Marilyn Banta

Marilyn Banta, Ph.D

Marilyn Banta, Ph.D.

Senior Lecturer and Pre-health Professions Advisor
Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Ph.D., 2000, University of Nevada, Reno
M.S., 1991, Texas A&M University
B.S., 1989, Williamette University


Modern Biology I (BIO 1320)
Modern Biology II (BIO 1421)
Human Physiology and Anatomy (BIO 2430)
Environmental Physiology of Animals (BIO 4350J/5350J)

Pre-Health-Professions Advising

Research Interests

My research area is primarily in the area of animal physiological ecology.  I am interested in understanding how endotherms, with their high rates of metabolism, respond to severe environmental challenges (temperature and water availability extremes).  Some examples of specific questions that are of interest to me include:  exploring the use of torpor as an energy saving strategy, understanding how variation in metabolic rate affects survival, and examining the role that hormones play in metabolism.  While I am interested in the physiology of endotherms in general, I am particularly interested in the rodent family Heteromyidae, especially kangaroo rats and pocket mice.  These rodents are physiologically well-adapted for  desert habitats, yet a few species have ranges that extend well beyond the deserts of North America.  These wide ranging species are an excellent system to use for examining natural physiological variation.  My interest in heteromyid rodents has also led me to pursue research involving the conservation of species in this family that are threatened with habitat loss and small population size. 

Selected Publications

Sears, M.W., J.P. Hayes, M.R. Banta, and D. McCormick. 2009. Out in the cold: physiological capacity influences behavior in deer mice. Functional Ecology 23:774-783.

Bakken, G.S., M.R. Banta, C.M. Higginbotham, and A.J. Lynott. 2006. It’s just ducky to be clean: the water repellency and water penetration resistance of swimming mallard ducklings. J. Avian Biology 37:561-571.

Bakken, G.S., M.J. VanSant, A.J. Lynott, and M.R. Banta. 2005. Predicting small endotherm body temperatures from scalp temperatures. Journal of Thermal Biology 30:221-228.

Banta, M.R., A J. Lynott, M.J. VanSant, and G. S. Bakken. 2004. Partitioning heat loss from Mallard ducklings swimming on the air-water interface. Journal of Experimental Biology 207:4551-4557

Banta, M.R., R. Brewer, A. Hansen, H. Ku, K. Pacheco, R. Powers, J. Robinson, and G. Tucker* (*The order of authorship is alphabetical and all authors contributed equally). 2004. An innovative program for cultivating grant writing skills in new faculty members. Journal of Research Administration 35:17-24.

Banta, M.R. 2003. Merriam’s kangaroo rats (Dipodomys merriami) voluntarily choose temperatures that conserve energy rather than water. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 76:522-532.

Banta, M.R. and D.W. Holcombe. 2002. The effects of thyroxine on various aspects of metabolism and water turnover in Merriam’s kangaroo rat (Dipodomys merriami). Journal of Comparative Physiology 172:17-25.

Wiener, C.M., M.R. Banta, M.S. Dowless, N.A. Flavahan, and J.T. Sylvester. 1995. Mechanisms of hypoxic vasodilation in ferret pulmonary arteries. American Journal of Physiology 269:L351-L357.

Please see faculty member’s CV or website for a complete list of publications and additional information.