Dr. Isaac Y. Ligocki

Assistant Professor of Biology

Dr. Isaac Y. Ligocki

Contact Information


Office: Roddy 274
Phone: 717-871-4322

Office Hours

Comments: Due the COVID-19 pandemic, faculty office hours will be conducted remotely. Please send your brief questions by email. For more extensive discussions, use email to set-up a phone or Zoom appointment


B.A. in Biology, minor in Education; Wittenberg University
Ph.D. in Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, Specialization in College Teaching; The Ohio State University


BIO 100 – General Biology, (lecture and lab)
BIO 385 – Principles of Animal Behavior
BIO 211 Concepts of Zoology (lab)


In general, I’m interested in how and why animals interact with one another. My research focuses on social interactions between individuals such as aggressive interactions, reproductive behaviors, or group formation. How do such behaviors evolve? What mechanisms underlie these behaviors? How do environmental factors shape these behavioral interactions? In what ways do human activities influence the interactions of organisms? For more on what we do, please visit www.isaacligocki.com.


As a lab, we emphasize the integrative nature of biology. While we ask questions about behavior, we recognize that ecology, evolution, and physiology are all essential components of understanding that behavior. We are not exclusively a “fish lab,” however much of our current work revolves around the behavioral biology of fish. Current topics of interest include: 1) how dominance relationships are established in animal groups, 2) how toxicants influence social interactions of animals, 3) the impact of social behavior on the success of invasive species.

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS: (*student authors)

Hansen MJ, Ligocki IY, Zillig KE, Steel AE, Todgham AE, Fangue NA. 2020. Risk-taking and locomotion in foraging three-spine sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus): the effect of nutritional stress is dependent on social context. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. DOI: 10.1007/s00265-019-279504.10.1007/s00265-019-279504

Ligocki IY, Earley RL, Hamilton IM. 2019. How individual and relative size affects participation in territorial defense and cortisol levels in a social fish. Journal of Experimental Zoology - A. DOI: 10.1002/jez.2255

Ligocki IY, Munson A, Farrar V, Viernes R*, Sih A, Connon RE, Calisi RM. 2019. Environmentally relevant concentrations of bifenthrin affects the expression of estrogen and glucocorticoid receptors in brains of female western mosquitofish. Aquatic Toxicology. 209:121-131.

Maytin AK*, Ligocki IY. 2019. Dominance Hierarchy Establishment in the Invasive Round Goby, Neogobius melanostomus. Behavioral Processes. 158:41-46.

Ligocki IY, Earley RL, Hellmann JK, Hamilton IM. 2015. Variation in glucocorticoid levels in relation to direct and third-party interactions in a social cichlid fish. Physiology and Behavior. 151:386-394.

Ligocki IY, Reddon AR, Hellmann JK, O’Connor CM, Marsh-Rollo SE, Balshine S, Hamilton IM. 2015. Social status influences responses to unfamiliar conspecifics in a cooperatively breeding fish. Behaviour, 152:1821-1839.

Hellmann JK, Ligocki IY, O’Connor CM, Reddon AR, Garvy KA, Marsh-Rollo SE, Gibbs HL, Balshine S, Hamilton IM. 2015. Reproductive sharing in relation to group and colony-level attributes in a cooperative breeding fish. Proceedings of the Royal Society, B. 282:20150954

Hamilton IM, Ligocki IY. 2012. The extended personality: indirect effects of behavioural syndromes on the behaviour of others in a group-living cichlid. Animal Behaviour. 84:659-664.