Cassandra Martin
Cassandra Martin
Assistant Teaching Professor of Biology


Room:FB 211


Faculty Member at St. Ambrose University (2014 – 2016)
Faculty Member at Augustana College (2012 – 2014)
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Ph.D. (2014)
Eastern Illinois University, B.S. (2005)

Teaching Interests

I have taught a wide variety of biology courses, but my main teaching interests are in animal behavior, organismal biology, and introductory biology. I am working to expand my knowledge and use of student-centered learning pedagogies. Thus far, I have used student response systems and active learning activities to supplement lecture, inquiry-based laboratory experiences, flipped classroom design for a portion of course content, and team-based learning for an entire course.

Research Interests

I am a behavioral ecologist. My general research interests are in the costs of mating behavior in female insects. Most work on the costs of mating behavior in insects has focused on males because they are often the sex with conspicuous mate-attraction traits that could also attract predators or parasites. Female insects are often drab and do not display to attract mates; however, females can incur their own set of costs. Females could incur predation or parasitism costs by associating with conspicuous males. Additionally, females could incur numerous types of costs while moving through the environment if they have to search for males.

My doctoral dissertation focused on association costs in female field crickets, Gryllus lineaticeps. Male song attracts lethal parasitoid flies. Females do not sing but do become parasitized, most likely from associating with singing males in a mating context. I investigated how and when females became parasitized, the effects of parasitism on female fitness, and whether the risk of parasitism affected female mating behavior.

At Ball State, I plan to explore the costs of mating behavior in a local field cricket species. As the parasitoid flies do not occur in Indiana, I will investigate search costs. Female crickets may incur costs, such as exposure to the elements, predation, and excess energy expenditure, while searching for singing males. I will do a combination of field and laboratory experiments to explore search costs in female field crickets and to determine if those costs have affected female mating behavior. I am seeking motivated undergraduate students to assist in this research or who would like to develop their own projects in animal behavior.


Martin CM, Kruse KC, Switzer PV. 2015. Social experience affects same-sex pairing behavior in male red flour beetles (Tribolium castaneum Herbst). Journal of Insect Behavior 28(3): 268-279.

Beckers OM, Martin CM, Wagner WE. 2011. Survival rates of planidial larvae of the parasitoid fly Ormia ochracea (Diptera: Tachinidae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 84(3): 235-237.

Martin CM, Wagner WE. 2010. Female field crickets incur increased parasitism risk when near preferred song. PLoS ONE 5(3): e9592.


  • Animal Behavior Society, Bloomington, IN (2011)
  • Biological Sciences Graduate Student Symposium, Lincoln, NE (2011)
  • Animal Behavior Society, Williamsburg, VA (2010)
  • Society for the Study of Evolution, Portland, OR (2010)
  • Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference, Lincoln, NE (2009)
  • Graduate Student Research Fair, Lincoln, NE (2008)
  • Biological Sciences Graduate Student Symposium, Lincoln, NE (2008)
  • Illinois State Academy of Sciences, Charleston, IL (2004)
  • College of Sciences’ Science Fest, Charleston, IL (2004)