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Assistant Professor

University of Central Oklahoma


Dr. Baird studies the ecology and evolution of animal behavior. For nearly three decades, his primary study system in Oklahoma has been the population of collared lizards living on the flood-control spillways at the Arcadia Lake Dam. This population is a semi-natural laboratory ideal for social behavior, sexual selection, communication, aggression, reproductive biology, hormonal-behavioral interactions, predator avoidance, and foraging. The research involves longitudinal observations of individually marked free-ranging individuals from when they are neonates throughout adulthood, allowing a detailed understanding of the interaction between behavior and fitness in relation to age. Opportunities to record such data are very rare, especially in vertebrates, and this system continues to result in numerous presentations and publications in widely-read journals. Dr. Baird retired from teaching at UCO in May, 2019, but continues to conduct research and publish, and remains interested in advising research by both undergraduate and masters students.

Interested students should: 1) study recent publications (see links to published papers) to learn more, 2) discuss with Dr. Baird their specific new research ideas that can be addressed in collared lizards (or other systems), and 3) be able and willing to work in the field with living animals during March-June and/or August-September. Qualified, interested students should submit a letter explaining their educational background/objectives and why you are interested and qualified to conduct research on collared lizards or another system of interest. Also include your transcripts (unofficial copy is ok). Submit as attachments to:

Education and Certifications

  • Ph.D. in Zoology, University of British Columbia, 1989.
  • Pre-Doctoral Research Associate, Oregon State University, Hatfield Marine Science Center, 1988.
  • Research Associate, University of California, Department of Neuroscience and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 1978 – 1982.
  • M.S. in Biology, California State University, San Diego, 1980.
  • B.S. in Zoology, California State University, San Diego, 1978.


  • Professor Emeritus, Department of Biology, University of Central Oklahoma, May 2019-present.
  • Professor, Department of Biology, University of Central Oklahoma, 1997 – 2019.
  • Associate Professor, Department of Biology, University of Central Oklahoma, 1993 – 1997.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, University of Central Oklahoma, 1989−1993.

Research, Published Work, and Scholarly Activities

Papers Published in Peer-Reviewed Journals (last 12 years)

Braun, C.A. and T.A. Baird (2018). Grasshopper coloration influences juvenile collared lizard prey preference. The Southwestern Naturalist 63: 68–70. 

York, J.R. and T.A. Baird (2019). Sexual selection on female collared lizards favours offspring production with multiple partners. Animal Behaviour 14: 17–23. 

Baird, T.A. (2018). Live fast and prosper: Early territory defence is not costly in male collared lizards (Crotaphytus collaris). Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society 123: 628–635. 

Braun, C.A., T.A. Baird, and J.R. York. (2018). Behavioural plasticity in physically variable microhabitats: A field test of the potential adaptive consequences in male collared lizards (Crotaphytus collaris). Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society 125: 37–49. 

Braun, C.A. and T.A. Baird (2018). Collared lizards use caudal displays while stalking prey. Journal of Herpetology 52: 113–115. 

York, J.R, and T.A. Baird. (2017). Sexual selection on male collared lizard (Crotaphytus collaris) display behaviour enhances offspring survivorship. Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society. 122: 176–183. 

York, J.R, and T.A. Baird. (2016). Juvenile collared lizards adjust tail display frequency in response to variable predation threat. Ethology 122: 37−44. (PDF = York and Baird 2016)

Baird, T.A., A.A. McGee, and J.R. York. (2015). Responses to femoral gland secretions in visually-adept male and female collared lizards. Ethology 120: 1−7. 

Stone, M.E., T.A. Baird, and P.A. Stone. (2015). Is melanism a consequence of sexual selection in male red-eared sliders Trachemys scripta elegans? Journal of Herpetology 49: 574–578. 

York, J.R., and T.A. Baird. (2015). Testing the adaptive significance of sex-specific mating tactics in collared lizards. Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society 115: 423−436. 

Baird, T.A., M.B. Lovern, and R. Shine. (2014). Heightened aggression and winning contests increase corticosterone but decrease testosterone in male Australian water dragons. Hormones and Behavior 66: 393−400. 

York, J.R., T.A. Baird, and M.L. Haynie. (2014). Unexpected high fitness payoff of subordinate social tactics in male collared lizards. Animal Behaviour 91: 17−25. (Featured article for issue). 

Baird, T.A., T.D. Baird, and R. Shine. (2013). Showing red: male coloration signals same-sex rivals in an Australian dragon. Herpetologica 69: 436−444. (Featured article for issue). 

Baird, T.A. (2013). Male collared lizards, Crotaphytus collaris (Sauria: Crotaphytidae), signal females by broadcasting visual displays. Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society 108: 636–646. 

Baird, T.A., T.D. Baird, and R. Shine. (2012). Aggressive transition between alternative male social tactics in a long-lived Australian dragon (Physignathus lesueurii) living at high density. PLoS ONE  7(8) e 41819. 

Telemeco, R.S., T.A. Baird, and R. Shine. (2011). Tail waving in a lizard (Bassiana duperreyi) functions to deflect attacks rather than as an pursuit-deterrent signal. Animal Behaviour 82: 369−375.    

Telemeco, R.S. and T.A. Baird (2011). Capital energy drives production of multiple clutches whereas income energy fuels growth in female collared lizards, Crotaphytus collaris. Oikos 120: 915−921. 

Telemeco, R.S., R.S. Radder, T.A. Baird, and R. Shine. (2010). Thermal effects on reptile reproduction: Adaptation and phenotypic plasticity in a montane lizard. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 100: 642−655. (Telemco et al. 2010)

Baird, T.A. and J.L. Curtis. (2010). Context-dependent acquisition of territories in male collared lizards: Effects of mortality. Behavioral Ecology 21: 753−758. 

Braun, C.A., T.A. Baird, and J.L. LeBeau. (2010). Influence of ambient temperature and directness of approach on escape responses of hatchling collared lizards. Herpetologica 66: 418−424. 

Baird, T.A. 2009. Does experimentally induced conspicuous coloration increase risk of predation and conspecfic aggression in first-year collared lizard males? Herpetologica 65:31−38. 

Baird, T. A. 2008. A growth cost of experimentally induced bright coloration in first-year collared lizard males. Behavioral Ecology 19: 589−593. 

Curtis, J.L. and T.A. Baird. 2008. Within-population variation in free-living adult and ectoparasitic larval trombiculid mites on collared lizards. Herpetologica 64: 189−199. 

Baird, T.A., Hranitz, J.M., Timanus, D.K., and Schwartz, A.M. 2007. Dynamic behavioral attributes influence annual male mating success more than static morphological attributes in collared lizards, Crotaphytus collaris. Behavioral Ecology 18: 1146−1154. 

Baird, T.A., and Hews, D.K. 2007. Hormone levels in territorial and non-territorial male collared lizards Physiology and Behavior 92: 755−763. 

Curtis, J.L. and T.A. Baird. 2007. Crotaphytus collaris (Eastern collared lizard), communal hibernation; dispersal. Herpetological Review. 38: 76–78.

Schwartz, A.M., Baird, T.A. and Timanus, D.K. 2007. Influence of age and prior experience on territorial behavior and the costs of defense in male collared lizards. Ethology 113: 9−17.


Contibuted Chapters and Edited Volume

Baird, T.A., and T.D. Baird. 2014. Sexual selection under predation risk: Adaptation in a master architect, the Caribbean sand tilefish. Pgs. 1−45, In: Watson, P. (ed.). Social Behavior: Evolutionary Pathways, Environmental Influences and Impairments. Nova Science Publishers, New York.

Baird, T.A. 2013. Social life on the rocks: Behavioral diversity and sexual selection in collared lizards. Pgs. 213−245, In: Lutterschmidt, L.I. (ed.)., Reptiles in Research: Investigations of Ecology, Physiology, and Behavior from Desert to Sea. Nova Science Publishers. New York.

Baird, T.A. 2013. Lizards and other reptiles as model systems for the study of aggressive contest behaviour. Pgs. 258−286, In: Hardy, I. and Briffa, M. (eds.). Animal Contests Cambridge University Press.

Baird, T.A., Timanus, D.K. and Sloan, C.L. (2003). Intra- and intersexual variation in social behavior: Pgs.7−46. In: Fox, S.F., McCoy, J.K. and Baird, T.A. (eds.), Effects of ontogeny, phenotype, resources, and season. Lizard Social Behavior.  John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD.

Fox, S.F., McCoy, J.K. and Baird, T.A. (eds.) (2003). Lizard Social Behavior. Johns Hopkins University Press. Baltimore, MD. 438 pp.

McCoy, J.K., Fox, S.F. and Baird, T.A. (2003). Sexual selection, social behavior, and the environmental potential for polygyny. Pgs. 149−171. In: Fox, S.F., McCoy, J.K., and Baird, T.A. (eds.). Lizard Social Behavior.  Johns Hopkins University Press. Baltimore, MD.

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