229 McGuire Life Sciences Building
PO Box: AC# 2237
Please call the college operator at 413-542-2000 or e-mail info@amherst.edu if you require contact info@amherst.edu

Ethan D. Clotfelter

Professor of Biology and Neuroscience

Departmental affiliations: Biology; Environmental Studies; Neuroscience


Behavioral ecology, reproductive physiology, and environmental toxicology using bird and fish models

Professional and Biographical Information


Ph.D., University of Wisconsin (1998)
M.S., University of Wisconsin (1994)
B.A., University of North Carolina (1991)


Research Interests

My research is in the areas of behavioral ecology, reproductive physiology, and environmental toxicology. I am particularly interested in the physiological constraints imposed by sexually selected traits. This includes research projects on the costs of elevated plasma testosterone in male and female dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis) and the allocation of dietary carotenoids between coloration and immunity in the fighting fish Betta splendens and two species of cichlids, Midas cichlids (Amphilophus cintrinellus) and convict cichlids (Amatitlania nigrofasciata). I have been involved in a collaborative project on the implications of incubation energetics for life history evolution in tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor). Finally, I am interested in understanding the behavioral and physiological consequences of exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals in aquatic vertebrates, particularly fishes.



Biology 106: Why Sex?

Biology 181: Adaptation and the Organism

Biology 281: Animal Behavior

Biology 440: Seminar in Conservation Biology

Environmental Studies 120: The Resilient (?) Earth: An Introduction to Environmental Studies


Awards and Honors

Elected councilor (2013-2015): Association of Field Ornithologists

National Science Foundation (2012-2014): Dissertation Research:  The food matrix mediates carotenoid tradeoffs in a reverse-dimorphic cichlid (Co-PI: Alexandria C. Brown)

Senior Sabbatical Fellowship, H. Axel Schupf ’57 Fund for Intellectual Life (2012): Amherst College

National Science Foundation (2011-2014): Collaborative Research: RUI: Carotenoid trade-offs in a species with colorful females: environmental influences and fitness consequences (Collaborator: Ryan L. Earley, University of Alabama)

National Science Foundation (2007-2012): Behavioral and neuroendocrine consequences of phytoestrogen exposure

Class of 1952 Dean Eugene S. Wilson Fellow (2005-2006): Amherst College

Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation (2005-2007): Endocrine disruption of aggression: what we can learn about humans by studying fish            

Elected member (2005): American Ornithologists’ Union

Elected member (2004): Sigma Xi Amherst College Chapter


Scholarly and Professional Activities

Chair, Department of Biology, Amherst College (2010-2012)

Faculty, Program in Environmental Studies, Amherst College (2008-present)

Member, Program in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, University of Massachusetts-Amherst (2003-present)



See also:

Selected Publications