Kevin R. Theis, PhD 2008
Kevin is currently a post-doctoral fellow in the lab of Tom Schmidt in Microbiology at MSU. In the summer of 2009 he was awarded his very own (large!!) NSF grant to study bacterial communities inhabiting the scent glands of spotted hyenas
Efficient communication systems in animal societies coordinate group activities, modulate intragroup aggression, and facilitate complex social interactions. I am studying both vocal and chemical communication in the spotted hyena, although my primary focus is on the ontogeny and function of scent marking. Crocuta scent marking includes a conspicuous behavior called pasting, wherein hyenas deposit secretions from their anal glands on grass stalks and other objects in the environment. I am currently trying to determine the informational content of these marks, as well as the ultimate functions of pasting behavior by different age/sex classes of spotted hyena. Additionally, I am investigating the role bacteria play in this mammalian scent marking system.
Kevin's wesbsite is here:
theiskev [at] msu.edu