Susan L. Keen

Susan Keen

Position Title
Professor of Teaching

Department of Evolution and Ecology, College of Biological Sciences

203 Life Sciences Building

Research Interests

Evolutionary biology, invertebrate zoology

I am interested in life history evolution and the role of asexual reproduction in life history.

Science teaching, especially in Introductory Biology

I develop teaching methods to make lecture and laboratory teaching more effective in very large classes; I am interested in pairing technology with classroom experience to maximize the value of in-person instruction. I have contributed extensively to course design, lab design and lab manual creation.

Interactive on-line material for teaching animal development

I am currently developing interactive web-based teaching modules to explore the events in animal development, the mechanisms underlying development, and the value of developmental characters for phylogenetic inference.

Textbook development for Zoology

I am a member of the author team for Integrated Principles of Zoology (Hickman, Roberts, Keen, Larson, I'Anson and Eisenhour), for Animal Diversity (Hickman, Roberts, Keen, Larson, and Eisenhour), and for the associated lab manuals(Lab Manual for Integrated Principles of Zoology; Laboratory Manual for Animal Diversity, both Hickman, Kats, and Keen.) The texts are also published in Italian and Spanish.

Increasing interactivity in classroom instruction

I was part of a 5-person team from UC Davis invited to the Nara Institute of Science and Technology (March 2009) to discuss curriculum development and incorporation of interactive methods of instruction in science teaching. This followed previous work with the Summer Institute on teaching methods (HHMI and NSF-sponsored) and other related conferences.


  • BIS 2B Introductory Biology; Evolution and Ecology
  • BIS 2C Introductory Biology; Tree of Life

Honors and Awards

  • NSF 0942294, Division of Undergraduate Education, "Learning Modules to Enhance Understanding of Animal Development"
  • Education Fellow in the Life Sciences, 2005-2006; National Academies (Science, Engineering and Medicine)
  • Academic Federation Excellence in Teaching Award 2006
  • ASUCD (Associated Students at UC Davis) Excellence in Education Award 2004
  • UIIP (Undergraduate Instructional Improvement) Grant to investigate correlates of student performance in BIS 2B. Awarded to Strong, Patricelli, and Keen.

    Professional Societies

    • Society of Integrated and Comparative Biology
    • Ecological Society of America


    • 1991 PhD Biology University of California
    • 1984 MSc Biology University of Michigan
    • 1979 BSc 1st Cl Honours Biology University of British Columbia


    Animal Diversity 5th Edition, 2009. Hickman, C. P., Roberts, L. S., Keen, S. L., Larson, A., and D. J. Eisenhour. McGraw-Hill, NY.

    Integrated Principles of Zoology, 14th Edition (2008) by Hickman, C. P., L. S. Roberts, S. L. Keen, A. Larson, H. I’Anson, and D. J. Eisenhour. McGraw Hill, NY. ; 15th Ed in prep. 2010

    Integrated Principles of Zoology, 14/e by Hickman, Keen, Larson and Eisenhour; Spanish translation edition to be published by McGraw-Hill Interamericana de Espana (Spain); copyright date is 2010.

    Animal Diversity 4th Edition, 2007. Hickman, C. P., Roberts, L. S., Keen, S. L. Larson, A., and D. J. Eisenhour. McGraw-Hill, NY.

    Diversita Animale 4th Edition, 2007. Hickman, C. P., Roberts, L. S., Keen, S. L., Larson, A., and D. J. Eisenhour. McGraw-Hill, NY. This text is an Italian translation of our book, Animal Diversity.

    Laboratory Studies in Integrated Principles of Zoology, 14th Edition (2008) by Hickman, C. P., L. B. Kats, and S. L. Keen. McGraw Hill, NY.; 15th Ed. in prep. 2009

    Laboratory Studies in Animal Diversity , 5th edition, by Hickman, C. P., L. B. Kats, and S. L. Keen. expected 2009. This lab manual is currently under revision and my role in it will be similar to that for the manual above.

    Laboratory Manuals for BIS2B, BIS 2C, and BIS 1B as part of a campus authors group; manuals published by Kendall-Hunt

    Opell, B.D., T.W. Schoener, S.L. Keen and V. T. Davies. 1995. The newspecies Purumitra australiensis (Araneae, Uloboridae) with notes on its natural history . Journal of Arachnology 23:127-129.

    Keen, S. L., and A. J. Gong. 1989. Genotype and feeding frequency affect clone formation in a marine cnidarian (Aurelia aurita). Functional Ecology 3:735-745

    Keen, S. L. 1987. Recruitment of Aurelia aurita (Cnidaria: Scyphozoa) larvae is position-dependent, and independent of conspecific density, within a settling surface. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 38:151-160.

    Keen, S. L., and W. E. Neill. 1980. Spatial relationships and some structuring processes in benthic intertidal animal communities. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 45:139-155.

    Johns, T., and S. L. Keen. 1986. Ongoing evolution of the potato on the altiplano of Western Bolivia. Economic Botany 40:409-424.

    Johns T., and S. L. Keen. 1986. Taste evaluation of potato glycoalkaloids by the Aymara: a case study in human chemical ecology. Human Ecology 14:437-451.

    Johns, T., and S. L. Keen. 1985. Determinants of taste perception and classifications among the Aymara of Bolivia. Ecology of Food and Nutrition 16:253-271.