Austin College Dean of Sciences Steve Goldsmith will present ‘Natural History of the Northern Elephant Seal” at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 15 during the “Tuesday Afternoon with…” lecture series in Caruth Administration Building, Room 201. The lecture is free and open to the public.
According to Goldsmith, the Northern Elephant Seal (Mirounga angustirostris) is a large, predatory mammal that spends much of its time at sea, feeding on small vertebrates and large invertebrates. The seals come ashore in December and January at Ano Nuevo State Reserve in San Mateo County, California, for the breeding season. Females form harems of 40-50 individuals, and full-grown adult males (15 feet long and more than 5,000 pounds) battle for control of the harems. “These battles are one of the features that make the Northern Elephant Seal a classical example of the effect of reproductive competition on male morphology and behavior,” Goldsmith explained.
A professor of biology, Goldsmith has been a member of the Austin College biology faculty since 1993 and became dean of Science in 2007. Before joining the Austin College faculty, he spent seven years as a visiting faculty member in biology at the University of Tulsa, where he also was director of academic advising for the College of Arts and Sciences.
Goldsmith earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in zoology at the University of Oklahoma and a doctorate in zoology at Arizona State University. His research interests are ecology and the evolution of insect mating systems and reproductive behavior, especially longhorned beetles; as well as the ecology of the Hawaiian montane wet forest, especially relationships between longhorned beetles, Koa, and ‘akiapola’au, an endangered honeycreeper. Goldsmith has taken many students on study trips in exploration of the natural history of the Hawaiian islands and discovery of desert biology. At Austin College, he teaches introductory biology, eukaryotic pathogens, animal behavior, and vertebrate biology.
“Tuesday Afternoon with…” is a continuing program of the faculty and the Johnson Center for Liberal Arts Teaching and Scholarship, directed by Robert Cape, professor of classics. Additional speakers for the fall series include Don Rodgers, associate professor of political science, on October 13, presenting “Team Teaching and Liberal Arts;” Jill Schurr, assistant professor of psychology, on November 10, presenting “Current Perspectives on IQ: g and beyond;” and Jacqueline Moore, professor of history, presenting “Cowboy Masculinities” on December 1. All sessions are scheduled at 4:30 p.m. in Caruth Administration Building, Room 201. Questions about the series may be directed to Cape at 903.813.2376.
The Robert Johnson Center for Liberal Arts Teaching and Scholarship fosters the culture of liberal arts education at all levels at Austin College. Through its programs for faculty, it supports professional and personal development as educators, scholars, leaders, and engaged members of their community. It offers programs to students to promote learning and research, and to encourage their interaction with faculty on a professional level inside and outside the classroom. The Center also offers programs to all members of the Austin College community to support and strengthen the liberal arts environment and promote better understanding of its value to a wider audience.
Austin College is a leading national independent liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas. Founded in 1849, making it the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original charter and name, the college is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA). Recognized nationally for academic excellence in the areas of international education, pre-professional training, and leadership studies, Austin College is one of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges that Change Lives.