About Dr. Graham

About Dr. Graham Publications Research Desert Ecology Other Courses Vertebrate Collections 
Personnel Outreach Let us handle your rattlesnake problem! Join the Graham Lab

Research Philosophy: Although conventional wisdom leads many to specialize in certain branches of biology, I must confess that I have been unable to do so. I am interested in too many things to choose one area to focus on. However, I have centered most of my research in two major areas: hormone-immune studies involving whole organisms in their environments, and natural history and ecological studies of amphibians and reptiles. Most of my research has a large field component, but most projects also include lab components. I integrate ecological, phylogenetic, and physiological approaches, and have used techniques ranging from mark-recapture to molecular characterization of immune status. Collaboration with other laboratories has been the key factor enabling me to branch out into fields that I have an interest in, but less technical experience with. To date most of my work has been conducted in my beloved southeastern North America, however, my research has taken me from the northeastern United States through the Caribbean and Central America, as well as to Australia. Now that I’m in the Southwest, I intend to direct my focus on the spectacular flora and fauna of the Trans Pecos.

Sean P. Graham is a vertebrate biologist with very broad interests. In addition to his passion for biology, Sean loves movies (he was a film major as an undergrad!), college football, major league baseball, and his favorite pastime by far is canoeing wild rivers. He is famous for his ability to play a little guitar and harmonica, often during impromptu concerts around a campfire.  

Teaching Philosophy: Good teachers should focus on their strengths, and they teach best when they consider and reproduce the conditions under which they themselves learn best. Although it is sometimes suggested that teachers should teach toward all potential learning processes—verbal, hands-on, visual, and so forth—in my experience teachers that attempt this succeed only in diluting their particular strength by casting their net too widely. Instead, as an aural learner, my strength is public speaking, so that is where I concentrate my efforts. Therefore, in general, I present standard lecture materials, but they are presented in the same dynamic, entertaining style that I bring to the many talks I have presented at conferences. I am extremely excited to be teaching for a department that not only allows and supports field courses, but encourages and expects them.


Power point and internet allow inclusion of visual representations to course materials, and since illustrations are crucial, especially in the field of physiology and ecology, most of my lectures have a strong visual component.  Internet capabilities also add an interactive aspect to course materials that is indispensible.

As a mentor I have learned to balance hands-on and hands-off approaches. It is extremely important for young scientists to develop and test their ideas on their own in their own way. It is very important to expect young adults to be what they are: adults. However, this experience is only beneficial at certain stages of their development. For young investigators just starting out, giving them a “shovel ready” project as introductory experiences is an ideal way for them to gain confidence and show them the basic way to formulate and test a hypothesis. For more advanced students I feel it is crucial to allow them space (or require them space) and some time to develop.



Education/Professional Experience:

Assistant Professor, Sul Ross State University, 2014-present 

Visiting Professor, University of Findlay, 2013-2014

Post doctoral Fellowship, Penn State University, 2011-2013

PhD, Auburn University 2011

MS, Georgia State University 2006

BA, Georgia State University 2000


For more information contact:
Dr. Sean Graham: Asst Professor of Biology
Office Address: C-64 WSB 221, Alpine, TX 79832
Office Telephone: 432 837-8084
Fax Number: 432 837-8682
E-mail: sean.graham@sulross.edu