Brad Elder

Biology - Professor
Campus location: 
Campus Phone: 

B.A. in Biology
Adrian College, 1991

Ph.D. in Biology
Kansas State University, 2000

Areas of Interest:

Courses I Teach (Service-Learning classes are in bold):

Ecology, Botany, Evolution, Field Botany, Conservation Biology, Flora of Nebraska, Introduction to Biology, Senior Research 351, 495, and 496.  


Other Educational projects:

My Roots and Shoots students are turning single use plastic bags into permanent shopping bags.  We are also making mosquito netting out of the material. Karla Cooper, Linda Kalbach and I are currently looking for funding to expand this project nationally and internationally. Karla recently took samples of the bags and mosquito netting with her to India and a member of Doane Corps, Amy Sherwood, took samples to Africa. Here is the YouTube video of the project.

For my January interterm in 2006, Dr. Steve Gunkel and I taught a class in the hurricane stricken south. The class had two goals: studying the social, economical and ecological impact of the hurricanes and tearing down and building up as much as we could.  Our efforts in this class, along with other Doane efforts, helped earn Doane a spot on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

Research Interests:  My research interests are extremely varied but center around plant ecology, particularly how plants respond to prairie fires. As part of this research, I have implemented a prescribed burning program at Doane’s Aldrich Prairie Research Station. 

I am currently adding a plant genetics component to my ecology research. There are several areas of ecology that can only be studied via genetics and I am looking at two of them.   

  • I am particularly interested in looking at the degree to which evolution has occurred in prairie systems. Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) will likely be the plant we target for such studies. This research will not only provide insight into the interactions of seeds (young) and ramets (adults), but will also allow us to track the changing environment via evolution.
  • I am also interested in looking at how dispersal affects meta-population dynamics. As habitat fragmentation increases, dispersal mechanisms will play a major role in maintaining habitat diversity.

Student Research:  Because I have a broad range of interests, I support student research on a wide range of topics.  These topics include the effects of lime on prairie restoration, the effect of prairie restoration on deer populations, habitat management impacts on bird populations, and even the impact of the menstrual cycle on athletic performance. 

Wolf and Lynx Ecology:  This past January term, Mitch Bern and Brian Maronde studied wolf and lynx ecology in northern Minnesota

Other Activities:

  • I am currently working with the Graduate Student Development Department at UNL on their Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) program. 
  • I am currently working with upper-level science students at Crete Middle School. On this day we are looking at the Earth’s history on a timeline. This timeline is about 600 feet long. At that distance, the “time of humans” is about the width of two quarters stacked together.


  • Temporal Hormone Fluctuation During The Menstrual Cycle And The Corresponding Effect On Athletic Performance As Measured By Maximal Ventialtory Oxygen Consumption (Vo2 Max) In Elite College Athletes.  Ellie Windle and Brad Elder, Department of Biology, Doane University, Crete; and Stephan Swanson, Steven Martin, Randy Holcomb, Corey Godfrey, and Kathleen Packard, Nebraska Heart Institute, Lincoln. Nebraska Academy of Science 2007.
  • The Effect Of Burning And Limestone On Tallgrass Prairie Restoration.  Meredith Meyer, and Brad Elder, Doane University, Crete. Nebraska Academy of Science 2006.

Interested in Doane? Let us know.