Associate Professor

Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources

Cook College

Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey

80 Nichol Avenue

New Brunswick, NJ 08901-2882

Phone: 732-932-0649 x14; FAX: 732-932-3222

e-mail: hpower@rci.rutgers.edu



24 January 1945

Conrad, MT, USA




Rebecca C. Power

Born 26 July 1987


B.A. (with Honors), Zoology, University of Montana, 1967

M.A., Zoology, University of Michigan, 1969

Ph.D., Zoology, University of Michigan, 1974


C.S.E. Certified Senior Ecologist, Ecological Society of America, 1991


1) Research:

a) Strategies of reproductive success in the context of the evolution of reproductive effort, especially in birds. This is a large, complex, and long-term project, involving the development of a cost - benefit, graphical/mathematical theory of reproductive effort that specifies the rules by which reproductive strategies evolve and are ecologically expressed. It has already produced a number of testable predictions that have been borne out by field studies on European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) in New Jersey, and Mountain Bluebirds (Sialia currucoides) in Montana.

b) The sexual transmission of beneficial microbes as a possible means of vacination against future infection and therapy against present infection in birds. This is the opposite of sexually transmitted diseases. Field work on Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) in Michigan, involving a Rutgers graduate student (Matt Czarnowski) and colleagues at Grand Valley State University (Drs. Michael P. Lombardo and Patrick A. Thorpe), has produced a substantial body of evidence consistent with the idea that one motivating factor in avian copulation is the acquisition of beneficial microbes.

c) The life history of Mountain Bluebirds (shown above). This is a long-term project that has produced almost everything of consequence about this species in the scientific literature. It is conducted in Montana on and around Power's ranch in the foothills of the Little Belt Mountains (shown below title). Present field work focuses on vital statistics, offspring sex ratios, and the relationship between morphological symmetry during development, and the survival and future reproductive success of nestlings.

2) Public Policy:

a) Higher education

b) Free market environmentalism


1) Monographs:

1996. Power, H.W. & M.P. Lombardo. Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides). The Birds of North America No. 222 (A. Poole & F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.

1992. Litovich, E. & H.W. Power. Parent-offspring Conflict and Its Resolution in the European Starling. Ornithological Monographs No. 47.

1980. Power, H.W. The Foraging Behavior of Mountain Bluebirds. Ornithological Monographs No. 28.

2) Recent scientific papers:

1999. Lombardo, M.P., P.A. Thorpe & H.W. Power. The beneficialsexually transmitted microbe hypothesis of avian copulation. Behavioral Ecology 10:333-337.

1998. Power, H.W. Quality control and the important questions in avian conspecific brood parasitism. Chapter 20 in Parasitic Birds and Their Hosts, ed. by S.I. Rothstein & S.K. Robinson. New York: Oxford University Press.

3) Classic scientific papers:

1991. Stouffer, P.C. & H.W. Power. An experimental test of the brood reduction hypothesis in European Starlings. Auk 108:519-531.

1990. Power, H.W. Genetic parasitism in the European Starling. Pp. 223-233 in Population Biology of Passerine Birds: an Integrated Approach. Ed. by J. Blondel, A. Gosler, J.D. Lebreton & R. McCleery. Heidelburg: Springer-Verlag. (NATO ASI Series).

1989. Power, H.W., E.D. Kennedy, L.C. Romagnano, M.P. Lombardo, A.S. Hoffenberg, P.C. Stouffer & T.R. McGuire. The parasitism insurance hypothesis: why starlings leave space for parasitic eggs. Condor 91: 753-765.

1981. Power, H.W. The question of altruism. Sociobiology 6: 7 - 21.

1975b. Power, H.W. Mountain Bluebirds: experimental evidence against altruism. Science 189: 142-143.

1975a. Power, H.W. A model of how the sickle-cell gene produces malaria resistance. J. Theoret. Biol. 50: 121-127.

4) Popular papers:

1995. Power, H.W. "Bluebird". Entry in World Book Encyclopedia.

1989. Power, H.W. Birds of song and lore. Birder's World 3:14 -18.

5) Teaching manual:

1993- (Updated annually). Animal Social Behavior (704:443). 255 pp., 74 figs., 4 tables.


1974 — 76. Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology. Syracuse University. Syracuse, NY.

1976 — 81. Assistant Professor of Biology. Livingston College, Rutgers University. New Brunswick, NJ.

1981 — 96. Associate Professor of Biological Sciences. Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Rutgers University. New Brunswick, NJ.

1991 — 92. Research Associate. Department of Zoological Research, National Zoological Park, Smithsonian Institution. Washington, D.C.

1996 — Present. Associate Professor of Ecology, Evolution & Natural Sciences. Cook College, Rutgers University. New Brunswick, NJ.


American Ornithologists' Union

Animal Behavior Society

Cooper Ornithological Society

George C. Marshall Institute

International Society for Behavioral Ecology

National Association of Scholars

Wilson Ornithological Society


1993. Fellow. American Ornithologists' Union.

1987. Research Award. North American Bluebird Society.

1981. Elective Member. American Ornithologists’ Union.

1980. Elected Member. American Society of Naturalists.

1973. Roberts Award. Cooper Ornithological Society.

1968. Elected Member. Phi Sigma Society.

1963. Ecology Award. U.S. National — International Science Fair.


Undergraduate Courses:

704:441. Animal Behavior. (Senior-level course).

704:443. Animal Social Behavior. (Senior-level course).

Graduate Courses:

215:701-702. Research in Ecology.


Department of Ecology, Evolution & Natural Resources:

Departmental Delegate, New Brunswick Faculty Council

Graduate Program in Ecology & Evolution:

Chair, Scholastic Review Committee

Member, Executive Committee


2000. Convocation Delegate, Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey.

1998 — 00. Vestry Member, Holy Cross Church (Episcopal), North Plainfield, NJ.

1990 — Present. Fellow, Douglass College, Rutgers University. New Brunswick, NJ.