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Rachel M Bowden
Rachel M Bowden
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Research Interests

I am an ecological physiologist with interests in maternal provisioning of resources to offspring, the neuroendocrine basis of sex determination, and the development of the immune system in reptiles. Studies in my lab involve the integration of both laboratory and field work to explore how maternally-mediated ecological and physiological parameters act and interact to influence parent and offspring phenotypes.

The lab is currently focusing on questions such as:

  • How do individual females allocate steroid hormones to yolk both within and across years?
  • How does female age affect hormone provisioning?
  • Do yolk steroids alter sex determination in species with environmental sex determination? And if so, how?
  • What role do steroids play in the immune response of both adults and hatchlings?
  • How do developing embryos protect themselves from pathogens?
  • How does the incubation environment affect offspring phenotype?
  • We conduct our research on marked populations of red-eared slider and painted turtles that inhabit a marsh system adjacent to the Illinois River. Over the past several years we have marked over 1000 turtles making this an ideal system for a variety of field based studies. The marsh also has smaller populations of snapping turtles ​and spiny soft-shell turtles.

For more information about current projects please click on the "Students" link on the left. If you have questions about on-going research or opportunities in the Bowden Lab, please contact me directly via e-mail at​.​​

Chrysemys picta 
(Painted Turtle)​


Trachemys scripta 
(Red-e​ared Slider)