Dr. Raymond John Pierotti

Ray Pierotti
  • Associate Professor

Contact Info

Office Phone:
Department Phone:
Haworth 5003


Dr. Ray Pierotti's research investigates the evolutionary biology of vertebrates with male parental care and socially monogamous breeding systems.


I collect data on individual variation in behavioral and ecological aspects of parental care. My primary question is how an individual organism becomes successful at reproduction and contributes to future generations. My research focuses on two genera of monogamous vertebrates: the avian genus Larus (gulls), and the mammalian genus Canis (wolves, coyotes, dogs).

Selected Publications

Pierotti, R.J., C. A. Annett, S. A. Shaffer, and D. M. Devincenzi (2024). Western Gull (Larus occidentalis), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (N. D. Sly and B. K. Keeney, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.wesgul.02

E. N. Anderson and R. Pierotti 2022. The World Raven Makes: Respect and Responsibility in Pacific Coast Indigenous Nations. Studies in Human Ecology and Adaptation.

Springer Press, 316 pp.

Contains 13 Chapters, 3 Appendices (Clicking on Chapter title takes you to Springer website)

Van der Waal, J. et al. 2022. Safeguarding human-wildlife cooperation, Conservation Letters. 2022; e12886. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12886

Cram, D.  et al.  2022. The ecology and evolution of human-wildlife cooperation. People and Nature, 4, 841–855. https://doi. org/10.1002/pan3.10369

Pierotti, R. and B. L. Fogg. 2020. Neocolonial Thinking and Respect for Nature: Do Indigenous People have Different relationships with Wildlife than Europeans Ethnobiology Letters 11:48-57.

Pierotti, R. 2020. Historical Links between Ethnobiology and Evolution: Conflicts and Possible Resolutions. Studies in the History and Philosophy of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences 81: Article 101277.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.shpsc.2020.101277

Pierotti, R. 2020. Learning about Extraordinary Beings:  Native Stories and Real Birds. Ethnobiology Letters 11: 253-260

Pierotti, R. 2020. Reconciling Cooperation vs Competition among Desert Creatures. pp 75-78 in G. P. Nabhan, ed, The Nature of Desert Nature: A Deep History of   Everything that Sticks, Stinks, Stings, Sings, Swings, Springs or Clings in Arid Landscapes. University of Arizona Press, Tucson, AZ.

Pierotti, R. 2018. World views and the Concept of Traditional. Ethnobiology Letters 9(2): 299-304.

Pierotti, R. and B. Fogg. 2017 The First Domestication: How Wolves and Humans Co-evolved. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT.

Contains 13 Chapters and Bibliography:

Chapter 1. Introduction: The Beginnings            1 

Chapter 2. The Spaniels of San Marcos: What is a Dog and who cares?           32

Chapter 3: Cooperation between Species           64

Chapter 4: Homo canis: Why Humans are Different than all other Primates           83

Chapter 5: Wolves, Archaeologists, and the Origin of Dogs           110

Chapter 6. Asia: The First of the Dogmen and Japanese Dog-Wolves           139

Chapter 7: Dingo makes us Human: Aboriginal Peoples and Canis dingo           163

Chapter 8: The World Wolf Made: North America           185

Chapter 9: Wolves and Coyotes: Creators and Tricksters           213

Chapter 10: Domestication: Tame vs. Feral and Domestic vs. Wild           242

Chapter 11: Living with Wolves and Dogs: Issues and Controversies           280

Chapter 12: Living Well with Wolves and Dogs           316

Chapter 13: The Friendly Predator: A Special Relationship           355

Stevens, L. and R. Pierotti. 2015. Eating the Landscape: American Indian Stories of Food, Identity, and Resilience. Ethnobiology Letters 6. 25-27


Fogg, B.R., N. Howe, and R. Pierotti. 2015. Relationships between Indigenous American Peoples and Wolves 1: Wolves as Teachers and Guides. Journal of Ethnobiology 35: 262-285.

Pierotti, R. 2015. Indigenous Concepts of ‘Living Systems’:  Aristotelian ‘Soul’ meets Constructal Theory. Ethnobiology Letters 6: 80-88.

Pierotti, R. 2016. The Role of Myth in Understanding Nature. Ethnobiology Letters 7(2):6-13

Benedict, M., K. Kindscher, and R. Pierotti. 2014. Learning From the Land: Incorporating Indigenous Perspectives into the Plant Sciences. Pp. 135-154 In C. Quave (Editor) Strategies for Teaching in the Plant Sciences, Springer Publications, NY, NY.

Pierotti, R. and C.A. Annett. 2014. We probably thought that would be true:  Perceiving complex emotional states in nonhumans. Ethnobiology Letters 5: 15-21.


Pierotti, R. 2011a. Indigenous Knowledge, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, New York & London. 264pp.

Contains 11 Chapters and Bibliography:

  1. Defining Traditional Ecological Knowledge
  2.  All Things Are Connected: Communities as Both Ecological and Social Entities in Indigenous American Thought
  3. Predators Not Prey: "Wolves of Creation" Rather Than "Lambs of God"            
  4. Metaphors and Models: Indigenous Knowledge and Evolutionary Ecology      
  5. Cultural and Biological Creation and the Concept of Relatedness        
  6. Applying Principles of TEK within the Western Scientific tradition
  7. Connected to the Land: Nature and Spirit in Native American Novels
  8. Ecological Indians: European Imaginations and Indigenous Reality    
  9. A Critical Comment on Both Western Science and Indigenous Responses to the       Western Scientific Tradition    
  10. Who Speaks for the Buffalo? Finding the Indigenous in Academia     
  11. Traditional Ecological Knowledge: The Third Alternative            

Pierotti, R. 2011b. The World According to Is ‘a: Combining Empiricism and Spiritual Understanding in Indigenous Ways of Knowing. In Anderson, E.N., D.M. Pearsall, E.S. Hunn, and N.J. Turner (Editors), 2011, Ethnobiology, Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken, NJ, 399p.

Pierotti, R. 2010a. Sustainability of natural populations: Lessons from Indigenous Knowledge. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 15: 274-287.

Pierotti, R. 2010b et seq. A Native American Science Curriculum. Professional Website


Pierotti. R. 2005. Religious Overtones in the writings of Louis Owens. Pp. 723-730. Encyclopedia of Native American Religious Practices. ABC CLIO Press, CO.

Pierotti, R. 2005. Hunting, Religious Restrictions and Implications. Pp. 391-400. Encyclopedia of Native American Religious Practices. ABC CLIO Press, Broomfield, CO.

Pierotti, R. 2004. Animal disease as an environmental factor.  Encyclopedia of World Environmental History. S. Krech and C. Merchant, eds.Berkshire, Publishing. New York.

Pierotti, R. and C.A. Annett. 2001. The ecology of Western Gulls in habitats varying in degree of urban influence. pp. 307-329 In J. Marzluff and R. Donnelly, eds. Avian ecology and conservation in an urbanizing world. Kluwer Press, The Netherlands.

Pierotti, R. and D. Wildcat. 2001. Being native to this place.  In American Indians in History, 1870-2000. Sterling Evans, ed. Greenwood Publishing, Westport, CT.

Pierotti, R.  2002. Campus Morale Under Corporate Models: The University of Kansas Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor 4.2. Special Issue: Financing the Corporate University.

Pierotti, R. and D. Wildcat. 2000. Traditional ecological knowledge: the third alternative. Ecological Applications 10:1333-1340.

Schweiger, E.W., J. Diffendorfer, R. D. Holt, R. Pierotti. and M.S. Gaines. 2000. Interaction between habitat fragmentation, plant and small mammal succession in an old-field community. Ecological Monographs 70:383-400.

Good, T.P., J. Ellis, C.A. Annett and R. Pierotti. 2000. Bounded hybrid superiority: effects of mate choice, habitat selection, and diet in an avian hybrid zone. Evolution 54:1774-1783.

Pierotti, R. and D. Wildcat. 2000. Traditional ecological knowledge: the third alternative. Ecological Applications 10:1333-1340.

C.A. Annett and Pierotti, R. 1999. Longterm reproductive output and recruitment in western gulls: consequences of alternate foraging tactics. Ecology 80:288-297.

C.A. Annett, R. Pierotti, and J.R. Baylis.1999. Male and female parental roles in a biparental cichlid, Tilapia mariae. Environmental Biology of Fishes 54:283-293.

Pierotti, R. and D. Wildcat. 1999. Connectedness of Predators and Prey: Native Americans and fisheries management.  Fisheries (J. Amer. Fisheries Soc.) 24 (4): 22-23.

Schweiger E. W., R. Holt, R. Pierotti and J. Diffendorfer. 1999.  The relative importance of small-scale and landscape-level heterogeneity in structuring small mammal distributions.Pp. 175-207 in Landscape Ecology of Small Mammals. G. Barrett and J. Peles, editors. Springer-Verlag Press.

Pierotti, R. and D. Wildcat. 1997a. The science of Ecology and Native American traditions.Winds of Change (American Indian Science and Engineering Society) 12(4): 94-98.

Pierotti, R. and D. Wildcat. 1997b. Evolution, creation and Native American traditions.Winds of Change (Journal of AISES) 12(2): 70-73.

Pierotti, R., C.A. Annett, and J.L. Hand.  1996. Male and female perceptions of pair-bond dynamics: monogamy in the Western Gull.  pp. 261-275 In Feminism and Evolutionary Biology, P.A. Gowaty, ed. Chapman and Hall Press.

Pierotti, R. and T.P. Good. 1994. Herring Gull (Larus argentatus).  In The Birds of North America, #124. (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences; Wash. D.C.: American Ornithologist's Union.

Pierotti, R. and C.A. Annett. 1994. Patterns of aggression in gulls: asymmetries and tactics in different roles. Condor 96:590‑599.

McNeil, R. P., P. Drapeau and R. Pierotti. 1993. Nocturnality in colonial waterbirds: occurrence and special adaptations.  Current Ornithology 10:187‑246.

Pierotti, R. and C.A. Annett. 1993. Hybridization and male parental care in birds. Condor 95:670‑679.

Pierotti, R. and C.A. Annett. 1991. Diet choice in the herring gull: effects of constraints imposed by reproduction and ecology. Ecology 72:319‑328.

Pierotti, R. 1991. Adoption vs. infanticide: an intergenerational conflict in birds and mammals. American Naturalist 138:1140‑1158.

Annett, C.A. and R. Pierotti. 1989. Chick hatching as a trigger for dietary switches in Western Gulls. Colonial Waterbirds 12:4‑11.

Rothstein, S.I. and R. Pierotti. 1988. Distinctions among reciprocal altruism and kin selection, and a model for the initial evolution of helping behavior. Ethology and Sociobiology 9:189‑210.

Pierotti, R. 1988a. Associations between marine birds and marine mammals in the Northwest Atlantic. pp. 31‑58 In Seabirds and Other Marine Vertebrates:commensalism, competition, and predation. J. Burger, ed. Columbia Univ. Press.

Pierotti, R. 1988b. Interactions between gulls and otariid pinnipeds: competition, commensalism, and cooperation. pp 213‑239 in Seabirds and other Marine Vertebrates: commensalism, competition, and predation. J. Burger, ed. Columbia University Press.

Pierotti, R. 1987a. Isolating mechanisms in seabirds. Evolution 41:559‑570.

Pierotti, R. 1987b. Behavioral consequences of habitat selection in the herring gull. Studies in Avian Biology 10:119‑128.

Pierotti, R. and E.C. Murphy. 1987. Intergenerational conflicts in gulls. Animal Behaviour 35:435‑444.

Pierotti, R. 1983. Gull‑puffin interactions. Biological Conservation 26:1‑14.

Pierotti, R. 1982. Habitat selection and its effect on reproductive output in the herring gull in Newfoundland. Ecology 63:854‑868.

Pierotti, R. 1980. Spite and altruism in gulls. American Naturalist 115:290‑300.

Pierotti, R. and D. Pierotti. 1980. Effects of cold climate on the evolution of reproductive behavior in pinnipeds. Evolution 34:494‑507.

Pierotti, R. 1981. Male and female parental roles in the western gull under different environmental conditions. Auk 98:532‑549.

Grants & Other Funded Activity

National Science Foundation. Division of Environmental Biology: Native Americans in    Environmental Sciences. 2002-2006. $504,000.  PI

National Science Foundation CCLI. Native American Science Curriculum. 2007-2012 $500,000. PI.