Bret Tobalske

Bret W. Tobalske

Division of Biological Sciences

University of Montana

Missoula, MT, 59812

Office: (406) 243-6631

Lab: (406) 243-6631

FAX: (406) 243-4184



  • Ph.D., 1994, Organismal Biology and Ecology, University of Montana, Missoula, MT
  • M.A., 1991, Zoology, University of Montana, Missoula, MT
  • B.S., Highest Honors, 1988, Zoology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL
Academic Positions
  • 2008-Present, University of Montana, Associate Professor and Director, Field Research Station at Fort Missoula, Division of Biological Sciences
  • 2004-2008, University of Portland, Associate Professor, Biology Department
  • 1999-2004, University of Portland, Assistant Professor, Biology Department
  • 1998-1999, Harvard University, Post-doctoral Fellow, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Concord Field Station
  • 1997-1998, Allegheny College, Visiting Assistant Professor, Biology Department
  • 1996-1997, University of Montana, Post-doctoral Fellow, Division of Biological Sciences
  • 1994-1996, Parc Naturel Régional du Haut-Jura, Fulbright Post-doctoral Fellow,
Media Coverage
Grants / Fellowships/ Awards
  • Ontogeny of Avian Locomotion: Aerodynamics, Skeletal Kinematics, and Neuromuscular Control (Co-PI), 2009-2011
  • Aerodynamics of Hummingbird Flight, National Science Foundation, 2006-2010
  • Gait selection and Power Output in Bird Flight as Measured using Digital Particle Image Velocimetry (DPIV), 2003-2004
  • In vivo Contractile Properties of Wing Muscles in Birds, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, 2002-2004
  • The Outstanding Scholarship Award, University of Portland, 2003
  • Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement: Digital Imaging and Investigations in Biology, National Science Foundation (Co-PI), 2000-2002
  • Comparative Biomechanics of Intermittent Flight in Birds, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, 2000-2002
  • Gait Selection in Bird Flight, University of Portland Arthur Butine Faculty Development Grant, 2000
  • Effects of Forest Management on the Ecology of Woodpeckers in the Haut-Jura, France, Fulbright Fellowship, 1994-1995
  • Intermittent Flight of Birds, Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research, 1992
  • Red-naped Sapsucker Habitat Suitability Based on Reproductive Success, Five Valleys Audubon Society, Field Biology Research Award, 1990
Selected Papers:
Research Interests
Biomechanics and Physiology of Animal Flight, Ecomorphology, Conservation of Cavity-nesting Birds
Other Interests
Music, bicycling, SCUBA diving