Biological Sciences

Rosemary J. Smith, Ph.D.

Rosemary J. Smith

Professor of Biology


Biographical Sketch

Dr. Rosemary J. Smith joined the Dept. of Biological Sciences at ISU in 1999. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 2001, and tenured in 2004. Previous to that she taught for 8-years as an Assistant Professor at Nebraska Wesleyan University (Lincoln, Nebraska), where she received tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1997. Dr. Smith has always combined research and teaching, for example teaching field courses at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Colorado while conducting her field research, and mentoring over 30 undergraduate and several graduate students through their research projects as she teaches introductory and upper-level courses. Her research is in two fields: behavioral ecology and science education. For her undergraduate research she studied optimal foraging in barn owls, for her M.S., anti-predator behavior and foraging behavior and the coexistence of desert rodents, and for her Ph.D. tested a trade-off model of species coexistence among a group of ground-dwelling squirrels as well as the evolutionary origins of sociality and anti-predator behaviors. Currently the focus of her biological research is on the behavior, ecology, and evolution of burying beetles (Nicrophorus), particularly population dynamics and reproductive strategies. In biology education she studies the effectiveness of a variety of teaching methods, including methods to enhance teacher training and inquiry-based activities.



Hopkins, J. and R. Smith. 2011. An inquiry-based field and laboratory investigation on leaf decay: a critical aquatic ecosystem function. American Biology Teacher, Nov/Dec. 73(9) 542-546.

Hall, Carrie L., Nicholas K. Wadsworth, Daniel R. Howard, Eleanor M. Jennings, Larry D. Farrell, Timothy S. Magnuson, and Rosemary J. Smith. 2011. Inhibition of microorganisms on a carrion breeding resource: The antimicrobial peptide activity of burying beetle (Coleoptera: Silphidae) oral and anal secretions. Environmental Entomology 40(3): 669-678.

Hartle, R. Todd, Rosemary Smith, Stephen Adkison, D.J. Williams, Paul Beardsley. 2011. Beyond educator-practitioner binaries: Overcoming barriers to cooperation using professional cultural axes; in: Beyond Binaries in Education Research (eds.: Warren Midgley, Mark A. Tyler, Patrick Alan Danaher, Alison Mander), Routledge Research in Education, Routledge/Falmer, New York.

Grossman, Judah and Smith, Rosemary J.. 2008. Phoretic mite discrimination among male burying beetle (Nicrophorus investigator) hosts. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 10 (1): 266-271.

Briggs, Brandon, Mitton, T., Magnuson, T. and Smith, Rosemary J. 2008. Teaching cellular respiration and alternative energy sources through a GK-12 partnership. American Biology Teacher, on-line.

Smith, Rosemary J. and Belzer, Sharolyn J. 2006. Research on the effectiveness of an inquiry-based Biology Teaching Methods Course. ASTE Conference Proceedings [online]. Available: [2006 Proceedings, peer reviewed].

Merrick, Melissa and Smith, Rosemary J. 2004. Temperature regulation in burying beetles (Nicrophorus spp.: Coleoptera: Silphidae): effects of body size, morphology, and environmental temperature. J. of Experimental Biology. 207: 723-733.

Belzer, Sharolyn J., Smith, Rosemary J., and Mark Lung. 2004. Developing and assessing a biology teaching methods course within a Department of Biological Sciences. Electronic Journal of Science Education [online]. Available: [8(4), June 2004].

Smith, Rosemary J. 2003. Fact vs. Theory, Again. Letter to the Editor, American Biology Teacher 65(1): 10-11.

Smith, Rosemary J. 2002. Effect of larval body size on overwinter survival and emerging adult size in the burying beetle, Nicrophorus investigator. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 80(9):1588-1593.

Smith, Rosemary J. and Merrick, M. J. 2001. Resource availability and population dynamics of Nicrophorus investigator, an obligate carrion breeder. Ecological Entomology, 26:1-8.

Smith, Rosemary J., Amy Hines, Stephanie Richmond, Melissa Merrick, Allison Drew, and Rachelle Fargo. 2000. Altitudinal variation in body size and population density of Nicrophorus investigator (Coleoptera: Silphidae). Environmental Entomology, 29(2):290-298.

Smith, Rosemary J., Bonilla, Martha, Calahan, Courtney, & Jay Mann. 2000/2001. Comparison of reproductive success of in-situ burial versus the use of abandoned burrows for carcass interment by Nicrophorus investigator (Coleoptera: Silphidae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 73(4):152-158. Printed 9 May 2001.

Bihr, Keeley and Smith, Rosemary J. 1998. Structure, location, and contents of burrows of two montane ground squirrels, Spermophilus lateralis and Tamias minimus. The Southwestern Naturalist, 43(3):352-362.

Smith, Rosemary J. 1995. Harvest rates and escape speeds in two coexisting species of montane ground squirrels. Journal of Mammalogy 76:189-195.

Smith, Rosemary J. and Bryce Heese. 1995. Carcass selection in a high altitude population of the burying beetle, Nicrophorus investigator (Silphidae). The Southwestern Naturalist 40(1):50-55.

Smith, Rosemary J. 1993. Biological Field Stations: Opportunities for undergraduate and faculty research. Council on Undergraduate Research Quarterly, XII:4: May.

Smith, Rosemary J. and Joel S. Brown. 1991. A practical technique for measuring the behavior of foraging animals. The American Biology Teacher 53 (4): 236-242.

Brown, Joel S., Burt Kotler, Smith, Rosemary J., and William O. Wirtz. 1988. The effects of owl predation on the foraging behavior of heteromyid rodents. Oecologia 76:408-415.

Kotler, Burt, Joel S. Brown, Smith, Rosemary J., and William O. Wirtz. 1988. The effects of morphology and body size on rates of owl predation on desert rodents. Oikos 53:145-152.


921 South 8th Avenue
Pocatello, Idaho, 83209