Sigma Xi hosts distinguished lecturer Monday

May 6, 2022 | Faculty/Staff, General News, Research, Students

Louisiana Tech’s Chapter of the Sigma Xi Research Honor Society will host Dr. David Pfennig, evolutionary biologist at the University of North Carolina, as its 2021-22 Distinguished Lecturer at 3:30 p.m. Monday, May 9, in University Hall 134.

The virtual lecture is free; the public is invited.

For Zoom information for those who can’t attend but wish to experience the presentation, contact Tech’s Dr. Natalie Clay, assistant professor of biological sciences, at or 318.257.3197.

His presentation is titled “Life Imitating Lie: The Evolution of Mimicry.”

“Dr. Pfennig’s expertise in mimicry and its role in natural selection and biodiversity is a fascinating topic as it is one of the many ways species have survived the tests of time,” Dr. Heidi Adams, Tech’s Sigma Xi president and associate professor of wildlife habitat management, said. “By pretending to be something they’re not, such as another species that is perceived as dangerous, they are able to better protect themselves from predators.”

Pfennig’s presentation also aligns with many studies currently being conducted at Tech and with many courses being taught, including biological diversity (BISC 132 and 133), evolution (BISC 426), biology of wild animals (WILD 450), animal behavior (BISC 493), and ecology (BISC/ENSC 313).

“Dr. Pfennig’s research exemplifies the excellence in science investigations that Sigma Xi was established to recognize,” Clay said. “(His presentation is) an opportunity for scientists across the University and disciplines, as well as interested members of the public, to come together in the promotion of scientific collegiality, collaboration, and the celebration of science, a central goal of Sigma Xi.”

Pfennig earned two BS degrees in zoology and geology and a PhD from the University of Texas. His research focuses on how the interplay between evolution, ecology, and development shapes biodiversity. He has published more than 130 technical articles, and his research has been funded continuously since 1994 by the National Science Foundation and has been featured in The New York Times, Newsweek, National Geographic, and other widely noted publications.

He has presented at nearly 100 universities and at dozens of museums, civic groups, and K-12 schools.

Sigma Xi is designed to reward excellence in scientific research and to encourage a sense of companionship and cooperation among scientists in all fields. For more information on the organization, contact Adams at or 318.257.2947.