Research interests

My overall focus is on intraspecific variation in behavior, i.e., animals that do different things either in different places or at different times in the same place, and identifying the ecological conditions that influence such behavioral plasticity.

Woodchuck sociality


My primary research focuses on a long term study of of woodchuck behavior and ecology. I explore factors that influence their degree of sociality, particularly kinship and the costs and benefits of cooperation and competition with kin. I also investigate individual differences in behavior, measuring responses to different situations, to explore how such differences impact other aspects of their behavior, including philopatry.

Woodchuck hibernation


In collaboration with Stam Zervanos at Penn State University - Berks, we investigate hibernation physiology of woodchucks across a latitudinal gradient to determine the flexibility of this strategy for coping with winter conditions.


Maher, C. R. and Burger, J. R. In press. Diversity of social behavior in caviomorph rodents. In: Sociobiology of caviomorph rodents: an integrative review (L. Ebensperger and L. Hayes, eds.). Wiley-Blackwell.

Zervanos, S. M., Maher, C. R., and Florant, G. L. 2014. Effect of body mass on hibernation strategies of woodchucks (Marmota monax). Integrative and Comparative Biology. 54:443-451. [PDF available]

McKay, J. L. and Maher, C.R. 2012. Relationship between blood mercury levels and components of male song in Nelson’s Sparrows (Ammodramus nelsoni). Ecotoxicology. 21:2391-2397. [PDF available]

Aschemeier, L.A. and Maher, C.R. 2011. Eavesdropping of woodchucks (Marmota monax) and eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus) on heterospecific alarm calls. Journal of Mammalogy. 92: 493-499. [PDF available]

Maher, C.R. and Burger, J.R. 2011. Intraspecific variation in space use, group size, and mating systems of caviomorph rodents. Journal of Mammalogy. 92: 54-64. [PDF available]

Maher, C.R. and Duron, M. 2010. Mating system and paternity in woodchucks (Marmota monax). Journal of Mammalogy. 91: 628-635. [PDF available]

Zervanos, S.M., Maher, C.R., Waldvogel, J.A. and Florant, G.L. 2010. Latitudinal differences in the hibernation characteristics of woodchucks (Marmota monax). Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. 83:135-141. [PDF available]

Maher, C.R. 2009. Effects of relatedness on social interaction rates in a solitary marmot. Animal Behaviour. 78:925-933. [PDF available]

Maher, C.R. 2009. Genetic relatedness and space use in a behaviorally flexible species of marmot, the woodchuck (Marmota monax). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 63: 857-868. [PDF available]

Darhower, S.E. and Maher, C.R. 2008. Effects of immunocontraception on behavior in fallow deer (Dama dama). Zoo Biology. 27: 49-61.
[PDF available]

Brown, D.E., Maher, C.R., and Mitchell, C.D. 2006. A comparison of pronghorn body measurements throughout western North America. Proceedings of the 22nd Biennial Pronghorn Antelope Workshop. 22:125-137. [PDF available]

Mitchell, C.D. and Maher, C.R. 2006. Horn growth in pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) males: selection for precocial maturation in stochastic environments. Acta Theriologica. 51:405-409. [PDF available]

Maher, C.R. 2006. Social organization in woodchucks (Marmota monax) and its relationship to growing season. Ethology. 112:313-324. [PDF available]

Maher, C.R. 2004. Intrasexual territoriality in woodchucks (Marmota monax). Journal of Mammalogy. 85:1087-1094. [PDF available]

Mitchell, C.D. and Maher, C.R. 2004. Selection for early horn growth in pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) males. Proceedings of the 21st Biennial Pronghorn Antelope Workshop. 21:54-63. [PDF available]

Kitchen, D.W. and Maher, C.R. 2001. Pronghorn. In: The new encyclopedia of mammals (D.W. Macdonald, ed.). Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Mitchell, C.D. and Maher, C.R. 2001. Do horn characteristics correlate with age in male pronghorns? Wildlife Society Bulletin. 29:908-916.

Maher, C.R. 2000. Quantitative variation in ecological and hormonal variables correlates with spatial organization of pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) males. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 47:327-338. [PDF available]

Maher, C.R. and Mitchell, C.D. 2000. Effects of selective hunting on group composition and behavior patterns of pronghorn, Antilocapra americana, males in Montana. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 114:264-270.

Maher, C.R. and Lott, D.F. 2000. A review of ecological determinants of territoriality within vertebrate species. American Midland Naturalist. 143:1-29. [PDF available]

Maher, C.R. 1997. Group stability, activity budgets, and movements of pronghorn females. Southwestern Naturalist. 42:25-32.

Maher, C.R. and Lott, D.F. 1995. Definitions of territoriality used in the study of variation in vertebrate spacing systems. Animal Behaviour. 49:1581-1597. [PDF available]

Maher, C.R. 1994. Pronghorn male spatial organization: population differences in degree of non-territoriality. Canadian Journal of Zoology. 72:455-464.

Maher, C.R. 1991. Activity budgets and mating system of male pronghorn at Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, Nevada. Journal of Mammalogy. 72:739-744. [PDF available]

Maher, C.R. and Lott, D.F. 1991. Pronghorn in California: information for the private landowner. University of California Cooperative Extension publication.

Maher, C.R. and Byers, J.A. 1987. Age-related changes in reproductive effort of male bison. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 21:91-96.