Biology

Patrick A. Thorpe

 

Patrick A. Thorpe, Ph.D.
Professor

Microbiology; Molecular Biology; Evolution

Office: 251 Padnos
Phone: (616) 331-3175
Email: thorpep@gvsu.edu

 

Education:

Ph.D. - 1985 - The University of Texas at Dallas. Biology
M.S. - 1982 - The University of Texas at Dallas. Biology
B.S. - 1978 - Texas Lutheran College. Biology, summa cum laude

Courses taught at GVSU:

BIO 355 Human Genetics
BIO 357 Environmental Microbiology
BIO 405 Cell & Molecular Biology Lecture
BIO 406 Cell & Molecular Biology Lab
BIO 414 Molecular Biology of the Gene

 

Research Interests:

Dr. Thorpe is interested in the evolution of behavior. His current research involves examining both theoretically and empirically the role of sexually transmitted microbes (e.g., viruses, bacteria, and fungi) in the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of mating systems. According to Dr. Thorpe, it is easy to understand the advantages that accrue to individuals that avoid copulating with partners infected with a sexually transmitted pathogen. However, it is also possible for an individual, especially a female, to benefit by copulating with a partner that inoculates it with a beneficial microbe that either acts as a therapy against a current infection or as a "vaccine" against future infection. Dr. Thorpe is interested in how the relative frequencies and potencies (i.e., effects on hosts) of sexually transmitted microbes in a population affect mating behavior. He also is collaborating with Dr. Lombardo on this project. Dr. Thorpe focuses on the microbiological aspects of this question while Dr. Lombardo focuses on the behavioral aspects.

Drs. Thorpe and Lombardo study these questions by examining the microbiology and mating behavior of Tree Swallows, a common bird on the GVSU campus. Each year they are assisted by both field and laboratory assistants. Student field assistants learn the skills necessary for conducting basic ornithological and behavioral research. Each learns how to census nest boxes, capture and color-mark wild birds, weigh and measure birds, search birds for ectoparasites (e.g., mites and lice), and take blood, semen, fecal, and cloacal samples. Under the direction of Dr. Thorpe, lab assistants learn basic microbiological techniques. They have had many students working with them in the past. Some have been quite successful and have made presentations at professional meeting and have been co-authors on papers published in scientific journals. If you are interested in participating in this project, you may contact either Professor.

 

Recent Publications:

Lombardo, M. P. & P. A Thorpe.  2009.  Captivity affects sperm production, testes size and beak color in House Sparrows (Passer domesticus).  International Studies of Sparrows 33:5-16

Lombardo, M. P., P. A. Thorpe, B. M. Brown*, & K. Sian*.  2008.  Digit ratios in birds.  Anatomical Record 291:1611-1618

Lombardo, M. P. & P. A. Thorpe. 2008.  Digit ratios in green anolis lizards (Anolis carolinensis).  Anatomical Record 291:433-440.

Lombardo, M. P., M. L. Green, P. A. Thorpe, M. R. Czarnowski, & H. W. Power 2004. Repeated sampling affects Tree Swallow semen characteristics.  Journal of Field Ornithology 75:394-403.

Nyland, K. B., M. P. Lombardo, & P. A. Thorpe.  2004.  Left-sided directional bias of cloacal contacts during House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) copulations. Wilson Bulletin 115:470-473.

Lombardo, M. P., A. N. Forman, M. R. Czarnowski, & P. A. Thorpe.  2002.  Individual, temporal, and seasonal variation in sperm concentration in Tree Swallows.  Condor 104:831-838.

Lombardo, M. P. and Thorpe, P. A. 2000. Microbes in Tree Swallow Semen. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 36(3): 460-468.

Lombardo, M.P., Thorpe, P. A., and Power, H. W. 1999. The Beneficially Sexually Transmitted Microbe Hypothesis of Avian Copulation. Behavioral Ecology 10:333-337.

Mills, T. K., Lombardo, M. P., and Thorpe, P. A. 1999. Microbial Colonization of the Cloacae of Nestling Tree Swallows. Journal of Avian Biology 29:314-321.

Sarniak, B., J. Whaley, and P. A. Thorpe. 1998. Regulatory Variation between Drosophila Species Groups. (in preparation for Journal of Molecular Evolution).

Brock, N., and Thorpe, P. A. 1997. The Effects of Intestinal Microbes on Nestling Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) Growth and Development. McNair Scholars Journal (in press).



Recent Posters and Presentations:

Nestling Oral Microbial Colonization in Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor).  Heather A. Danhof, H. A., Thorpe, P. A., & Lombardo, M. P.  West Michigan  Undergraduate Research Conference, October 31, 2009, VanAndel Research Institute, Grand Rapids, MI.

Sex differences in innate immunity in Tree Swallows.  Houdek, B., Lombardo, M. & Thorpe, P.  West Michigan  Undergraduate Research Conference, October 31, 2009, VanAndel Research Institute, Grand Rapids, MI.

Sex differences in innate immunity in Tree Swallows.  Houdek, B., Lombardo, M. & Thorpe, P. A.  American Ornithologists' Union Annual Meeting, August 14, 2009, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Social environment and beak color in House Sparrows. Lombardo, M. & Thorpe, P. A.  American Ornithologists' Union Annual Meeting, August 14, 2009, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Social environment in captivity affects beak color in House Sparrows.  Lombardo, M. & Thorpe, P. A.  Wilson Ornithological Society/Association for Field Ornithologists Meeting, April 10, 2009,  Pittsburgh, PA.

The sexual transmission of microbes during copulation in Tree Swallows.  M. P. Lombardo, P. A. Thorpe, & J. L. DenUyl. International Society for Behavioral Ecology, 9-15 August 2008,Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

Breeding experience and reproductive performance in Tree Swallows. M. P. Lombardo & P. A. Thorpe.  North American Ornithologists’ Union annual meeting, 8-11 August 2007, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY.

Sperm production in birds: a re-evaluation of avian semen quality indices.  J. DenUyl, M. P. Lombardo, & P. A. Thorpe.  North American Ornithologists’ Union annual meeting, 8-11 August 2007, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY.

Captivity affects sperm production in House Sparrows (Passer domesticus). M. P. Lombardo & P. A. Thorpe.  North American Ornithological Conference, 3-7 October 2006, Veracruz, Mexico.

Brown, B., M. P. Lombardo, & P. A Thorpe.  2004.  Digit ratio in House Sparrows. Wilson Ornithological Society/Association of Field Ornithologists Annual Meeting, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

Brinks, J., P. A. Thorpe, & M. P. Lombardo A direct test of the beneficial sexually transmitted microbe hypothesis. Wilson Ornithological Society/Association of Field Ornithologists Annual Meeting, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

VanKuiken, K. M. P. Lombardo, & P. A. Thorpe. 2003. Left-sided directional bias of cloacal contacts during House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) copulations. Wilson Ornithological Society/Association of Field Ornithologists, Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, OH.


VanKuiken, K. B., M. P. Lombardo, and P. A. Thorpe.  2003.  Left-sided directional bias of cloacal contacts during House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) copulations. GVSU Student Scholarship Day.  April 2003.

Green, M., M. P. Lombardo, P. A. Thorpe, & M. R. Czarnowski. 2001. Sperm depletion in Tree Swallows.  American Ornithologists' Union and Society of Canadian Ornithologists Joint Meeting, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.

Green, M., M. P. Lombardo, P. A. Thorpe, & M. R. Czarnowski. 2001. Patterns of sperm depletion in Tree Swallows.  Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, & Letters.  University of Michigan - Dearborn, Dearborn, MI.

Lombardo, M. P. and P. A. Thorpe.  2002.  Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Birds.  North American Ornithological Conference, September 2002.  New Orleans, LA.  Invited presentation in symposium on avian diseases.

Polous, M. and P. A. Thorpe.  2002.  Samarium mutagenesis of Saccharomyces cerevisiae mitochondrial DNA.  GVSU Student Scholarship Day.  April 10, 2002.

Lesser, B. and P. A. Thorpe.  Development and Characterization of an Ovarian Tissue Array.  Brandon Lesser and Patrick A. Thorpe.  GVSU Student Scholarship Day.  April 10, 2002.

Scientific & Professional Societies:

ISMB - International Society for Molecular Biology
GSA - Genetics Society of America
AAAS - American Association for the Advancement of Science

 

Page last modified March 6, 2014