Research Focus

Although I have four research projects going currently, my main research focus for the last 23 years has been on the pair-bond formation in convict cichlids. We currently have a lab project with 6 research students looking at the effects of sex ratio on pair-bond formation.

In addition to the behavioral study in the lab, I am a Co-PI with Dr. Hsiu-Ping Liu on a genetics study to determine the prevalence of social monogamy in a natural population of convict cichlids and to determine which sex exhibits extra-pair mating more often. To conduct this research, two undergraduate students spent a couple months in Costa Rica in 2018 to collect behavioral, morphometric, and tissue samples from 35 breeding pairs along with all their offspring. These ~1500 tissues samples have been or are currently being processed, by a few more undergraduate students in Dr. Liu’s lab, to isolate the DNA and using microsatellites to determine parentage of the offspring being defended by each breeding pair.

I have also been working on a garter snake field study since 2010. Currently, I have 4 research students working on trying to capture the last replicates from the Thamnophis radix. This study’s objective is to determine if two species of garter snake (Thamnophis elegans and T. radix) are exhibiting habitat partitioning in sympatric populations. Preliminary data is suggesting that T. elegans is found closer to water compared to T. radix.

The last project that started this past fall (2022) is research that a student decided to continue after taking one of my field courses. Three research students are now trying to determine if river activity is associated with both inactive and active beaver lodges depending on season. While in its infancy, we hope to focus more time on this research this spring and summer.

JGS – Research Page


I Love Travel

Academic Background

In 1998, I earned my B.S. in Biology with a minor in Marine Science from Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. After doing an internship on dolphin communication at the Living Seas in Epcot, I decided to further my degree in animal behavior. In 2007, I earned my Ph.D. in Integrative Biology at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. Although my degree was in Integrative Biology, I consider myself a behavioral ecologist as my dissertation focused on aggression, pair-bond formation, and parental care in the convict cichlid fish.


I love the outdoors and being in nature. Activities I enjoy are playing table tennis, hiking, swimming, and camping. In addition to the outdoors, I love to see live music and dancing. I really enjoy doing these hobbies while traveling, especially internationally.

Fun Field Courses with Dr. Gagliardi-Seeley

Costa Rica - January 2023

BIO 400C: Tropical Field Biology


I have co-taught this course with Dr. Christy Carello (usually once a year in January) since 2011. This course is a study abroad course that spends 11 days in Costa Rica learning the flora and fauna in different ecosystems throughout the country. It consists of in-field lectures, hiking through different ecosystems, mist-netting birds, night hikes, mist-netting bats, planting mangrove trees, turtle conservation, sustainable farming, sustainable energy, mangrove boat tours, and snorkeling tours.

BIO 39AC: Principles of Wildlife Biology & Management


I taught this class for the first time in the summer of 2022 and it was a blast! This course includes a pre- and post-departure lecture learning about the history and current practices of wildlife biology & management. In addition to the lecture, we spend 8 days in the field in national parks, most often Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. In the field, we do hikes and drives to identify wildlife, observe wolf/elk interaction, disease in bison, observe water issues, and remanence of fire ecology. The course includes talks with rangers, designing a research project, and collecting preliminary data.

Principles of Wildlife Class – Summer 2022

Murie Ranch in Grant Teton National Park - Summer 2022

Notable Publications