Jennifer E Smith

Jennifer Smith
Associate Professor of Biology
Biology Department Chair
NSB 122

Professional Interests: Behavioral and evolutionary ecology of social rodents and carnivores


At Mills Since 2012


Jennifer Smith is a behavioral ecologist whose research integrates perspectives from evolutionary biology, animal behavior, genetics, physiology and urban ecology in an effort to understand how natural selection and current conditions shape decision-making in mammals. As leader of the Long-term Study on the Behavioral Ecology of California ground squirrels, Smith's team of undergraduates combines naturalistic observations with field experiments, genetic and endocrine analyses, and social network statistics to test evolutionary theory. Smith is also internationally recognized for her comparative research on social lives of mammals, especially those of carnivores. This work reveals the evolutionary and ecological forces favoring leadership and cooperation. Her recent career awards for excellence in teaching and mentoring include those from the Animal Behavior Society and Phi Beta Kappa.


  • BA, Colby College
  • MS, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • PhD, Michigan State University

Faculty Office Hours, Spring 2021

Days Times Room
M 12:30 pm–1:30 pm NSB 122
  or by appointment  

Spring 2022 Schedule

Day Time Course Title Room
11:00 am-12:15 pm
Principles of EcologyNSB 208
2:30 pm-5:30 pm
Principles of Ecology LabNSB 171
11:00 am-12:15 pm
Vertebrate BiologyNSB 208
1:00 pm-5:00 pm
Vertebrate Biology LabNSB 171
  Directed Research

Courses Taught

  • BIO 125: Principles of Ecology
  • BIO 144: Animal Behavior
  • BIO 158: Marine Biology
  • BIO 161: Vertebrate Biology
  • BIO 191: Senior Seminar