College of Arts and Sciences
Barbara Ballentine, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Biology. Before joining WCU, Dr. Ballentine earned a BS in Biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1996), a MS in Zoology at Auburn University (2000) and a PhD in Biology at Duke University (2007). She worked as a post-doc at the University of Miami and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. Dr. Ballentine joined WCU in 2013.
Dr. Ballentine’s primary teaching responsibilities are BIOL 141 (Introduction to Biology II), BIOL 306 (Evolutionary Biology) and BIOL 374 (Vertebrate Zoology). Dr. Ballentine’s classes approach biology from an evolutionary perspective and emphasize the methods used by modern scientists to address questions in biology. Her classes aim to help students develop skills in 1. Professionalism, 2. Critical Thinking, and 3. Communication.
Dr. Ballentine’s research explores evolutionary mechanisms underlying phenotypic variation and population divergence in animals, primarily birds. She uses integrative and experimental approaches with both field and laboratory studies to specifically addresses 1) how sexual selection favors reliable mating signals, 2) how natural selection constrains the expression of mating signals, 3) mechanisms of phenotypic (morphological and behavioral) variation between populations, and 4) consequences of variation in reproductive behavior on reproductive success.