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Dr. Ray W. Drenner

Professor Direct: 817.257.6180
BA Kansas University, 1972 Ph.D. Kansas University, 1977
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Research Interests

I am a freshwater ecologist who studies pond and lake ecosystems. Since earning a PhD at the University of Kansas, my research has primarily focused on predator-prey interactions in lake systems and their role in mercury contamination of the environment. Recent areas of interest include the trophic transfer of mercury between aquatic and terrestrial food webs and factors that lead to spatial variation in the mercury contamination of organisms at a variety of scales. I have used a combination of field surveys, experiments and GIS-based approaches in my research. I have had a longstanding collaboration with Dr. Matt Chumchal in the TCU Biology Department, and we work as a team on many research projects and serve as co-advisors for undergraduate and graduate students that work in our lab on mercury contamination. For more information, please visit our Aquatic Ecology Lab website:

Teaching Responsibilities

My primary teaching responsibilities are Contemporary Issues in Biology (BIOL 10003), participation in a team-taught course Ecology and the Environment (BIOL 30403), Ecology of Lakes and Streams (BIOL 50703), and Scientific Presentations (BIOL 60001).

Contemporary Issues in Biology (Biol 10003)

Contemporary Issues in Biology is designed for nonscience majors and I currently serve as lecture coordinator. About 900 TCU students take the course each year.  The course focuses on the controversial and important contemporary issues in biology ranging across the subdisciplines of molecular biology, physiology, evolution and environmental science.  Examples of issues covered in the course include: stem cells, cloning, drug addiction, antibiotic resistance, HIV, exotic species and climate change.

Ecology and the Environment (Biol 30403)

Ecology and the Environment is required for undergraduate students majoring in Biology or Environmental Science.  I serve as coordinator of this team-taught course. The goal of the course is to 1) introduce students to some of the major environmental issues in ecology and the underlying scientific concepts, 2) introduce students to the scientific approach to environmental management and 3) prepare students to be more informed citizens and voters.

Ecology of Lakes and Streams (Biol 50703)

This course is designed for Biology and Environmental Science majors at the senior/graduate student level. In this course, we examine the interrelationships between major physical, chemical and biological components of lake and river ecosystems. Each lecture consists of a round-table discussion of major papers published in the leading scientific journals in the field including Science, Nature, Limnology and Oceanography, and the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. The lab focuses on field and laboratory techniques used to sample and analyze physical, chemical and biological components of lakes and rivers.

Scientific Presentations (Biol 60001)

This course introduces students to the preparation of professional scientific presentations. All graduate students in Biology are required to take this course.