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University of Central Oklahoma


David Bass, Ph.D., is a professor of Biology & Curator of Invertebrates at the University of Central Oklahoma where he has taught many different courses in the fields of ecology and invertebrate zoology. He received a Ph.D. (Zoology) from Texas A&M University and M.S. (Biology) and B.S. (Science Education) degrees from Lamar University. Bass has also taught courses for the University of Oklahoma, the University of Colorado, the University of the West Indies, and the Bellaire Marine Research Lab. He received the Medal of Excellence for University Teaching from the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence in 2020 and the Neely Award for Excellence in Teaching, UCO’s most prestigious faculty award, in 2011. In addition, Bass served as a Fulbright Professor and Visiting Research Fellow at the University of the West Indies (Barbados) during the 1995-96 academic year. He also holds appointments officially designating him as a Visiting Scientist in several Caribbean island nations. His ongoing research efforts focus on the ecology, biogeography, and diversity of invertebrates 1) in North America and 2) on small islands in the Caribbean region. These have resulted in numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at scientific meetings. In recognition of this body of work, Bass was honored by UCO as a Haumptman Research Fellow in 2004. In addition, he has active roles in many university committees and events, including coaching the UCO Sailing Team. Bass is a member of several professional societies including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Oklahoma Academy of Science, and was named an AAAS Fellow in 2009 for his dedication to science education, original research, and professional service. He is both a past president and past executive director of the Oklahoma Academy of Science, and currently serves as the Oklahoma Delegate to AAAS. Bass has been involved with meeting activities of the National Association of the Academies of Science and American Junior Academy of Science for many years, including a term as NAAS President during 2008, and continues serving on its board of directors.

Classes Taught

Invertebrate Zoology

General Ecology

Freshwater Ecology

Marine Ecology

Aquatic Entomology

General Biology

Oklahoma Natural History

Education and Certifications


Ph.D., Texas A&M University (1985)

M.S., Lamar University (1979)

B.S., Lamar University (1978)


US Sailing Instructor

NAUI Advanced Diver

Research, Published Work, and Scholarly Activities

My research lab studies invertebrate biodiversity and aquatic ecology. We are especially interested in the distributions, abundances, ecological roles, and natural history of aquatic macroinvertebrates. We endeavor to learn why these organisms live where they do, understand what they do in the environment, and determine how they are adapted to do so. This lab group also oversees and curates the Invertebrate Section in the UCO Natural History Museum.

Oklahoma Studies

Many investigations of macroinvertebrate community structure and ecology of streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs, and temporary pools have been conducted across Oklahoma. Several of these studies occurred in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy on properties they own and manage in Oklahoma. Other investigations involving invertebrate biodiversity and water quality have taken place on state and tribal nation lands. Currently, we are studying the population of the introduced Harris Mud Crab in Lake Texoma. Advanced students with the appropriate academic background are often involved in these projects.

Caribbean Studies

I have been conducting invertebrate biodiversity and related ecological studies on small Caribbean islands since the 1980’s. Some of the islands in these investigations include Barbados, Antigua, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, Saba, Dominica, Grenada, Tobago, Mayreau, Guanaja, Cozumel, and the Cayman Islands. I have several on-going projects occurring on Grand Cayman: 1) long-term monitoring of invertebrate communities in selected freshwater habitats, 2) invertebrates of anchialine caves, 3) impact of an introduced crayfish on freshwater invertebrate community, 4) shell selection by terrestrial hermit crabs, and 5) land crab population structure and reproductive migration. Specimens from all of these studies have been deposited in the Caribbean Invertebrate Section of the Invertebrate Collection in the UCO Natural History Museum – this now contains one of the largest collections of freshwater Caribbean invertebrates in the world and numerous international collaborations have resulted.

Access to most of my publications may be made through Research Gate:

Honors and Awards

Medal of Excellence for University Teaching, Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence (2020)

Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (elected 2009)

J. William Fulbright Scholar, Caribbean Regional Lecturing Program, University of the West Indies - Barbados (1995-96)

Distinguished Service Award, National Association of Academies of Science (2009)

Outstanding Service Award, Oklahoma Academy of Science (2001)

Neely Award for Excellence in Teaching, UCO Foundation (2011)

Outstanding Student Organization Adviser Award, UCO Office of Student Affairs (2011)

Friend of Commuter Students Award, UCO Office of Student Affairs (2010)

Haumptman Fellowship Award for Research, UCO College of Graduate Studies & Research (2004)

Researcher of the Year, UCO Sigma Xi Club (1992)

Professional and Community Involvement

Oklahoma Academy of Science

Life Member (1985-present)

Executive Director (2001‑2019)

President‑Elect (1998‑99), President (2000‑01), Immediate Past President (2002-03)

Field Trip Leader, Oklahoma Academy of Science Field Meetings (1987‑present)

Chair, Biological Sciences Section (1992‑93)

Reviewer of Manuscripts for Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Sciences (1988‑present)

Student Paper Judge (1987‑present)

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Member & Oklahoma Delegate (2001-present)

Section Y (General Science & Engineering), Member and Oklahoma Delegate (2001-present)

National Association of Academies of Science

Member & Oklahoma Delegate (2001-present)

President-Elect (2007), President (2008), Immediate Past President (2009, 2018), Board Member (2005-present)

American Junior Academy of Science

Member & Oklahoma Delegate (2001-present)

Trip/Special Event Leader (2001-present)

Sigma Xi Research Society

UCO Sigma Xi Club President (1989-90, 2014-15)

Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society

Member (1978 -present)

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