Professor and Associate Chair, Biology
Alexa Tullis’ research focuses on animal energetics. Within this broad topic, she studies how factors such as temperature, locomotion, and body form influence animal metabolism and performance. Research by Tullis and her students has drawn upon the great diversity in the animal kingdom to address physiological questions, with projects involving both invertebrates (insects, crabs, sea stars, brachiopods, and bivalves) and vertebrates (sharks and snakes). She is co-author of “Can Dogs Use Vocal Intonation as a Social Referencing Cue in an Object Choice Task" (2018; Animal Cognition). In addition her research has taken an integrative approach, spanning from molecules to whole animals. One project studied male fiddler crabs to investigate the metabolic cost and locomotory implication of possessing a huge major claw that the crabs use to attract females and fight other males. In another National Science Foundation funded project, Tullis used proteomics to gain insight into how two species of blue mussels adapt to the highly variable temperatures of their environment. She is co-author of “Can Dogs Use Vocal Intonation as a Social Referencing Cue in an Object Choice Task" (2018; Animal Cognition). Tullis also has written articles for the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology, Journal of Comparative Physiology, and Ecology, among others. She teaches courses including Comparative Animal Physiology, Science in the News, and Diversity of Life.