Professor of Biology
I have always been interested in the natural world, developing a passion for the study of birds and dinosaurs (not necessarily in that order) from an early age. I teach about those subjects in my Wheaton classes so my avocation, beginning from early childhood, has been my adult vocation at Wheaton.
Ph.D., Rutgers University
B.A., Temple University
Ecology especially Tropical Ecology; Evolution, especially of vertebrates; Charles Darwin and others involved in the history of evolutionary thought; Birds, Dinosaurs.
I write extensively about ecology and natural history, especially about the ecology of the Americas, thus I have made many trips to Central and South America to study tropical ecology, especially as it applies to birds. My principal area of expertise is ornithology, thus I commit a great deal of effort watching birds, an activity in which I take much pleasure. I have studied North American migrant birds on their wintering grounds in the tropics and have led trips to many tropical regions. But I am trained broadly as an ecologist and have traveled the world to study Earth's major ecosystems, the biomes. These travels have formed the basis for my various books, each of which deals with some aspects of ecology and evolution.
I offer a variety of courses in ecology and evolution including Ornithology and Vertebrate Evolution and Anatomy. I enjoy showing students the importance, power, and logic of organic evolution as an explanation for patterns of life both present and past, as well as how evolution has shaped the human species and its behavior, including development of moral values. My courses each include a historical perspective emphasizing the history of life on Earth. I also believe it is essential to have field experience and so courses such as Ornithology include a large measure of field work and trips off campus.
I spend much time birding and am involved in both professional and amateur bird organizations. I am past president of the Wilson Ornithological Society, the Association of Field Ornithologists, and the Nuttall Ornithological Club. I have served on the board of directors of the American Birding Association, New Jersey Audubon Society, and the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences. I am currently on the Council of the Massachusetts Audubon Society. I also like to study dinosaurs, visiting museums and field sites, and have included dinosaurs in my courses. I have an extensive collection of model dinosaurs which I often bring to my labs for students to enjoy.
I have authored three ecology field guides to various regions of North America. I am perhaps best known for my book A Neotropical Companion, which deals with the scope of ecology and natural history in the New World Tropics. I have also authored Galapagos, a general natural history of the Galapagos Islands with a focus on how Charles Darwin's views on organic evolution were shaped by his visit to those islands. I have done two recorded lecture series, Behold The Mighty Dinosaur and The Ecological Planet. And, most recently, I have published a book titled The Balance Of Nature: Ecology's Enduring Myth. I have recently completed a text, Tropical Ecology, that was published by Princeton University Press in May 2011. I also author both scientific and general papers and articles on various aspects of my fields of interest.
Selected Publications, Creative Work, or Performances
Kricher, John, 2012. Biology of Birds. 4-CD Lecture Series, Modern Scholar.
Kricher, John. Tropical Ecology. 2011. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Kricher, John. The Balance of Nature: Ecology's Enduring Myth. 2009. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Kricher, John. 2008. The Ecological Planet: An Introduction to Earth's Major Ecosystems. CD Lecture Series, Modern Scholar.
Kricher, John. 2007. Behold the Mighty Dinosaur. CD Lecture Series: Modern Scholar.
Kricher, John. 2007. Tropical Forest Animal Communities. Encyclopedia of Life Sciences. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. www.els.net.
Kricher, John. 2002. Galapagos. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Kricher, John C., (and W.E.Davis, Jr.). 2000. Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus). In The Birds of North America, No. 545 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.
Kricher, John. 1998. A Field Guide to Rocky Mountains and Southwest Forests. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.
Kricher, John. 1998. A Field Guide to California and Pacific Northwest Forests. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.
Kricher, John. 1998. A Field Guide to Eastern Forests, Second Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.
Kricher, John 1997. A Neotropical Companion: A Guide to the Animals, Plants, and Ecosystems of the New World Tropics. Second Edition, revised and expanded. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.
Kricher, John C. 1995. Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia). In The Birds of North America, No. 158 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and The American Ornithologists Union, Washington, D.C.
Recent Talks and Presentations:
“Passerine Migration.” Presented at the meeting of the Nasketucket Bird Club, Mattapoisett, MA, 25 April 2013.
“Our Changing World and the New Normal: Birds and the Balance of Nature.” Presented as the William and Nancy Klamm Memorial Lecture as part of the Explorers Series at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland, OH, 5 April 2013.
“The Once and Future Wilson Ornithological Society.” Presented at a Symposium on the History of the WOS at the annual meeting of the WOS, Williamsburg, VA, 9 March 2013.
“Are Chickadees Modern Dinosaurs: The Dinosaur-Bird Connection.” Presented at the 300 Committee Land Trust, Falmouth, MA, 28 February 2013.
“Is There a Balance of Nature? Was There Ever?” Presented to Norton Institute of Continuing Learning, Wheaton College, Norton, MA, 14 November 2012.
“Exploring the Brazilian Pantanal.” Presented at Cape Cod Bird Club, Brewster, MA, 12 November 2012.
“Our Changing World and the New Normal: Birds and the Balance of Nature.”
Presented at the Cape May Autumn Birding Festival, Cape May, NJ, 27 October 2012.
“Conserving Birds in the Tropics: What are the Issues, What are the Chances?” Presented at the Cape May Autumn Birding Festival, Cape May, NJ, 26 October 2012.
“Speciation in Tropical Birds: Why Tropical Bird Guides Are So Thick.” Presented at the annual meeting of the Coastal Georgia Ornithological Society, Woodbine, GA, 2 June 2012.
“The Balance of Nature and the Goals of Conservation.” Presented to the Hoffman Bird Club, Lennox, Berkshire County, MA, 2 April 2012.
“Our Changing World: The Balance of Nature.” Presented at the Annual Gala of the Tucson Audubon Society, Tucson, AZ, 7 February 2012.
I have sponsored numerous student research projects ranging from laboratory studies of ecological microcosms to field studies of birds. The following are recent examples:
Co-authored student oral presentation:
Shave, Megan, and John Kricher. 2011. A study of the foraging behavior of two species of Tyrannid flycatchers in Belize. Presented at the annual meeting of the Wilson Ornithological Society in Kearny, Nebraska on March 10th.
Co-authored student poster:
Olson, Timothy and John Kricher. 2011. Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) foraging behavior in a mixed needle/broad-leaved forest and on a barrier beach in Massachusetts. Presented 11 March 2011 at the annual meeting of the Wilson Ornithological Society, Kearny, Nebraska.
Feeney, Sean and John Kricher. 2011. Analysis of population trends among four wintering bird species in eastern Massachusetts using CBC data. Presented July 28, 2011 at the annual meeting of the American Ornithologists Union, Jacksonville, Florida.