Jake Pruett, Ph.D.

Jake Pruett, Ph.D.

Jake Pruett, Ph.D.

Visiting Assistant Professor


  • 2017 Ph.D., Biology, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN
  • 2008 M.S., Biology, University of Texas at Tyler, Tyler, TX
  • 2006 B.S., Biology, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN

Research Interests

My research draws from the fields of endocrinology, anatomy, and behavioral ecology to better understand the evolution of animal communication systems. Specifically, I am interested in physiological mechanisms and ecological factors that mediate the expression of signaling traits and receiver responses in the contexts of intraspecific social communication and predator-prey interactions. Animals use a variety of signaling modalities for communication, but the most common modes of communication in lizards are visual and chemical signals. Male color badges and chemical secretions are used as territorial displays during the breeding season, and testosterone is involved in the expression of both displays. I use a variety of techniques to answer questions about the interactions between reproductive hormones, social signals, and territorial behavior. I am also interested in cues and signals used in predator-prey interactions, and the factors that mediate and shape antipredator behavior. Specifically, I examine how prey use predator cues to assess risk and how exposure to cues alters prey physiology and behavior. Exposure to predator visual and chemical stimuli can elicit a variety of antipredator responses in prey, including increases in circulating stress hormone levels. My work in this arena explores interactions between predation risk, stress hormones, and antipredator behavior.

Selected Publications

  • Pruett JPruett JA, Zuniga-Vega JJ, Campos SM, Soini H, Novotny M, Vital-Garcia C, Martins EP, Hews DK. (2016) Evolutionary interactions between visual and chemical signals: chemosignals compensate for the loss of a visual signal in male Sceloporus lizards. Journal of Chemical Ecology 42:1164-1174.
  • Pruett JA (2016) Getting the message: Multimodal signals mediate social interactions in Sceloporus lizards (Lacertilia: Phrynosomatidae). Southwestern Center for Herpetological Research Bulletin 6:23-28.
  • Pruett JA, Ossip-Klein AG, Vital-Garcia CV, Zuniga-Vega JJ, Hews DK (2015) Sceloporus grammicus (mesquite lizard). Pursuit-deterrent signaling. Herpetological Review 46:437-438.
  • Cobb VA, Green JJ, Worrall T, Pruett JA, and Glorioso B (2005) Initial den location behavior in a litter of neonateCrotalus horridus (Timber Rattlesnakes). Southeastern Naturalist 4:723-730.