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Western Kentucky University

Biology Faculty and Staff - Bruce Schulte

Bruce Schulte, Ph.D. SUNY-ESF

Bruce Schulte, Ph.D. SUNY-ESF

Department Head of Biology

Office:  TCCW 359
Phone:  270-745-4856


BIOL 113 General Biology

BIOL 280 Environmental Science

BIOL 334 Animal Behavior

BIOL 532 Behavioral Ecology

BIOL 533 Behavioral Ecology Lab


Communication and social behavior of herbivorous mammals, such as elephants, manatees, beavers and horses

Our research group examines the development of social and reproductive behaviors as well as the mechanisms, especially chemical that mediate these interactions. In recent years, we have taken more of a conservation behavior approach, as we work to reduce human-wildlife conflict by studying the behavioral ecology of these species, specifically their modes of communication, reproductive patterns and social systems. Thus, applications of our research hope to use an understanding of behavior to facilitate positive human-animal interactions.


Doctorate of Philosophy in Biology (1993).  State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY.

Master of Science in Biology. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.

Bachelor of Science in Biology.  College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA.


York, C.A. & Schulte, B.A. 2014. The relationship of dominance, reproductive state and stress in female horses (Equus caballus). Behavioural Processes 107, 15-21.

Freeman, E.W., Meyer, J.M., Addendorf, J., Bird, J., Schulte, B.A. & Santymire, R.M. 2014. Impacts of environmental pressures on the reproductive physiology of subpopulations of black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis bicornis) in Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa. Conserv. Physiol., in press.

Freeman, E.W., Meyer, J.M., Addendorf, J., Schulte, B.A. & Santymire, R.M. 2014. Scraping behavior of black rhinoceros is related to age and fecal gonadal metabolite concentrations.  J. of Mammalogy, 95(2), in press.

Freeman, E.W., Meyer, J.M., Putman, S.B, Schulte, B.A. & Brown, J.L. 2013. Ovarian cycle activity varies with respect to age and social status in free-ranging elephants in Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa. Conserv. Physiol., 1, 1-15.

Schulte, B.A., Bagley, K.R., Castelda, S., Loizi, H., Nasseri, N., Vyas, D.K. & Goodwin, T.E. 2013. From exploration to selective information gathering: the development of chemosensory investigation in male African elephants (Loxodonta africana). In: Chemical Signals in Vertebrates 12 (M. East & M. Dehnhard, eds), pp. 135-145, Springer, New York.

Goodwin, T.E., Broederdorf, L.J., Burkert, B.A., Hirwa, H.H., Mark, D.B., Waldrip, Z.J., Kopper, R.A., Sutherland, M.V. , Freeman, E.W., Hollister-Smith, J.A., and Schulte, B.A. 2012. Chemical signals of elephant musth: I. Temporal aspects of microorganism-mediated modifications. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 38, 81-87 (DOI 10.1007/s10886-011-0056-8).

Wisniewska, M., Pridgen, L., Eldridge, J., Yates, J., Hook, M., Kem, D. & Schulte, B.A. 2012.  Review of A Primer of Conservation Behavior. Biological Conservation, 148, 219-221.

Freeman, E.W., Meyer, J.M., Putman, S., Schulte, B.A. & Brown, J.L. 2011. Using a simplified field progestagen method to assess ovarian activity in female African elephants. Biological Conservation, 144, 2105-2111.

Castelda, S., Napora, E., Nasseri, N., Vyas, D. & Schulte, B.A. 2011. Diurnal co-occurrence of African elephants and other mammals at a Tanzanian waterhole. African Journal of Ecology, 49, 250-252. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2028.2010.01249.x

Nasseri, N.A., McBrayer, L.A. & Schulte, B.A. 2011. The impact of tree modification by African elephant (Loxodonta africana) on herpetofaunal species richness in northern Tanzania. African Journal of Ecology, 49,133-140. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2028.2010.01238.x  Note - Covered by BBC:

Freeman, E.W., Schulte, B.A. & Brown, J.L. 2010. Using behavioral observations and keeper questionnaires to assess social relationships among captive female African elephants. Zoo Biology, 29, 140-153. 10.1002/zoo.20249.

Freeman, E.W., Schulte, B.A. & Brown, J.L. 2010. Investigating the impact of rank and ovarian activity on the social behavior of captive female African elephants. Zoo Biology, 29, 154-167. 10.1002/zoo.20235  

Freeman, E.W., Abbondanza, F.N., Meyer, J.M., Schulte, B.A. & Brown, J.L. 2010. A simplified method for monitoring progestagens in African elephants under field conditions. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 1, 86-91. doi: 10.1111/j.2041-210X.2009.00004.x

Riddle, H.S., Schulte, B.A., Desai, A.A. & van der Meer, L. 2010. Elephants – a conservation overview. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 2, 653-661.

Merte, C.E., Goodwin, T.E. & Schulte, B.A. 2010. Male and female developmental differences in chemosensory investigations by African elephants (Loxodonta africana) approaching waterholes. Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology, 64, 401-408. DOI 10.1007/s00265-009-0856-9.

Merte, C.E., Gough, K.F. & Schulte, B.A. 2009.  Investigation of a fresh African elephant carcass by conspecifics. Pachyderm, 45, 124-126.

Goodwin, T.E. & Schulte, B.A. 2009. Prospecting for mammalian chemical signals via solventless extraction techniques: an elephantine task. ChemoSense 11(2), 9-15.

Brzyski, J.R. & Schulte, B.A. 2009. Beaver (Castor canadensis) impacts on herbaceous and woody vegetation in southeastern Georgia. American Midland Naturalist, 162, 81-93.

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 Last Modified 9/25/14