James (Van) Van Dyke was a post-doctoral researcher in the Hopkins Lab. His research interests revolved around elucidating the physiological mechanisms of energy and mass allocation to competing biological processes, such as maintenance and activity metabolism, growth and reproduction. Van was especially interested in understanding how variation in individual allocation patterns allows populations of animals to respond differentially to environmental change.
Van received his B.S. in Biology from the Florida Institute of Technology (2004). While at FIT, he studied the infrared-based heat sensory systems of pit vipers and boas under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Grace. Van pursued his PhD in Biology under Dr. Steven Beaupre at the University of Arkansas (2011). His dissertation research examined the physiological mechanisms and bioenergetic costs underlying reproductive allocation in viviparous snakes, and the mechanisms by which hatchling Smooth Softshell Turtles (Apalone mutica) utilize residual yolk. Along the way, Van also participated in an NSF-funded research experience for undergrads at Davidson College, and assisted Dr. Beaupre in his long-term field and laboratory investigation of Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) physiological ecology.
As a post-doc in the Hopkins Lab, Van monitored tissue accumulation of trace elements in aquatic turtles as a consequence of the 2008 Kingston, TN ash spill. He investigated the effects of trace element accumulation on turtle reproduction and development, and continued his investigations of reproductive bioenergetics in turtles, within the context of trace element contamination.