Biology Department

George Farnsworth

Associate Professor, Biology

First Year at Xavier



Received B.S. in Biology from the College of William and Mary in Virginia in 1991 and an M.S. in Environmental Sciences from University of Virginia in 1994. Earned a Ph.D. in Zoology from North Carolina State University in 1998. Before coming to Xavier, Farnsworth worked as a post-doctoral researcher with Patuxent Wildlife Research Center and taught at Meredith College and University of Houston-Downtown.

He is particularly interested in the behavioral ecology of local species of songbirds. As a Ph.D. student, Farnsworth explored the nesting behavior of the wood thrush. By measuring the survival rate of nests from one day to the next and the likelihood that a nesting female will attempt another nest, he was able to estimate the total productivity of the population of wood thrushes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As part of this work, he developed a behavior model that he used to ask more basic and theoretical questions about why birds lay the number of eggs that they do. After receiving his degree, Farnsworth began to address practical issues regarding techniques used to survey for birds. In many cases, these techniques involve recording the number of singing birds detected. He developed statistical models that are capable of including information about the singing behavior of birds, thus improving our ability to estimate the size of bird populations.

Dr. Farnsworth teaches General Biology II, Animal Behavior and Methods of Biological Research (Senior Research) for Biology Department majors as well as Anatomy and Physiology I for non majors. For more information about his research and teaching activities visit his personal website.


  • BS, MS, Ph.D. (North Carolina State University)