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The Clotfelter Lab at Amherst College is committed to creating a safe, supportive, and anti-racist environment in which all students are equally and inclusively supported in their education and research training.

We are broadly interested in animal behavior, physiology, and functional morphology.  Most of our current work focuses on a long-term study of tree swallows (Tacycineta bicolor) breeding in Western Massachusetts and on convict cichlid fish (Amatitlania nigrofasciata) in Central America.  We also study crayfish (Procambarus and Faxonius spp.) biomechanics. 

Ethan Clotfelter, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology
edclotfelter [at]

Ethan attended the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill before getting his M.S. and Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  He spent most of his early career studying birds, then started working on fish and crayfish more than a decade ago.  He joined the faculty at Amherst College in 2003.  He is the Rufus Tyler Lincoln Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at Amherst.  He is married with three (young) adult children and enjoys hiking and canoeing with his family and dog, scuba diving, and distance running.

2021-2022 lab members 

Isabel Davis
Research assistant

Isabel is from northern Virginia, and graduated from George Mason High School in 2020. She is a sophomore at Amherst college, and a prospective Biology or Biochemistry Biophysics major. She has always had a love for science and animals, inspiring her goal to become a veterinarian. Because of her passion for animals, she has had many pets, including at the moment a hedgehog named Penny, a goldfish named Bubbles, and a dog named Brooklyn. Besides taking care of her pets, she enjoys baking, playing soccer, and more recently, rowing for Amherst Crew.

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Callie Hundley
Research assistant

Callie is from Columbus, Ohio and graduated from Upper Arlington High School in 2020. She is a prospective biology and environmental studies major and is specifically interested in learning about the ways climate change is affecting organisms and environments. In the summer of 2021, she conducted research on the effects of blow fly ectoparasitism on blood glucose and hemoglobin in nestling tree swallows. She enjoys exploring national parks, camping, reading, and rowing.

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Monica Diaz
Research assistant
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Nick Gulow
Senior thesis student
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Luis de Pablo
Senior thesis student
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