Bill Hopkins


Dr. Hopkins is a Professor in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation in the College of Natural Resources and Environment at Virginia Tech.  He is also the Director of the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech (The Fralin Life Science Institute).  He holds additional Adjunct Professor appointments with the University of Georgia’s Odum School of Ecology and the College of Pharmacy’s Interdisciplinary Toxicology Program where he is also a member of the UGA Graduate Faculty.

Dr. Hopkins’ research focuses on physiological ecology and wildlife ecotoxicology, addressing pressing questions in both basic and applied science. To date, he has published more than 165 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters on subjects pertaining to environmental stressors, pollution, and the physiological ecology of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and bats.  His work is heavily cited in the scientific literature and he frequently provides input on important environmental issues to the media (e.g., 60 minutes, NPR, etc.) and to decision makers in Richmond, VA and Washington D.C.

Sydney Hope

Ph.D. Student

Sydney is a Ph.D. student in the Hopkins lab, a fellow in the Interfaces of Global Change Program, and an ICTAS Doctoral Scholar at Virginia Tech. Her general research interests include animal behavior and physiology and how they are affected by changes to the environment at all stages in life.

For her dissertation, Sydney is studying wood ducks to investigate how clutch size affects incubation temperature parameters and female incubation behavior, and how differences in incubation temperature affect duckling behavior that is critical to early survival.

Thomas Galligan

Postdoctoral Associate

Dr. Thomas Galligan is a postdoctoral associate in the Hopkins lab. He is broadly interested in vertebrate endocrinology, conservation physiology, and endocrine disruption.

Thomas is studying hellbender reproductive endocrinology. In collaboration with Dr. Rich Helm, he is using untargeted, mass spectrometry-based techniques to characterize the hormonal underpinnings of paternal behavior in hellbenders and to explore how environmental quality may influence these physiological and behavioral endpoints.

Brian Case

Masters Student

Brian is a Masters student in the Hopkins Lab.  His research interests broadly encompass the impacts of climate change, invasion, disease, and human development on the viability of natural systems and wildlife populations, especially herpetofauna.

For his thesis, Brian is continuing the lab’s efforts to better understand the physiology, behavior, and reproductive histories of Appalachia’s Eastern Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis), including examination of how regional land-use change and habitat quality may be linked to deleterious impacts upon the species’ health.

Sky Button

Masters Student

Sky is a Masters student in the Hopkins Lab. His interests are broadly focused on using community, reproductive, physiological, and climate change ecology research on amphibians and reptiles as tools to inform more efficient conservation decision-making.

For his thesis, Sky is continuing the lab’s research efforts on hellbender conservation, examining extrinsic factors linked to reproductive success in the Eastern Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis). He is also investigating ways to improve artificial nest box placement in streams to augment existing Hellbender breeding habitat in areas where recruitment has been anthropogenically reduced.

Jesse Fallon

Ph.D. Student

Jesse Fallon earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Penn State, a Master of Science degree from West Virginia University, and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Jesse has clinical and field experience with an array of bird species.

While Jesse’s research interests exist under the umbrella of conservation medicine, his current research focuses on the physiologic impact of hydrocarbon exposure on birds. By combining animal health expertise and sound ecological principles, Jesse aims to approach research questions with ecosystem health as a foundation.

Jordy Groffen

Research Associate

Jordy’s main focus lies in research on the ecology of herpetofauna, invasive species and parasites. He has worked all over the world and has developed a broad research interest. In the past he worked with crocodiles, frogs, salamanders, flying foxes, toads, snails and freshwater turtles.

In 2012, Jordy obtained two M.Sc. degrees in Animal Sciences, specializing in ethology, welfare and adaptation physiology (Wageningen University in the Netherlands and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences).

Alex Grimaudo

FLeDGE Undergraduate Researcher

Alex is a junior at Virginia Tech majoring in Wildlife Conservation. He has worked in the Hopkins Lab on a behavioral study of wood ducks and on a reproductive study of hellbenders. He plans to continue working in the lab until graduation.

Alex is interested in disease ecology and environmental toxicology.

John Connock

Undergraduate Researcher

John is currently a junior majoring in wildlife conservation at Virginia Tech.  During his time working in the Hopkins Lab, he has worked primarily on a behavioral study of wood ducks and assisted with the ongoing hellbender research.

John’s research interests include herpetology, wetland ecology, and environmental toxicology.

Clara Frazier

Undergraduate Researcher

Clara is a junior at Virginia Tech majoring in Animal and Poultry Science and Biochemistry. She has worked in the lab with tree swallows and hellbenders. 

Clara’s interests interests include environmental toxicology and the impact of humans and climate change on wildlife. She has also worked with the Virginia Tech Mass Spectrometry Incubator analyzing hellbender serum samples.