James Russell

Dr. James E. Russell

Associate Professor of Biology, Chair of Studies for Environmental Science

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Biography

Dr. James Russell’s teaching and research interests revolve around the broad fields of evolutionary biology and ecological interactions, with a particular interest in symbiotic interactions. Symbiosis spans a continuum of interactions that include everything from parasitic to mutually beneficial relationships. Symbiotic relationships have played, and are continuing to play, significant roles in the evolution of life on earth. Current research with Russell focuses on questions around the ecology and evolution of insects (and some plants) and infectious bacterial symbionts. Recent research using material collected by Georgia Gwinnett College students on a research expedition in California’s Mojave Desert revealed high levels of parasitic interactions among insects species, competitive exclusion among insects species, and low, but significant, levels of bacterial infection in some insect populations. Russell and some GGC research students are also currently working on questions regarding the population genetics and coevolution of insects and a particular bacterial symbiont called Wolbachia. 
 
Research activities inform and stimulate Russell’s interest in teaching biology. Russell shares his appreciation and fascination of the biological world with GGC students in the classes he teaches because he feels an informed biological world is a better world. Russell’s teaching emphasizes principles and concepts associated with everything from genetic interactions to environmental changes. Russell and several other faculty members in the biology discipline have recently incorporated DNA fingerprinting technology with biodiversity assessments into some of biology laboratory classes, in an effort to provide students with some of the tools needed to understand basic biological processes in local environments.
 

Education

  • Doctorate – entomology (ecology and evolution) – University of California, Riverside
  • Bachelor’s – biology – Texas State University

Academic Interests

  • Evolution
  • Ecology
  • Genetics
  • Environmental science