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Biological Sciences

College of Arts & Sciences

Diane Nelson

Diane R. Nelson 

Professor Emerita
423-439-4376 /
Brown Hall, Room 334

Research Interest:

My research interests are two-fold: tardigrade ecology/systematics and behavior of marine fishes. For the past 10 years I have been working with Dr. Paul Bartels, Warren Wilson College, on tardigrades of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as part of the Discover Life in America biodiversity project. We have discovered new species (about 20) and new records (about 80) for the park. I have also been working with Dr. Eugenie Clark, Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota, on the reproductive and feeding behaviors of the convict fish (Pholidichthys), venomous catfish (Plotosus), sand diver (Trichonotus), ocean triggerfish (Canthidermis), and whale shark (Rhincodon) in Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Indonesia, and the Sea of Cortez. We have also studied the tilefish (Malacanthus) and garden eels (Heteroconger) in the Caribbean.

Selected Publications:

Nelson, D.R.., R. Guidetti, and L. Rebecchi. 2010. Chapter 14: Tardigrada. In: Thorp, J.H & A.P. Covich (eds.) Ecology and classification of North American Freshwater Invertebrates. 3rd ed,, pp. 455-484. San Diego: Academic Press.

Bartels, P.J., D.R. Nelson, and R.P. Exline. 2011. Allometry and the removal of body size effects in the morphometric analysis of tardigrades. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 49 (Suppl. 1): 17-25.

Bartels, P.J., D.R. Nelson, Ł. Kaczmarek, and Ł. Michalczyk. 2011. Ramazzottius belubellus, a new species of Tardigrada (Eutardigrada: Parachela: Hypsibiidae) from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina, USA). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 124(1): 23-27.

Clark, E., D.R. Nelson, M.J. Stoll, and Y. Kobayashi. 2011. Swarming, diel movements, feeding and cleaning behavior of juvenile venomous eeltail catfishes, Plotosus lineatus and P. japonicus (Siluriformes, Plotosidae). Aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology 17: 211-239.

Nelson, D.R. and P.J. Bartels. 2013. Species richness of soil and leaf litter tardigrades in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina/Tennessee, USA). Journal of Limnology 72 (Suppl. 1): 144-151.


  • Invertebrate Zoology
  • Marine Biology
  • Coastal Biology
  • Non-majors Biology
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