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Biological Sciences

Dr. Higgins

Christopher L. Higgins, PhD

Associate Professor

  • Ph.D., Texas Tech University, 2005
  • M.S., Texas Tech University, 2001
  • B.S., Angelo State University, 1999

Email: higgins@tarleton.edu
Phone: 254-968-9019
Office: SCI 213 I

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)



Courses Taught

I use Blackboard 9 in all my classes to: (1) post grades - student grades are confidential and Blackboard provides password protected access to their grades, (2) distribute materials - I use Blackboard as a means to distribute handouts or other lecture related materials, (3) engage students - in my experience students who routinely engage in the learning process outside of the classroom outperform those who do not. In addition to simple engagement through the use of online quizzes, I like using Blackboard to create various discussion boards that help promote critical thinking, and (4) mobility - as society becomes more dependent on smart phones so have students need for an App based means of access to all course related material and grades. In other words, students can no longer have the excuse of "I didn't know".... they can study "on the go" or from anywhere in the world!

Fall Spring
Ecology and Evolution (BIOL 353) Ecology and Evolution (BIOL 353)
Ecology (BIOL 401) Ichthyology (BIOL 462)
Research Design and Analysis (BIOL 598) Measuring Biological Diversity (BIOL 590)

Student Research Opportunities

Research is a vital part of a student's education! In addition to personal satisfaction, students gain academic motivation, develop critical thinking abilities, learn problem solving skills, enhance communication proficiency, and increase their scientific understanding. If you are interested in conducting undergraduate research, send me an email to schedule a meeting.

**** I AM CURRENTLY LOOKING FOR 2 TSU BIOLOGY STUDENTS TO CONDUCT UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH.   EACH STUDENT WILL RECEIVE A $1000 ASSISTANTSHIP FOR THE FALL AND SPRING SEMESTERS. EACH STUDENT WILL RECEIVE A $2000 ASSISTANTSHIP FOR THE SUMMER. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN APPLYING FOR THESE RESEARCH ASSISTANTSHIPS, CLICK THE LINK BELOW FOR PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS TO COMPLETE BRIEF APPLICATION.

Ichthyology Class Electrofishing

Students from Ichthyology class electrofishing



Dr. Higgins in Puerto Rico

Dr. Higgins at field station in Puerto Rico

Research Interests

Most of my research focuses on freshwater ecosystems, with particular interest in wadeable streams. My research combines experimental and observational approaches to answering questions of ecological origin. In addition, most of my research is quantitative in nature and viewed from an evolutionary perspective. Currently, there are three foci to my research:

  • Community Ecology - I am interested in understanding the abiotic factors and biotic interactions that lead to coexistence among a suite of species and using this understanding to formulate predictive models of community assembly
  • Metacommunity Ecology - I am interested in uncovering broad-scale patterns of metacommunity structure and elucidating the underlying mechanisms that give rise to those patterns.
  • Population Ecology - I am interested in knowing how and why population numbers change through time and using mathematical models to predict future changes


Selected Publications

* - student authors

  • De la Sancha, N.U., C.L. Higgins, S.J. Presley, and R.E. Strauss.  2014.  Metacommunity structure in a highly fragmented forest: has deforestation in the Atlantic Forest altered historic biogeographic patterns?  Diversity and Distributions - Online Early DOI: 10.1111/ddi.12210.
  • Munz, J.T.* and C.L. Higgins. 2013. The influence of discharge, photoperiod, and temperature on the reproductive ecology of cyprinids in the Paluxy River, Texas. Aquatic Ecology 47:67-74.
  • Higgins, C.L. 2010. Patterns of functional and taxonomic organization of stream fishes: inferences based on α, β, and γ diversities. Ecography 33: 678-687.
  • Presley, S.J., C.L. Higgins, and M.R. Willig. 2010. A comprehensive framework for the evaluation of metacommunity structure. Oikos 119: 908-917.
  • Higgins, C.L. and R.E. Strauss. 2008. Modeling stream-fish assemblages with niche apportionment models: patterns, processes, and scale dependence. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 137: 696-706

See Publications page for complete list of publications


Selected Presentations

* - student authors

  • Price, C.*, D.H. Kattes, C.L. Higgins, K. Herrmann, T.W. Schwertner. 2013. Spatial and temporal variation in distribution and abundance of spinose ear ticks (Otobius megnini) at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. Southwestern Branch of the Entomological Society of America. Las Cruses, NM
  • Munz, J.T.* and C.L. Higgins. 2011. Reproductive ecology of cyprinids in the Paluxy River. Southwestern Association of Naturalist. Tyler, TX
  • Stone, K.* and C.L. Higgins. 2010. Spatial and temporal variation in fish-assemblage structure along the Paluxy River. Tarleton State University Student Research Symposium. Stephenville, TX
  • Bloch, C.P., C.L. Higgins, and M.R. Willig. 2009. Long-term trends in spatial partitioning of biodiversity: considerations of disturbance and recovery. Long Term Ecological Research Network All Scientist Meeting. Estes park, CO
  • Higgins, C.L., C.P. Bloch, and M.R. Willig. 2008. Temporal changes and the effects of disturbance on the partitioning of biodiversity of terrestrial gastropods at various spatial scales. Ecological Society of America. Milwaukee, WI

See Presentations page for complete list of presentations.