Department of Zoology

Brian Keane
Associate Professor
Ph.D. Purdue University, 1988
Animal behavior, population genetics

556 MOS
150 PSN
Office Hours:
  Monday . . . .
  Tuesday . . . .
  Wednesday . .
  Thursday. . . .
  Friday. . . . . . All by appt.

Biographical Information:

Brian Keane's research primarily focuses on combining the use of molecular genetic techniques with field studies on natural populations to address questions in evolutionary biology and behavioral ecology. Ongoing research involves studies of the social behavior of prairie voles. Prairie voles are socially monogamous rodents that sometime breed cooperatively. The formation of cooperative breeding groups typically occurs when offspring delay dispersal and remain at the natal nest. Research is underway investigating the costs and benefits of delaying dispersal. In a related study, genetic variation at microsatellite loci is being used to assess parentage in order to determine if social monogamy in prairie voles equates with genetic monogamy. Data from a recent laboratory study suggests that differences in the length of microsatellite DNA within the gene encoding a receptor for vasopressin (V1aR) affects social behavior and possible mate fidelity among male prairie voles. Since all previous studies looking at the affects of polymorphism in the V1aR gene on male social behavior have been conducted on captive animals in laboratory settings, we have initiated a project to examine the relationship between length polymorphism in the microsatellite DNA of this gene in male prairie voles and social and genetic monogamy in a field setting.

Courses Taught:

  1. Animal Diversity (ZOO 113)
  2. Principles of Biology (ZOO 114)
  3. Environmental Science (ZOO 121)
  4. Vertebrate Zoology (ZOO 311/630)
  5. Environmental Education: Focus on Natural History (BOT/ZOO 351)

Recent Publications:

  1. Solomon, N.G. and B. Keane. In press. Reproductive Strategies in Female Rodents. In, Rodent Societies, J.O. Wolff and P.W. Sherman, editors. University of Chicago Press.

  2. Lin, Y.K., B. Keane, A. Isenhour and N.G. Solomon. 2006. Effects of patch quality on dispersal and social organization of prairie voles: An experimental approach. Journal of Mammalogy 87:446-453.

  3. Keane, B., M.H. Collier and S.H. Rogstad. 2005. Pollution and genetic structure of North American populations of the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 105:341-357.

  4. Solomon, N.G., B. Keane, L.R. Knoch and P.J. Hogan. 2004. Multiple paternity in socially monogamous prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster). Canadian Journal of Zoology 82:1667-1671.

  5. Rogstad, S.H., B. Keane and M.H. Collier. 2003. Minisatellite DNA mutation rate in dandelions is correlated with leaf tissue concentrations of Cr, Fe, Mn, and Ni. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 22:2093-2099.