Frank J. Dirrigl Jr.

Frank J. Dirrigl Jr., Ph.D.Frank J. Dirrigl Jr., Ph.D.
Associate Professor
SCSI 2.344
Office: (956) 665-8732
frank.dirrigl@utrgv.edu

Courses

ENSC3400 Environmental Science & Public Policy
ENSC3401 Environ. Regulations & Impact Analysis
BIOL 3302 Biological Writing

Education

Ph.D. 1998. Anthropology. University of Connecticut.
M.A. 1991. Anthropology. University of Connecticut. 
B. A. 1988. Biology. University of Connecticut.

Areas of Interest

Environmental Biology and Land Use Ecology. Rare Species Biology and Conservation. Comparative Vertebrate Osteology and Taphonomy.

Research

Our research interests are interdisciplinary drawing on both the natural and social sciences as they can be applied to evaluate and interpret relationships between people, the environment, and natural resources in the past, present, and future.

1) Currently, the environmental science research/consulting involves biological investigations of the response of indicator species and species guilds to land-use development. We are particularly interested in biomonitoring pre and post construction activities to access the potential impacts from environmental engineering structural designs and practices on wildlife. One long-term project, involves the use of rapid benthic invertebrate sampling protocols and monitoring to assess wildlife benefits resulting from open channelization and culvert systems. We have found that even in localized urban areas that invertebrate and vertebrate species respond positively to open channelization as habitat suitability increases and naturalizes. Based on this information, we develop and evaluate best management practices (BMPs) and their potential to support wildlife.

2) Another research/consulting area involves the field survey for rare species and gathering of natural history information that is useful to conservation biology. One project has involved the development of a conservation ranking scheme for the protection of vernal pools in the Northeast US based on Natural Heritage Methodology of The Nature Conservancy and NatureServe. By identifying the conservation-priority of vernal pools, development plans can be modified to avoid and mitigate potential impacts to wetlands and the natural resources that they support.

3) Finally, we also conduct comparative vertebrate osteology research/consulting with an emphasis on birds. We are interested particularly in how bone biology, such as bone mineral density (BMD), affects the preservation of palaeontological samples. This focus has lead to numerous taphonomic evaluations of archaeozoological assemblages that result in gaining a better understanding of the different factors that affect researchers’ abilities to reconstruct animal use by people in prehistoric and historic contexts.

Most Recent Publications

Curriculum Vitae