Richard M. Kliman


Richard M. Kliman
A.B.,Colby College
Ph.D., Wesleyan University
Miller Building 24
Ext. 3501


A.B. in Biology and Music, Colby College
Ph.D. in Biology, Wesleyan University

Research Interests
“My research deals mainly with evolutionary and ecological genetics. On the evolutionary side, I am interested in the relationship between genetic recombination and the effectiveness of natural selection in fruit flies, and I also study ongoing natural selection on DNA sequences in fruit flies and the single-celled fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. On the ecological side, I use patterns of DNA sequence variation to study demography of queen conch populations in Belize; I also collaborate on field work to study queen conch abundance in a newly enforced marine reserve.”

Courses Taught
Law and Science

Career Highlights
After completing his dissertation research on physiology and genetics of biological rhythms in rodents, Richard Kliman, Ph.D., completed four years of postdoctoral research in molecular evolution, population genetics, and speciation at Rutgers and Harvard. His research interests remain broad, and have expanded to include conservation genetics of queen conch and assessment of the effectiveness of a marine reserve in Belize (in collaboration with John Cigliano, Ph.D.). He is especially committed to evolution education and to complement his teaching at Cedar Crest, he has developed instructional software, served as a lead editor of Nature Education/Scitable, coordinated an undergraduate program for the annual Evolution conference, and coordinated Cedar Crest’s annual Darwin Day celebration. He has also served as an associate editor of two scholarly journals, Genetica and The Journal of Molecular Evolution, and as a program director in the Division of Environmental Biology at the National Science Foundation.

American Association for the Advancement of Science
Genetics Society of America
Society for the Study of Evolution

Professional Advice
Be an active participant in your education. It’s about reading, writing, ”rithmetic, (c)ritical thinking, and (c)reativity. Do the hard work that it takes to get better at all of these; it’s why you’re in college. You may think the purpose of college is to graduate with a particular major, minor, or concentration. That’s understandable–you have and will continue to develop particular interests–but the credentials are secondary. Notice that none of these words (major, minor, concentration) start with an R?

Why Cedar Crest?
Before coming to Cedar Crest, I taught at large state institutions. I moved to Cedar Crest for two reasons: to teach at a liberal arts college and to engage more undergraduates in research. I believe strongly that students benefit most when they seek diverse challenges in and out of the classroom, and I believe that liberal arts colleges provide the best opportunity for students to do this. I also believe that students profit immensely from participation in undergraduate research, and Cedar Crest makes this possible for many students.

I am inspired by courage in its many forms. It can be the courage to take risks or to make sacrifices when there are real consequences. It can be the courage to speak or perform in front of an audience. It can be the courage to invest significant time and energy into a worthy endeavor that might fail. It can be the courage to challenge conventional wisdom or prevailing viewpoints-or to discard one’s previously held views even if this means admitting error. It can be the courage to confront the unknown.

On Becoming a Teacher
I started to think seriously about teaching toward the end of my junior year in college. I don’t remember why, and I certainly didn’t know what; at the time, I was leaning toward graduate school in music theory and composition. I had great professors who expected that I work hard; they loved to learn as well as to teach, and they taught me that learning takes dedication. The decision to become a college professor wasn’t made at any particular moment in time. It emerged from my experiences, observations, and values, and it would be pointless and inaccurate to try to pinpoint when it happened.