Dr. Bill Hopkins

Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation

Dr. Hopkins’ research program at Virginia Tech focuses on physiological ecology and wildlife ecotoxicology. In relation to global change, Dr. Hopkins studies how wildlife respond physiologically and behaviorally to anthropogenic disturbances. He is particularly intrigued by tradeoffs among physiological processes (e.g., reproduction, thermoregulation, immune function) and how global changes may force animals to reprioritize their investments of time and energy. Much of Dr. Hopkins’ research is also focused on maternal effects and how maternal behavior and physiology may influence a mother’s fitness and the fitness of her offspring. Emphasis is on maternal transfer of teratogenic compounds and resulting effects on developing offspring.

At Virginia Tech, Dr. Hopkins has taught undergraduate courses in Wildlife Biology and Tropical Ecology & Conservation. At the Graduate level, he has taught Vertebrate Physiological Ecology and the Global Change Seminar Course.


Dr. Hopkins is a Professor in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech.  He is also the Director of the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech and the Director of the Interfaces of Global Change Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program. He holds additional adjunct associate professor appointments with the University of Georgia’s Odum School of Ecology and the College of Pharmacy’s Interdisciplinary Toxicology Program, and is on the Graduate Faculty at UGA. Hopkins has served on the editorial boards of three journals, the Scientific Advisory Board for the International Center for Birds of Prey, the Science Council for the Biodiversity Research Institute, and as a member of three National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council Committees.

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. He also regularly serves in advisory capacities at the local, state, national, and international levels on issues pertaining to waste management, sustainability, and the global decline of amphibians.

Dr. Hopkins has published more than 165 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters on subjects pertaining to environmental stress, pollution, and physiological ecology.


Lab Website

Recent Relevant Publications

Thompson M.M., B.H. Coe, R.M.Andrews, D.F.Stauffer, D.A.Cristol, D.A.Crossley II, W.A. Hopkins. 2018. Major global changes interact to cause male-biased sex ratios in a reptile with temperature-dependent sex determination. Biological Conservation.

Eagles-Smith, C.A., Silbergeld, E.K., Basu, N., Bustamante, P., Diaz-Barriga, F., Hopkins, W.A., Kidd, K.A., Nyland, J.F. 2017. Modulators of mercury risk to wildlife and humans in the context of rapid global change. Ambio. INVITED REVIEW AND INTERNATIONAL PLENARY PANEL

Jachowski, C.M.B.,and W. A. Hopkins. 2017. Demography of the hellbender, Cryptobranchus alleganiensis, along a land use gradient: Implications for monitoring and conservation of long-lived species. Biological Conservation.

Thompson, M.M., B.H. Coe, R.M. Andrews, D.A. Cristol, D.A. Crossley, W.A. Hopkins. 2017. Adding Insult to Injury: Agricultural land use creates evolutionary traps for nesting turtles and is exacerbated by mercury pollution. Journal of Experimental Zool  INVITED FOR SPECIAL ISSUE: Reptile Developmental Plasticity.

Fallon, J.A., Smith, E.P., Schoch, N., Paruk, J. D., Adams, E. A., Evers, D. C., Jodice, P. G.R., Perkins, C., Schulte, S. and Hopkins, W. A. 2017. Hematological indices of injury to lightly oiled birds from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Environ Toxicol Chem. doi:10.1002/etc.3983. FEATURED AS HIGHLIGHT ARTICLE BY JOURNAL

Chin, S.Y., W.A. Hopkins, D.A Cristol. 2017. Mercury alters initiation and construction of nests by zebra finches, but not incubation or provisioning behaviors.  Ecotoxicology 26:1271-1283.

Handler L., M.S. Painter, B.H. Coe, P.W. Youmans, W.A. Hopkins, and J.B. Phillips. 2017. High levels of maternally transferred mercury disrupt magnetic responses of snapping turtle hatchlings (Chelydra serpentina). Environ Pollution. 11: 228:19-25.

Thompson, M.T., B.C. Coe, J.D. Congdon, D.F. Stauffer, W.A. Hopkins. 2017. Nesting ecology and habitat use of Chelydra serpentina in an area modified by agricultural and industrial activity. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 12:292-306.

Van Dyke, J., C.M.B. Jachowski, D. Steen, B. Jackson, and W. A. Hopkins. 2017. Spatial differences in trace element bioaccumulation in turtles exposed to a partially remediated coal fly-ash spill. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 36:201-211.

For a complete list of published work, please see Dr. Hopkins’ website.