Eric Hellgren | Department of Zoology | SIU

Southern Illinois University

Eric Hellgren | Department of Zoology | SIU



College of Science

Eric Hellgren



Office: 251D Life Science II
Phone: 618-453-6941

The research focus of my laboratory revolves around the effects of anthropogenic disturbances on the ecology of wildlife species. With increasing human populations and landscape fragmentation comes a need to understand vertebrate responses to these pressures. Because of my interests in population and nutritional ecology, my students tend to work on demographic and nutritional responses of mammals and reptiles to manipulations (e.g., burning, grazing, fertilization). Within this applied context, I also study basic ecological questions such as competition, resource partitioning, and life-history variation.


Ph.D.,Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Courses taught

ZOOL 433a / PHSL 433a (Comparative Physiology), ZOOL 440 (Wildlife Nutritional Ecology), ZOOL 588 (Wildlife Seminar)

Areas of interest

Wildlife biology, Population and Nutritional Ecology

Selected Recent Publications

Alford, A. L., E. C. Hellgren, R. Limb, and D. M Engle. 2012. Experimental tree removal in tallgrass prairie: variable responses of flora and fauna along a woody cover gradient. Ecological Applications: In press. 

Eubanks, B. W., E. C. Hellgren, J. R. Nawrot, and R. D. Bluett. 2011. Habitat associations of the marsh rice rat (Oryzomys palustris) in freshwater wetlands of southern Illinois, USA. Journal of Mammalogy 92:552-560.

Cooper, J. D., P. M. Waser, E. C. Hellgren, T. M. Gabor, and J. A. DeWoody. 2011. Is sexual monomorphism a predictor of polygynandry? Evidence from a social mammal, the collared peccary (Pecari tajacu). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 65:75-85. 

Onorato, D. P., M. Criffield, M. Lotz, M. Cunningham, R. McBride, E. H. Leone, O. L Bass, and E. C. Hellgren. 2011. Habitat selection by critically endangered Florida panthers across the diel period: implications for land management and conservation. Animal Conservation 14:196-205 (online DOI:10.1111/j.1469-1795.2010.00415.x)

Cooper, J. D., P.M. Waser, D. Gopurenko, E.C. Hellgren, T.M. Gabor, and J.A. DeWoody. 2010. Measuring sex-biased dispersal in social mammals: comparisons of nuclear and mitochondrial genes in collared peccaries. Journal of Mammalogy 91:1413-1424. 

Cooper, J. D. R. Vitalis, P. M. Waser, D. Gopurenko, E. C. Hellgren, T. M. Gabor, and J.A. DeWoody. 2010. Quantifying male-biased dispersal among social groups in the collared peccary (Pecari tajacu) using analyses based on mtDNA variation. Heredity 104:79-87. 

Hellgren, E. C., A. L. Burrow, R. T. Kazmaier, and D. C. Ruthven, III. 2010. The effects of winter burning and grazing on resources and survival of Texas horned lizards in a thornscrub ecosystem. Journal of Wildlife Management 74: 300-309. 

Van Den Bussche, R. A., J. B. Lack, D. P. Onorato, L. C. Gardner-Santana, B. R. McKinney, J. D. Delgadillo Villalobos, M. Chamberlain, D. White, and E. C. Hellgren. 2009. Mitochondrial DNA phylogeography of black bears (Ursus americanus) in central and southern North America. Journal of Mammalogy 90:1075-1082. 

Onorato, D. P., E. C. Hellgren, R. A. Van Den Bussche, D. L. Doan-Crider, and J. R. Skiles, Jr. 2007. Genetic structure of America black bears in the desert southwest of North America: conservation implications for recolonization. Conservation Genetics 8:565-576. 

Parsons, J. L., E. C. Hellgren, E. E. Jorgensen, and D. M. Leslie, Jr. 2005. Neonatal growth and survival of rodents in response to variation in maternal dietary nitrogen: life-history strategy vs. dietary niche. Oikos 110:297-308. 

Clark, J. E., E. C. Hellgren, J. L. Parsons, E. E. Jorgensen, D. M. Engle, and D. M. Leslie, Jr. 2005. Nitrogen outputs of small mammals from fecal and urine deposition: implications for nitrogen. Oecologia 144:447-455. 

Hellgren, E. C., D. P. Onorato, and J. R. Skiles, Jr. 2005. Dynamics of a black bear population within a desert metapopulation. Biological Conservation 122:131-140. 

Clark, J. E., E. C. Hellgren, E. E. Jorgensen, S. J. Tunnell, D. M. Engle, and D. M. Leslie, Jr. 2003. Population dynamics of hispid cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus) across a nitrogen-amended landscape. Canadian Journal of Zoology 81:994-1003. 

Woods, H. A., II, and E. C. Hellgren. 2003. Seasonal changes in the physiology of male Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana): Signs of the dasyurid semelparity syndrome? Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 76:406-417 

Kazmaier, R. T., E. C. Hellgren, Ruthven, D. C., III, and D. R. Synatzske. 2001. Effect of grazing on demography and growth of the Texas tortoise. Conservation Biology 15:1091-1101.

Gabor, T. M., and E. C. Hellgren. 2000. Variation in peccary populations: landscape composition or competition by an invader? Ecology 81:2509-2524.

Hellgren, E. C., R. T. Kazmaier, D. C. Ruthven III, and D. R. Synatzske. 2000. Variation in tortoise life history: demography of the Texas tortoise. Ecology 81:1297-1310. 

DeYoung, R. W., E. C. Hellgren, T. E. Fulbright, W. F. Robbins, and I. D. Humphreys 2000. Modeling nutritional carrying capacity for translocated desert bighorn sheep in western Texas. Restoration Ecology 8(4S):57-65.

For more information on the research program within the Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory and my own research efforts, please see the CWRL webpage.