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Kristina Hannam

Associate Professor of Biology
Integrated Science Center 259

Dr. Kristina Hannam has been a member of the Geneseo faculty since 2001.

See below for information about research, succeeding in class, and requests for letters of recommendation or references for jobs.

Office Hours Fall 2020


  • M 10:00-11:00am
  • T 9:30-10:30am
  • T 10:30-11:15am BIOL 305 only
  • T 2:30-3:45pm BIOL 338 only
  • W 11:30am-12:30pm BIOL 339 only

More Information


The current research in my lab is focused on questions related to vocal and auditory animal communication and ecology.  In particular we are interested in how human-caused habitat change, urbanization and anthropogenic noise impact animal communication.  Recent studies in collaboration with my undergraduate student researchers have focused on how local bird species alter their songs in response to anthropogenic noise, how other local species use winter calling behavior in foraging contexts and when faced with anthropogenic noise, how local soundscapes differ across seasons and in response to anthropogenic noise, and how we can characterize local habitats by their soundscapes.  We record individual animals and soundscapes in the field, and analyze the recordings in the lab using the sound analysis program Raven, R and GIS.  

For a general understanding of how our research projects connect to wider issues of anthropogenic noise and humans' place in the environment, check out this video on YouTube "How to Find Silence in a Noisy World"


If you are interested in participating in research in my lab, there are several current projects.  Applications for fall 2020 are due by 25 Aug 2020, but there should be openings in the future.  All students working on research in my lab work in pairs.

PROJECTS - Ongoing and possible

1- Highway roadsides as critical habitat for amphibians. Ponds on the side of the road provide potential habitat for breeding amphibians, in this study we are assessing highway roadsides as habitat through the use of acoustic monitoring. 

2 - Using acoustic recordings to monitor singing insects. Multiple questions can be studied with singing insects including the Acoustic Niche Hypothesis, and the impact of road noise on singing insects.

Testing the Acoustic Niche Hypothesis (ANH) - The ANH proposes that  in a mature ecosystems, species will avoid competition by singing at unique frequencies at unique times. It also suggests more mature ecosystems will show distinct partitioning of the frequencies used for communication, while young/disturbed ecosystems will show more overlapping use of frequencies by species. 

Testing the impact of road noise. While the adaptive response of singing birds to anthropogenic noise has been well documented, singing insects have been mostly overlooked. This project would investigate insect population responses to anthropogenic traffic noise

3 - Seasonal Change in Soundscapes - We are in the second year of recording and analyzing forest plots in a transect from urban Rochester to rural Livingston county to understand how landscape characteristics - including proximity to the anthropogenic noise of roads, forest plot size, and season are reflected in the soundscapes of those forest plots. This project has opportunities for field recording and lab analysis of soundscapes during the 2018-19 school year.

4 - Other projects using other vocalizing species: insects, amphibians, mammals are possible - come to me with your ideas (I have a few ideas too).

The first step in participating in research in my lab requires completing and returning this research application via email.

Students participating in research for credit in my lab should read the following research contract that all research students must adhere to.

Students participating in fieldwork for any part of their research must read the Hannam Lab Field Safety Protocol document, sign the last page, and return the signed page to Dr. Hannam


My recommendations for you are going to differ depending on the source of your trouble with class(es) or college in general.

If significant stress, mental health issues, mood changes, excessive worry, or problems with eating and/or sleeping are interfering with your performance in class, the source could be the coursework or the source could be something outside of class (relationships, personal loss, illness or other issues).

If the source of your struggles is outside of class, SUNY Geneseo provides mental health services through Counseling Services, a part of the Lauderdale Center for Student Health & Counseling. There you can access free, confidential psychological services. Finding the strength to take advantage of the help and services that are available is the smart and courageous thing to do. For questions, or to schedule an appointment with the Counseling Center, call their office at 585-245-5716.

If you are struggling because you can't seem to figure out the best way to study for a class, make an appointment or stop by the office hours of your instructor. Bring copies of assignments and exams to help them see where you are struggling. Also, start thinking carefully about the way you are scheduling your time, and studying for class.  This article is a short read that captures some of the most important advice for studying for your college classes.

If you have a little more time this series of videos provides another great resource for developing study skills that have been scientifically tested and supported.

Office Hours - What are they good for?  (1) Introduce yourself; (2) Clear up confusion (concepts from class that are unclear - come with notes and questions!); (3) Evaluate your performance and how you are studying (see also the links above); (4) Discuss special requests & circumstances


Writing letters of recommendation and serving as a reference is part of my job, and I am happy to write a letter and serve as a reference if the guidelines below are followed.  You want a glowing letter of recommendation, and those are the easiest letters for me to write.  Make sure whoever you choose to write your recommendation or be your reference will be your best advocate. Following the guidelines below (at a minimum) will help determine that. These guidelines are for me, but likely apply to the majority of other faculty on campus:

1 - Choose a faculty member who knows you well.  That means (best case): you have taken more than one course with them in which you have earned at least a B+, and/or you have worked in-depth on a research or other project with them. Other factors that will influence whether you get an excellent letter of recommendation or a glowing reference: you've talked with the faculty member outside of class and demonstrated clear interest in the course material, you've demonstrated leadership and/or the ability to solve problems or work independently in ways that the faculty member has observed. Think ahead of time about how you can develop this kind of relationship with a faculty member and demonstrate these traits to them.

2 - Make a formal request for the recommendation or reference by email or appointment/office hours. In person is best! Be prepared to supply supplementary material including information about the program/job/internship the recommendation is for, a record of your relevant coursework & experience (this could be on a CV/Resume), access to your transcript, and a draft of your personal statement or 2-3 paragraphs describing your interest and preparation for the position you are applying for.  

3 -Ask early. I require a minimum of 3 weeks notice before a written recommendation is due, but I reserve the right to decline to write a letter of recommendation if I don't have at least 1 month's notice.  I typically have multiple requests for letters of recommendation all due at the same time.  I need time to write or revise those letters in addition to the other work I do.  

4 - Permissions associated with references/letters of recommendation. You should give a faculty member's name as your reference ONLY AFTER they agree to write your letter or serve as a reference. Your request for a reference or letter of recommendation implies you are giving permission to share information from your transcript and resume/CV in the recommendation as deemed necessary. In other words, your request to provide a recommendation to an organization or institution means you agree to waive your right to privacy of this information (The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA).I will NOT write a reference unless you sign a confidentiality waiver and send it to me: LINK TO FERPA RELEASE FORM.  I also require that you agree to waive your right to see my letter of recommendation.

5 - I ONLY send letters of recommendation directly to the school, internship supervisor or employer. Please don’t ask me to give you the letter to send (even when applications suggest this).

6 -While not required, it is good etiquette to get back in touch with your letter writers/references and tell them the outcome of your applications. I'm interested and I'd like to know!

Curriculum Vitae


  • Ph.D. in Biology, University of Miami, 1998

  • B.S. in Biology, University of Notre Dame, IN, 1992

Research Interests

  • Conservation Biology

  • Soundscape Ecology

  • Acoustic Communication in Animals

  • Behavioral Ecology


  • BIOL 305: Biological Conservation

    Focuses on understanding the evolution, distribution and threats to biodiversity. Emphasis is placed on understanding the important aspects of genetics and population biology that impact the management and protection of species and populations of conservation concern. The course will also examine the theory and practice of reserve design and other conservation measures used in a variety of situations worldwide. Students will participate in an applied conservation community-based inquiry project at an off-campus (DEC, NY State Parks or other) site. Students will participate in collection of field data, analysis and report preparation. This course does not count as an elective Biology laboratory.Prerequisites: Proficiency in Basic Requirement. BIOL 203. Offered every fall

  • BIOL 338: Animal Behavior

    An integration of ethological and comparative psychological aspects of the evolution and development of behavior in animals. Special emphasis on such topics as biological rhythms, communication, spacing, reproduction, sensory systems, learning, and social structure. Prerequisites: Proficiency in Basic Requirement. BIOL 203 and BIOL 222 or permission of instructor. (Not available for credit to students who have credit for PSYC 338.) Offered every fall

  • BIOL 339: Animal Behavior Laboratory

    Studies of the behavior and behavior patterns of animals under both controlled laboratory and natural field conditions. Emphasis is placed on observational and quantitative approaches. Prerequisites/Corequiste: Proficiency in Basic Requirement. BIOL 338 and (BIOL 204 or BIOL 216 or BIOL 223). Offered every fall