Dr. Hopkins is a Professor in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation in the College of Natural Resources and Environment at Virginia Tech.  He is also the Director of the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech and the Associate Executive Director of the Fralin Life Sciences Institute at Virginia Tech.  He holds additional Adjunct Professor appointments with the University of Georgia’s Odum School of Ecology and the College of Pharmacy’s Interdisciplinary Toxicology Program where he is also a member of the UGA Graduate Faculty.

Dr. Hopkins’ research focuses on physiological ecology and wildlife ecotoxicology, addressing pressing questions in both basic and applied science. To date, he has published more than 165 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters on subjects pertaining to environmental stressors, pollution, and the physiological ecology of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and bats.  His work is heavily cited in the scientific literature and he frequently provides input on important environmental issues to the media (e.g., 60 minutes, NPR, etc.) and to decision makers in Richmond, VA and Washington D.C.

From a basic science perspective, Dr. Hopkins is currently interested in the energy costs of various physiological and behavioral processes. He is particularly intrigued by problems that involve the interplay of, and tradeoffs between, different physiological systems (e.g., the bioenergetics of endocrine, thermoregulatory, and immune interactions).  He is also keenly interested in parental effects and how parental physiology and behavioral decisions may influence a parent’s fitness and the fitness of his/her offspring.


From an applied perspective, Dr. Hopkins’ primary goal is to understand how anthropogenic disturbances alter the ability of fish and wildlife to interact appropriately with their environment. He is interested in the movement of contaminants through communities via trophic mechanisms, with most emphasis placed on chronic dietary uptake of bioaccumulative contaminants by high trophic level predators (e.g., birds, amphibians, and reptiles). He focuses on sublethal endpoints of toxicity including changes in endocrine physiology, energy allocation, immunology, reproductive success, and measures of performance. He is particularly interested in maternal transfer of teratogenic compounds and resulting effects on developing offspring. In all of his ecotoxicological studies, Dr. Hopkins is devoted to developing minimally invasive sampling techniques to estimate exposure and effects, and he has published a wide array of papers dealing with the importance of these approaches in applied ecology.

Dr. Hopkins is an award-winning undergraduate teacher and serves (or previously served) on the editorial boards of three journals, as a toxicologist on the Scientific Advisory Board for the International Center for Birds of Prey, and as a member of three National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council Committees dealing with water resource and energy issues. He has also served in advisory capacities at the local, state, national, and international level on issues pertaining to waste management, ecological sustainability, and the global decline of amphibians. In 2015, he received Virginia Tech’s Alumni Award for Excellence in Research. Dr. Hopkins’ professional affiliations include The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biologists, The American Ornithological Union, The American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, The Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, and Sigma Xi.

He has been a key scientific contributor to five of the U.S. Department of Interior’s Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) cases, including those surrounding the B.P. oil spill, the T.V.A. ash spill (Kingston, TN), the Olin Superfund site (Saltville, VA), the South River mercury spill (Waynesboro, VA), and the Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico. In all five NRDAR cases, he has worked effectively with multiple stakeholder groups, including industry, state government, federal government, local concerned citizens, NGOs, private consultants, and other academic institutions. His contributions to these damage assessments have proven vital towards understanding the physiological and reproductive responses of diverse organisms to the contaminants of interest, and have provided scaling from individual-level responses to population- and metapopulation-level changes.  In his long-running contributions to the South River case, he now currently works alongside the Dept. of the Interior and Industry to develop practical, science-based restoration strategies and long-term monitoring plans based on the science his team provided during their ecological damage assessment.

WAHopkins CV           Email
(July 2016)

Recent Publications


Carter, A.W. and Hopkins, W.A., 2022. Editorial: Sex ratios in the Anthropocene. Front. Ecol. Evol. 10:1048575. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2022.1048575

Hope, S. F., Hopkins, W. A., & Angelier, F. 2022. Parenting in the city: effects of urbanization on incubation behaviour and egg temperature in great tits, Parus major. Animal Behaviour, 194, 1-11.

Hope, S. F., Angelier, F., Ribout, C., Groffen, J., Kennamer, R. A., & Hopkins, W. A. 2022. Warmer incubation temperatures and later lay‐orders lead to shorter telomere lengths in wood duck (Aix sponsa) ducklings. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological and Integrative Physiology.

Groffen, J., O’Brien, R. S., Fralin, E., & Hopkins, W. A. 2022. First record of polyembryony in Hellbenders, Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis (Caudata: Cryptobranchidae) alleganiensis. Herpetology Notes, 15, 13-14.



Fallon, J. A., Goodchild, C., DuRant, S. E., Cecere, T., Sponenberg, D. P., & Hopkins, W. A. 2021. Hematological and histological changes from ingestion of Deepwater Horizon crude oil in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Environmental Pollution, 290, 118026.

O’Brien, R. S.G, Dayer, A. A., & Hopkins, W. A. 2021. Understanding landowner decisions regarding access to private land for conservation research. Conservation Science and Practice, 3(11), e522.

Galligan, T. M., Helm, R. F., Case, B. F.G, Jachowski, C. M. B., Frazier, C. L., Alaasam, V., & Hopkins, W. A. 2021. Pre-breeding androgen and glucocorticoid profiles in the eastern hellbender salamander (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis). General and comparative endocrinology, 313, 113899.

Hope, S. F.G, Hopkins, W. A., & Angelier, F. 2021. Parenting in the city: Does urbanization influence avian incubation behavior?. In INTEGRATIVE AND COMPARATIVE BIOLOGY (Vol. 61, pp. E389-E390)

Madliger, C.L P, Franklin, C.E., Chown, S.L., Fuller, A., Hultine, K.R., Costantini, D., Hopkins, W.A., Peck, M.A., Rummer, J.L., Sack, L., Willis, C.K.R., Cooke, S.J., 2021. The Second Warning to Humanity: Contributions and Solutions from Conservation Physiology. Conservation Physiology, 9(1), coab038.

Hope, S.F. G, DuRant, S.E., Hallagan, J.J., Beck, M. P, Kennamer, R., Hopkins, W.A., 2021. Incubation temperature as a constraint on clutch size evolution. Functional Ecology 35: 909-919.


Fallon, J.A. G, Smith, E.P., Schoch, N., Paruk, J.D., Adams, E.M., Evers, D.C., Jodice, P.G.R. Perkins, M., Meattey, D.E., Hopkins, W.A. 2020. Ultraviolet-assisted oiling assessment improves detection of oiled birds experiencing clinical signs of hemolytic anemia after exposure to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Ecotoxicology. 29(9): 1399-1408.

Hopkins, W.A., DuRant, S.E.G, Beck, M.L.P, Ray, W.K., Helm, R.F., Romero, L.M., 2020. Cortisol is the predominant glucocorticoid in the giant paedomorphic hellbender salamander (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis). General and Comparative Endocrinology, 285, 113267. *JOURNAL COVER PHOTO*

Martin, G.U, Perdue, L.U, Gelis, R.A., Vaca, F., Hopkins, W.A., Moore, I.T., 2020. Cane toad (Rhinella marina) predation.  Herpetological Review, 51(1), 104-105.

Button, S.T. G, Hallagan, J.J., Jachowski, C.M.B.G, Case, B.F.G, Groffen, J., Hopkins, W.A., 2020.  Weathering the storm: Improving the availability and stability of artificial shelters for hellbender salamanders. River Research and Applications 36(9): 1944-1953.

Button, S.T. G, Jachowski, C.M.B.G, Case, B.F.G, Groffen, J., Hopkins, W.A., 2020.  The Influence of Multiscale Habitat Variables and Population Density on Artificial Shelter Use by Hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis). Herpetologica 76(4): 355-365.

Hope, SF G, DuRant, SE, Angelier, F, Hallagan, JJ, Moore, IT, Parenteau, C, Kennamer, RA, Hopkins, WA. 2020. Prolactin is related to incubation constancy and egg temperature following a disturbance in a precocial bird. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 295, 113489. doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2020.113489 

Grimaudo, AT U, Hope, SF G, DuRant, SE, Kennamer, RA, Hallagan, JJ, Hopkins, WA. 2020. Ambient temperature and female body condition are related to night incubation behavior in wood ducks (Aix sponsa). Journal of Avian Biology 51(5) https://doi.org/10.1111/jav.02379

Jachowski, CMB G, Ross, BE, Hopkins, WA. 2020 Evaluating artificial shelter arrays as a minimally invasive monitoring tool for the hellbender Cryptobranchus alleganiensis. Endangered Species Research 41,167-181.

Hope, SF G, Kennamer, RA, Grimaudo, AT U, Hallagan, JJ, Hopkins WA. 2020 Incubation temperature affects duckling body size and food consumption despite no effect on associated feeding behaviors. Integrative Organismal Biology 2(1), obaa003. doi.org/10.1093/iob/obaa003

Hopkins, WA, DuRant, SE, Beck, ML P, Ray, WK, Helm, RF, Romero LM. 2020. Cortisol is the predominant glucocorticoid in the giant paedomorphic hellbender salamander (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis). General and Comparative Endocrinology 285, 113267  


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