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. In August 2020, Dr. Hopkins joined the Fralin Life Sciences Institute at Virginia Tech as associate executive director. 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 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters on subjects pertaining to environmental stress, pollution, and physiological ecology.


Lab Website

Recent Relevant Publications

Button, S.T. G, Hallagan, J.J., Jachowski, C.M.B. G, Case, B.F., Groffen, J., Hopkins, W.A. 2020.  Weathering the storm: Improving the availability and stability of artificial shelters for hellbender salamanders. River Research and Applications.

Button, S.T. G, Jachowski, C.M.B. G, Case, B.F., Groffen, J., Hopkins, W.A. 2020. The Influence of Multiscale Habitat Variables and Population Density on Artificial Shelter Use by Hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis). Herpetologica.

Hope, SF G, DuRant, SE, Angelier, F, Hallagan, JJ, Moore, IT, Parenteau, C, Kennamer, RA, Hopkins, WA. 2020. Prolactin is related to incubation constancy and egg temperature following a disturbance in a precocial bird.  General and Comparative Endocrinology, 295, 113489. doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2020.113489

Grimaudo, AT U, Hope, SF G, DuRant, SE, Kennamer, RA, Hallagan, JJ, Hopkins, WA. 2020. Ambient temperature and female body condition are related to night incubation behavior in wood ducks (Aix sponsa). Journal of Avian Biology 51(5) https://doi.org/10.1111/jav.02379

Jachowski, CMB G, Ross, BE, Hopkins, WA. 2020. Evaluating artificial shelter arrays as a minimally invasive monitoring tool for the hellbender Cryptobranchus alleganiensis Endangered Species Research 41,167-181. DOI: 10.3354/esr01014

Hope, SF G, Kennamer, RA, Grimaudo, AT U, Hallagan, JJ, Hopkins WA. 2020. Incubation temperature affects duckling body size and food consumption despite no effect on associated feeding behaviors. Integrative Organismal Biology 2(1), obaa003. doi.org/10.1093/iob/obaa003

Hopkins, WA, DuRant, SE, Beck, ML P, Ray, WK, Helm, RF, Romero LM. 2020. Cortisol is the predominant glucocorticoid in the giant paedomorphic hellbender salamander (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) General and Comparative Endocrinology 285, 113267. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2019.113267

Beck, M.L. P, Hopkins, W.A., 2019. The relationship between plumage coloration and aggression in female tree swallows Journal of Avian Biology 50(11) doi.org/10.1111/jav.01910

Connock, J.U, Case, B.G, Button, S.G, Groffen, J., Galligan, T.M.P, and Hopkins, W.A. 2019. Factors influencing in-situ detection of pit-tagged hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) occupying artificial shelters using a submersible antennae. Herpetological Conservation and Biology. 14 (2), 429-437.

Hope, S.F., Kennamer, R.A., van Montfrans, S.G., and Hopkins, W.A. 2019. Incubation temperature and social context affect nest exodus performance of precocial ducklings. Behavioral Ecology 30: 518-527. doi:10.1093/beheco/ary192.

Hope, S.F., Beunaventura, C., Husain, Z., DuRant, S.E., Kennamer, R.E., Hopkins, W.A., and Thompson, C.K. 2018. Effects of incubation temperature on thyroid hormone and corticosterone related gene expression in the developing brain of a precocial bird. Frontiers in Physiology. INVITED FOR SPECIAL ISSUE: – developmental programing of vertebrate health and disease.

Whitmore, K.M., Schoenholtz, S.H., Soucek, D.J., Hopkins, W.A., and Zipper C.E. 2018. Selenium dynamics in headwater streams of the central Appalachian coalfield. Environ Toxicol Chem, 37(10), 2714-2726. doi:10.1002/etc.4245

Eagles-Smith, C.A., E. K. Silbergeld, N. Basu, P. Bustamante, F. Diaz-Barriga, W.A. Hopkins, K.A. Kidd, J.F. Nyland. 2018. Modulators of mercury risk to wildlife and humans in the context of rapid global change. Ambio. 47(2),170-197. INVITED REVIEW AND INTERNATIONAL PLENARY PANEL.

Jachowski, C.M.B., and W.A. Hopkins. 2018. Demography of the hellbender, Cryptobranchus alleganiensis, along a land use gradient: Implications for monitoring and conservation of long-lived species. Biological Conservation. 220, 215-227.

Thompson, M.M., B.H. Coe, R.M. Andrews, D.A. Cristol, D.A. Crossley II, and W.A. Hopkins. 2018. Agricultural land use creates evolutionary traps for nesting turtles and is exacerbated by mercury pollution. Journal of Experimental Zoology: Part A. INVITED FOR SPECIAL ISSUE: Reptile Developmental Plasticity. 329(4-5), 230-243.

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.

S.F. Hope, S.E. DuRant, J.J. Hallagan, M.L. Beck, R.A. Kennamer, W.A. Hopkins. 2018. Free-moving artificial eggs containing temperature loggers reveal remarkable within-clutch variance in incubation temperature. Journal of Avian Biology.


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