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About Us: Our Faculty

Darren Proppe, Assistant Professor, Biology

Darren Proppe616-526-6662
Office: DeVries Hall 207

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  • B.S. in Biology, Texas A & M University in Biology, 1998
  • M.S. in Applied Ecology, Eastern Kentucky University, 2005
  • Ph.D. in Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, 2010

Professional Experience

  • Assistant Professor,  Montreat College, Montreat, North Carolina, 2010 – 2012
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta,  2006 – 2010
  • Avian Biologist, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Fort Collins, Colorado,  2005 – 2006
  • High School Science Educator, Berea College, Berea, Kentucky,  Summer 2005
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky, 2003 – 2005
  • Environmental Science Educator, American Outdoor Schools, Coarsegold, California, 2001 –  2003

Biographical information

I am interested in how animals respond to novel environments – especially those altered by human development. My research focuses primarily on the responses of songbirds to the increasing levels of anthropogenic (human caused) noise that overlaps their vocal signals. Since these overlapped signals appear to be less detectable, I have been investigating mechanisms that species employ to increase the effectiveness of their signals in areas of high noise. I have also investigated the potential that noise exacerbates the loss of some species and facilitates homogenization in developed landscapes. To learn more about this research see my interview on the BBC website and on BBC World News. Currently, I am investigating a novel method for sustaining songbird populations in the presence of anthropogenic noise. Given the seemingly unstoppable increase in noise levels worldwide, we must realistically seek for ways to preserve biodiversity within this context. For more information please visit my lab webpage.

As an educator, I strive for a relaxed, yet rigorous, approach to learning about the natural world. I promote applied learning through hands-on activities and example driven presentations. I am most invigorated when teaching students while immersing them in the ecosystems they are studying! Perhaps, that is because it is here that the beauty of God’s Creation is most evident to me. In my spare time I enjoy spending time outdoors with my wife Sarah, son Elliot, and daughter Grace. I do watch birds off the job too, recently adding the Atlantic puffin, roseate turn, and kirtland’s warbler to my life list! I also enjoy road and mountain biking, hiking, and backpacking. Past experiences include leading wilderness trips in the West and Midwest, teaching scuba diving in the Caribbean, and teaching environmental education along the West Coast.

See an interview about my research that was on BBC World News >>
Here is a BBC story as well.

See a partial list of Dr. Proppe's publications