., Clouse J. W., Maughan P. J., Creighton J. C., Smith A. N., Bybee S. M., Belk M. C.  2015.  SNP development in North American burying beetles (Coleoptera: Silphidae): a tool to inform conservation decisions.  Conservation Genetics Resources.  DOI 10.1007/s12686-015-0438-2

Creighton, J.C., Smith, A., Komendat, A., Belk, M.C.  2015.  Dynamics of biparental care in a burying beetle:  experimental handicapping results in partner compensation.  Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 69:265-271.  DOI 10.1007/s00265-014-1839-z.

Smith A.N., Belk M.C., Creighton J.C.  2014.  Residency Time as an Indicator of Reproductive Restraint in Male Burying Beetles. PLoS ONE 9: e109165.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.

Billman E. J., Creighton J. C., Belk M. C.  2014Effect of prior experience on allocation to current reproduction in a burying beetle.  Behavioral Ecology: 25:  813-818.  doi:10.1093/beheco/aru051

Billman E. J., Rasmussen R. E., Creighton J. C., Belk M. C.  2014.  Life history trajectory analysis: a multivariate approach for the analysis of phenotypic change in studies of life history theory.  Methods in Ecology and Evolution:  doi: 10.1111/2041-210X.12211

Billman E. J., Kreitzer J. D., Creighton J. C., Habit E., McMillan B. and Belk M. C.  2013.  Habitat enhancement and native fish conservation:  can enhancement of channel complexity promote the coexistence of native and introduced fishes?  Environmental Biology of Fishes:  doi:10.1007/s10641-012-0041-2

Creighton, J.C., N. Heflin, and M. Belk.  2009.  The cost of reproduction, senescence, and terminal investment in a burying beetle, Nicrophorus orbicollis.  American Naturalist 174:  673-684.

Creighton J. C., R Bastarache, M. V. Lomolino and M. C. Belk.  2009.  Effect of forest removal on the abundance of the endangered American burying beetle, Nicrophorus americanus (Coleoptera:  Silphidae).  Journal of Insect Conservation.  13:37-43.

Schnell G. D., A. E. Hiott, J. C. Creighton, V. L. Smyth, and A. Komendat.  2008.  Factors affecting overwinter survival of the American burying beetle, Nicrophorus americanus (Coleoptera: Silphidae).  Journal of Insect Conservation 12:483-492.

Creighton, J. C. 2005. Population density, body size, and phenotypic plasticity of brood size in a burying beetle.  Behavioral Ecology 16:1031-1036.

Creighton, J. C. and G. D. Schnell. 1998. Short-term movement patterns of the endangered American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus). Biological Conservation 86:281-287.

Creighton, J. C. and G. D. Schnell. 1996. Proximate control of siblicide in cattle egrets: a test of the food-amount hypothesis. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 38:371-377.

Lomolino, M. V. and J. C. Creighton.  1996.  Habitat selection, breeding success and conservation of the endangered American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus). Biological Conservation 77:235-241.

Lomolino, M. V., J. C. Creighton, G. D. Schnell, and D. L. Certain. 1995. Ecology and conservation of the endangered American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus). Conservation Biology 9:605-614.

Creighton, J. C., C. C. Vaughn, and B. R. Chapman.  1993.  Habitat preferences of the endangered American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus) in Oklahoma.  Southwestern Naturalist 38:275-277.


BIOL 10200 – Introductory Biology
BIOL 21000 – Field Biology
BIOL 33300 – Ecology
BIOL 38300 – Conservation Biology
BIOL 58000 – Evolution
BIOL 59500 – Ornithology