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Dr. James Kerfoot

Assistant Professor of Biology
131 White Hall
Union University
Jackson, Tennessee 38305
(731) 661-5926


  • B.S. and M.S., Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville, IL
  • Ph.D., Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL

Previous Experience

  • Teaching Assistant and Lab Coordinator, Florida Institute of Technology, 2003-2008
  • Teaching Assistant and Lab Coordinator, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, 2001-2003
  • Research Associate, Kinetric, Inc. Mechanisms to deter fish from Power Plant Intakes, 2005-2009

Courses Commonly Taught

  • Advanced Anatomy and Physiology
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Wildlife Biology
  • Marine Biology
  • Collaborative Research Experience

Majors and Pre-Professionals Advised

  • Pre-Physician's Assistant
  • Conservation
  • Pre-Chiropractic

Research/Scholarship Interests

  • Ecophysiology of Aquatic Vertebrates, Movement and Dispersal of Invasive Fish Species, Functional and Ecological Morphology of Feeding Systems in Fishes
  • Population Dynamics, Trophic Ecology, Conservation and Management Policy

Recent Collaborative Research Projects/Student Projects

Spring 2013

  • Justin Williams. Influence of Temperature on Prey Escape Success between Gambusia affinisand Belonesox belizanus.
  • Justin Bryan. The Effect of Temperature on the Feeding Ability in Tiger Bass.

Fall 2012

  • The Effect of Temperature on Escape Velocity of Pimephalos promelas. Sudents: L. Bright, A. Dick, and K. Wright.
  • Modulation of Prey Capture; the Influence of Temperature and Prey Type. Students: E.Bailey, A. Green, and B. McCarter.

Spring 2012

  • John Kartzinel. The Influence of Temperature and the Presence/Absence of a Predator on the Startle Response of the Mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis.

Fall 2011

  • Tyler Boone. Geographical Distribution of Larval Eustrongylides sp. in West Tennessee. Co-mentor with M. Lockett, Ph.D.
  • Micah Fern. Scaling the Feeding Mechanism in the American Alligator, Alligator mississippieusis.
  • Sarah Williams. The Effects of Temperature on the Feeding Kinematics of the invasive Lionfish,Pterosis volitaus.

Spring 2011

  • Thomas Duncan: Scaling the Feeding Mechanism of Pike Killifish (Belonesox belizanus).
  • Aaron Davidson. Testing the Link Between Diet and Phentotypic Plasticity in the Feeding Mechanism of Lepomis microlophus

Spring 2010

  • The Influence of Temperature on the Feeding Rates of Two Introduced Species, Astronotus ocellatus (Oscar) and Archcentrus nigrofasciatus (Convict Cichlid): Implications for Their Successful Establishment in Florida.

    Students: Mollie Carter, Chelsea Harden, Jared Littlejohn, Dakota Tracy, and Tara Tucker

  • Johnathan Love. Morphological Variation in Native and Introduced Populations of Pike Killifish (Belonesox belizanus).

Current Student Projects

  • Sarah Porter. Measuring the stress level and behavior of French Grunts from hatchery rearing to the marketplace.
  • Jacob Landfield. Linking thermal stress to cortisolin fish.


  • Kerfoot, JR. 2012. Thermal Tolerance of the Invasive Belonesox belizanus, Pike Killifish, throughout Ontogeny. Journal of Experimental Zoology, 317:266-274.
  • Kerfoot, J.R. and R.G. Turingham. 2011; Similarity and Disparity in Prey-Capture Kinematics Between the Invasive Pike Killifish (Belonesox belizanus) and the Native Florida Largemouth Bass (Micropterus floridanus). Florida Scientist, 74(3): 137-150.
  • Kerfoot, J.R., J.J. Lorenz and R.G. Turingham. 2011. Environmental Correlates of the Abundance and Distribution of Belonesox belisanus in a Novel Environment. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 92: 125-139.
  • Kerfoot, J.R. and J.F. Schaefer. 2006; Ecomorphology and habitat utilization of Cottus species. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 76: 1-13.
  • Schaefer, J.F. and J.R. Kerfoot. 2002; Long term community change in an adventitious stream: Landscape Perspectives. American Midland Naturalist, 151(1): 134-145.

Professional Affiliations

  • Florida Academy of Sciences
  • Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology
  • Illinois State Academy of Science
  • American Society of Ichthyology and Herpetology
  • Southwestern Association of Naturalists
  • Tennessee Academy of Sciences
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