Renee Godard

Renee Godard

In my classes at Hollins, students spend time outside learning, how to ask and answer questions about the natural world, a world that unfortunately has become less familiar to most undergraduates in the 21st century. From the deciduous forests we call home to Caribbean coral reefs, we explore ecological and behavioral questions as well as related environmental problems and their impacts.

I have always felt that changing your perspective, from wandering through new ecosystems to hiking a familiar trail at night, allows you to ask more interesting questions and to find connections that are often hidden.

The classes I teach at Hollins include Environmental Science, Ecology, Animal Behavior, and Field Vertebrate Biology. I co-lead a January term travel/research trip that explores the biodiversity and cultural history of the Caribbean. The research questions that my students and I explore are broad and range from: determining if birds can respond to chemical cues, to biodiversity changes on coral reefs, to determining the degree to which our technological systems for delivering food can result in microbial contamination of what we consume.

Courses Taught

  • Animal Behavior
  • Environmental Science
  • Field Vertebrate Biology
  • The Caribbean Environment


  • Ph.D, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 1994
  • B.S., Guilford College


  • Have published a number of research articles in national and international journals including six with Hollins students as co-authors. Two recent publications in the International Journal of Food Microbiology which included four student co-authors described studies examining microbial contamination of soda fountain drinks. Over 110 web articles were written about this research.

Research Interests

  • Chemodetection of predator cues by birds
  • Changes in fish and coral biodiversity in Caribbean coral reefs