Christopher E. Hill
Associate Professor and
Spivey Professor of Ornithology

Department of Biology
Coastal Carolina University

Research Interests
Teaching Interests
More about me
Contact me

Research Interests
  • Mating systems of birds
  • Seabird and marsh bird conservation
  • The function of bird song
  • Biology of Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies)

Recent and Current Research Projects

  • Using habitat to predict the distribution of three sparrow species wintering in salt marshes (Kim Trinkle, M.S. student)
  • Winter site fidelity in saltmarsh sparrrows (Susan Shaw, M.S. student)
  • Postfledging survival and movements of Least Terns fledged from gravel rooftops (with Alex Kohorst, M.S. student)
  • Breeding biology of Wilson's Plovers (Kerri Dikun, M.S. Student)
  • For a slideshow (by student Katie Copenhaver) of a morning of sparrow fieldwork, click here.

Courses Taught

Biological Science I, Biology 121
Biological Science II, Biology 122
Animal Behavior, Biology 436
Molecular Techniques in Biology , Biology 451
Ornithology, Biology 461
Graduate Seminar, CMWS 697/698


  • Hill CE, Ackay C, Campbell SE, Beecher MD (2011) Extrapair paternity, song, and genetic quality in song sparrows. Behavioral Ecology 22:73-81 .pdf
  • Hill CE (2010) First record of California gull (Larus californicus) for South Carolina. Chat 74: 102-103. .pdf
  • Hill CE, Marshall T, Allen WB (2010) First specimen of arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea) for South Carolina. Chat 74: 40-43.
  • Hill CE, Gjerdrum C, Elphick CS (2010) Extreme levels of multiple mating characterize the mating system of the saltmarsh sparrow Ammodramus caudacutus. Auk 127: 300-307..pdf
    Hartford Courant (with unfortunate headline)
    Discovery News (Video!)
  • Hill CE, Tomko S, Hagen C, Schable N, Glenn T (2008) Novel microsatellite markers for the saltmarsh sharp-tailed sparrow Ammodramus caudacutus (Aves: Passeriformes) Molecular Ecology Resources 8: 113-115. Click for .pdf and corrected primer table
  • Chan YL, Hill CE, Maldonado JE & Fleischer RC (2006) Evolution and conservation of tidal marsh vertebrates: molecular approaches. Studies in Avian Biology 32: 54-75 Click for .pdf and lit cited
  • Hill CE, Copenhaver KA, Gangler RK, Whaley JA (2005) Does light intensity influence song output by Northern Mockingbirds? Chat 69: 61-67. Click for .pdf
  • Hill CE and Post W (2005) Extra-pair paternity in Seaside Sparrows. Journal of Field Ornithology 76: 119-126. Click for .pdf
  • Crowe MC and Hill CE (2006) Setting the stage for good group dynamics in semester-long projects in the Sciences. Journal of College Science Teaching 35: 32-35 Hoekstra HE,
  • Hoekstra JM, Berrigan DM, Hoang A, Vigneri SN, Hill CE, Beerli P & Kingsolver JG (2001) Strength and tempo of directional selection in the wild. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the USA 98: 9157-9160.  Click for .pdf
  • Kingsolver JG, Hoekstra HE, Hoekstra JM, Berrigan D, Vigneri SN, Hill CE, Hoang A, Gilbert P & Beerli P (2001) The strength of phenotypic selection in natural populations. American Naturalist 157: 245-261  .pdf
  • Hess CM, Gasper J, Hoekstra HE, Hill C , and Edwards SV, 2000. MHC Class II Pseudogene and Genomic Signature of a 32-kb Cosmid in the House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus ). Genome Research 10: 613-623  .pdf
  • Beecher MD, Campbell SE, Burt JM, Hill CE, Nordby JC, 2000. Song type matching between neighboring song sparrows. Animal Behaviour 59:21-27.  .pdf
  • Hill CE, Campbell SE, Nordby JC, Burt JM, Beecher MD, 1999. Song sharing in two populations of song sparrows (Melospiza melodia). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 46:341-349.  .pdf
  • Kroodsma DE, Byers BE, Halkin SL, Hill C , Minis D, Bolsinger JR, Dawson J-A, Donelan E, Farrington J, Gill F, Houlihan P, Innes D, Keller G, Macaulay L, Marantz CA, Ortiz J, Stoddard PK, Wilda K, 1999. Geographic variation of black-capped chickadee songs and singing behavior in North America. Auk 116:387-402.  
  • Beecher MD, Nordby JC, Campbell SE, Burt JM, Hill CE , O'Loghlen AL, 1997. What is the function of song learning in songbirds? In: Perspectives in Ethology, Vol. 12: Communication (Owings DH, Beecher MD, Thompson NS, eds). New York: Plenum Press; 77-97.
  • Milling TC, Rowe MP, Cockerel BL, Dellinger TA, Gailes JB & Hill CE. 1997. Population densities of northern saw-whet owls (Aegolius acadicus) in degraded boreal forests of the southern Appalachians. In: JR Duncan, DH Johnson and TH Nicholls, Eds. Biology and Conservation of Owls of the Northern Hemisphere. United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station. General Technical Report NC-190.Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada pp. 272-285

Chris Hill
Behavioral Ecology and Population Genetics of Birds

BA (1987)  Massachusetts
M.S. (1995) Eastern Kentucky
Ph.D. (1999) Washington

Mailing Address:
Biology Department

Coastal Carolina University
P.O. Box 261954
Conway, SC 29528

Shipping Address (UPS etc.)
Science Building Rm. 221
109 Chanticleer Dr., East
Conway, SC 29526

Tel: (843) 349-2567
Fax: (843) 349-2201

More about me

I grew up mostly in a suburb outside New York City: New Rochelle, N.Y.  I went to college at Hampshire College and the University of Massachusetts, graduating in 1987.  I returned to graduate school in 1992, got a M.S. in Biology from Eastern Kentucky University, where I was lucky to work with Gary Ritchison and studied Saw-whet Owl vocal behavior. I then went to the University of Washington, where I got a Ph.D. in Zoology, focusing on Song Sparrow singing and mating behavior under Michael Beecher, working with a great bunch of people in the Beecher Bird Lab, and doing molecular paternity testing in Scott Edwards's lab in Zoology the Marine Molecular Biotechnology Lab in Fisheries. In Kentucky I met my wife Amy, and after five years in Washington, we moved back east when I was offered a job at Coastal Carolina University.  We and our boys Sam and Simon live in Conway, SC.

Curriculum vitae


(page updated June 2012)