Charles (billY) Gunnels grew up in a military family, where he spent much of his early
life moving from one base to the next. This experience exposed him to different environments
and the animals and plants that lived in each location. At an early age, he became
interested in those cases where wildlife seemed to co-exist with people. In college,
he developed an interest in animal behavior. He discovered the benefits of student
research when he had the opportunity to study the parental care behavior of the Jamaican
Brown Tree in the Cockpit Country, Jamaica. For his Ph.D., he studied the effects
of ecological constraints on the social behavior of the Cuban paper wasp. He came
to Florida Gulf Coast University in 2007. He was attracted to the school because of
its focus on student learning, the integration of conservation areas into the campus,
and the ability to engage students in research.
Professional Memberships: Animal Behavior Society, Council of Undergraduate Research,
Raptor Research Foundation
- Ph.D. Biology – University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
- M.S. Biology – Utah State University, Logan, UT
- B.A. Biology – Skidmore College, NY
- Animal Behavior
- Urban Ecology
- Wildlife Biology
- Historical Zoology
- Student Learning
Research and Teaching InterestsToggle Research and Teaching Interests
Charles (billY) Gunnels is an Associate Professor in Animal Behavior at Florida Gulf
Coast University (FGCU). His primary teaching responsibilities include Animal Behavior
and Biological Statistics in R. Dr. Gunnels also teaches research- and service-oriented
study abroad trips to the Caribbean and South American countries, where students explore
the relationship between human and natural histories. His research focuses on human-animal
interactions, where he uses various techniques to understand how human and non-human
animals co-exist and perceive each other. Dr. Gunnels is particularly interested in
those cases where native animals make successful use of novel landscape features associated
with urbanization. Dr. Gunnels also pursues work in the Scholarship of Teaching and
Learning (SoTL). In SoTL, he researches teaching strategies to improve educational
experiences and higher learning gains among students.
As an administrator, Dr. Gunnels is the Director of the Office of Scholarly Innovation
and Student Research, which supports the research, creative, and scholarly activities
of students and their faculty mentors. In addition, Dr. Gunnels serves as a councilor
on the Division of Undergraduate Research Programs for the Council on Undergraduate
Research, a division that he chaired between 2018 – 2021. In this capacity, he created
programming to support new directors of undergraduate research offices, expanded student
leadership opportunities in the national organization, and helped faculty and administrators
that transitioned their research programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic through
a series of online forums. Dr. Gunnels also serves as a trustee for the CREW Land
and Water Trust.
Courses OfferedToggle Courses Offered
- Animal Behavior
- Biological Statistics
- Study Abroad
- Metcalf MF, Gunnels CW, Everham EM, Andreadis P, & Herman J (2021) Movement pattern
of the Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarcho couperi) in southwest Florida. Herpetological
Conservation and Biology. 16(2):425–435
- Gunnels CW, Abercrombie M, Bovard B, Croshaw DA, Drummond JG, Everham EM, Hancock
T, Herman J, Jackueux M, Lefevre KL, Marcolini JP, McConnell V, Metcalf MF, Sanchez
I, Thomas S, Walsh-Haney H, and Voytek M (2021) Campus as a living laboratory: conservation
areas that create a community who then ensure its sustainability. In Making the Sustainable
University: Trials and Tribulations, editors Katie Leon, Sim Komisar, and Edwin Everham.
Springer Singapore, 133-150
- Metcalf MF, Marsh A, Pacaya ET, Graham D, & Gunnels CW (2020) Herpetofauna of the
Santa Cruz Forest Preserve in the Peruvian Amazon Basin. Herpetology Notes 13, 753-767.
- Metcalf MG, Gunnels CW, Wallace F, Brosse W, & Herman J (2020) Crotalus adamanteus
(Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake) same-sex courting. Herpetological Review 51(2),
- Szecsi T, Gunnels CW, Greene J, Johnston V, & Vazquez-Montilla E (2019) Teaching and
evaluating skills for undergraduate research in the teacher education program. Scholarship
and Practice of Undergraduate Research 3(1), 20-29.
Conference PresentationsToggle Conference Presentations
Recent Academic Publications:
- Guedouar, E & CW Gunnels. 2021. Effect of Isolation on Semantic Alarm Call Recognition
in an Isolated Captive Vervet Monkey. Animal Behavior Society Virtual Conference
- Luaces SN, Herman J, Lefevre K, Hartley A, & CW Gunnels (2020) Population ecology
of urbanized Florida Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia floridana) in Cape Coral,
FL. Animal Behavior Society Virtual Conference.
- Rossetti D & CW Gunnels (2020) Bald Eagle use of cell phone towers in peninsular Florida.
Animal Behavior Society Virtual Conference.
Recent Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Presentations:
- Luaces S, Chastain J, Ryan K^, Gunnels CW (2021) Understanding societal issues through
a scholarly-focused campus newsletter. Undergraduate Research Programs Conference:
Centering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Undergraduate Research.
- Chastain J, Luaces S, Gunnels CW (2021) Using a paid student research program to address
issues of equity, self-efficacy, and professionalization. Undergraduate Research Programs
Conference: Centering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Undergraduate Research.
- Gunnels CW, Thomas B, Vallier E, Eichbauer M, Szecsi (2021) Assessing student learning
in the era of COVID-19: how faculty assessors, student assessors, and zoom helped
FGCU respond pro-actively to the pandemic. Assessment in Higher Education: Enhancing
Institutional Excellence, Virtual.
- Felton S, Gunnels CW, Casazza K (2020) Expanding critical thinking through interprofessional
education in health education. Florida Statewide Symposium on Undergraduate Research
Grants & AwardsToggle Grants & Awards
- Phoenoteleia gunnelsi: This parasitode was named "... for Dr. Charles W. Gunnels IV
in recognition of his generosity, zeal for teaching, and love for the natural world.”
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Excellence Award (2020-2021)
- Faculty Mentor Excellence Award (2020-2021)
- Individual Faculty Service Excellence Award (2012 – 2013)
- Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award (2010 – 2011)