Jeffrey Whitt is a biologist, a bibliophile, and an art school dropout. Through more years of schooling than he’d care to admit, Whitt has worked with armadillos, flying squirrels, pocket gophers, ground squirrels, and most recently, northern bobwhite. He is now continuing his research in the Quail Research Laboratory at A&M-Commerce. When Whitt is not reading, writing, and researching, he enjoys spending time with his patient wife and their curious daughter.
A Conversation with Dr. Whitt
What draws you to your discipline?
“I have loved science from a young age but had very wide-ranging interests. It wasn’t until I went to college that I considered biology as a career. I was drawn in that direction through recreational reading and my curiosity. Of course, having wonderful, smart friends who are also biologists doesn’t hurt. Life on this planet is beautiful, bizarre, complicated, messy, confusing, disgusting, astonishing and wonderful. How could I not want to learn more about it?”
What has been your favorite course to teach?
“My favorite course to teach was probably comparative anatomy lab. I got to show the students how physical form is so closely related to function but also constrained by evolutionary history. I also immensely enjoyed teaching freshman biology to students in the Honors College at UNT. They were all very bright students with many different majors. Every class period was essentially one long conversation relating biology to other, diverse interests and disciplines.”
Tell us a little about yourself
“I grew up in north Texas where my family resides today. I enjoy cooking complicated recipes from diverse cultures, curating a broad academic library, and finding great deals at garage sales. My wife and I take great joy in watching our daughter Penelope grow and explore the world around her. We are eagerly awaiting the day when she will become our intellectual superior. My family also enjoys travel and eating strange and wondrous cheeses from around the world. When asked about working with me, one of my colleagues said, “He always knows the best places to eat.””
- Ph.D., Biology, University of North Texas, 2019
- BS, Biology, University of North Texas, 1997
- Post.D. Research Associate, Texas A&M University-Commerce, 2019-Present
Awards and Honors
- 1st place poster, Graduate Life Sciences, Thermal Stress Impacts on California Quail during Pre-incubation, Poster presentation at Pathways Research Symposium, 2019
- 3rd place poster, Graduate Life Sciences, Roost Preferences of Translocated California Quail, Pathways Research Symposium, Rushing, 2019
- 1st place poster, Undergraduate Life Sciences, Developmental Stages of the California Quail Embryo, Pathways Research Symposium, 2019
- Species distribution with regard to abiotic factors and anthropogenic disturbances
- Historical and future trajectories in species distribution
- Interactions between physiology and ecology
- Texas Wildlife Association