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Fredric Govedich - Southern Utah University. Cedar City, UT, US

Fredric Govedich

Professor of Biology / Department Chair | Southern Utah University


Specializing in predator prey interactions, evolution of reproductive strategies, and leech systematics


Dr. Fredric R. Govedich is a professor of biology and the department chair at Southern Utah University. He is interested in various aspects of aquatic ecology, animal behavior, and invertebrate evolution.

Dr. Govedich began studying leeches while an undergrad student but soon was intrigued by the lack of research of available. His studies include the evolution of parental care strategies in leeches, leech population genetics, leech systematics, and the reconstruction of the evolutionary relationships (phylogeny) of invertebrate groups, predator-prey interactions, feeding behavior, and migration within and between systems. Currently he is working on several aspects of population biology, evolutionary biology and animal behavior, including the evolution of reproductive strategies, parental care, sex allocation, and paternity in freshwater glossiphoniid leeches. Dr. Govedich is now one of a few experts on these under-studied species.

Dr. Govedich earned a bachelor of science in biology and a master of science in biology from Northern Arizona University, and a Ph.D. in biology from Monash University.






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Meet Our Professors: Fred Govedich, Leeches


Industry Expertise (3)


Writing and Editing

Renewables and Environmental

Areas of Expertise (11)

Animal Behavior

Aquatic Ecology


Evolutionary Biology

Evolution of Reproductive Strategies

Feeding Behavior

Invertebrate Evolution

Leech Systematics


Population Biology

Predator Prey Interactions

Education (3)

Monash University: Ph.D., Biology

Northern Arizona University: M.S., Biology

Northern Arizona University: B.S., Biology

Accomplishments (2)

Outstanding Mentor Award (professional)

Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative (IIC), 2014

Outstanding Faculty Member (professional)

Southern Utah University Biology Department, 2010

Affiliations (9)

  • American Microscopical Society
  • Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science
  • Australia New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Internation Pycnogonid Society
  • International Society of Leech Scientists
  • North American Benthological Society
  • Society of Freshwater Science
  • Society of Systematic Biologists
  • Southwestern Naturalist

Research Grants (1)

STEM at SUU, Continuing Grant

National Science Foundation $580,000


The S-STEM at SUU program targets first-generation college students, Title I school graduates, and students from minority populations and is awarding 20 scholarships to students majoring in mathematics, engineering, biology, geology, chemistry, or technology. Ultimately, S-STEM at SUU is enabling scholarship recipients to pursue their degree in a STEM discipline, and then attend graduate school or be placed in a career within their discipline.

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Articles (5)

Helobdella blinni sp. n. (Hirudinida, Glossiphoniidae) a new species inhabiting Montezuma Well, Arizona, USA


Rebecca K. Beresic-Perrins, Fredric R. Govedich, Kelsey Banister, Bonnie A. Bain, Devin Rose, and Stephen M. Shuster

A new leech species Helobdella blinni sp. n., is described from Montezuma Well, an isolated travertine spring mound located in central Arizona, USA. In its native habitat, H. blinni had been previously identified as Helobdella stagnalis (Linnaeus, 1758), which was later reclassified to Helobdella modesta (Verrill, 1872).

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Euhirudinea from Australian Turtles (Chelodina burrungandjii and Emydura australis) of the Kimberley Plateau, Western Australia, Australia

Comparative Parasitology

Anton D. Tucker, Nancy N. Fitzsimmons and Fredric R. Govedich

Leeches were sampled from 2 turtle species, Chelodina burrungandjii and Emydura australis, from 9 rivers spanning the Kimberley Plateau of Western Australia, Australia. Placobdelloides octostriata was collected from both turtle taxa across the Kimberley Plateau, and Bogobdella diversa was collected from a single specimen of E. australis in the Fitzroy River, the westernmost catchment of the sample area. Relative prevalence of P. octostriata was influenced by host behavior, with a 10-fold difference in prevalence on the sit-wait predator C. burrungandjii (37.4–42.2%) in comparison with the more actively swimming E. australis (1.3–3.7%). The prevalence of parasitism was not substantially different between sites for each species. These are new host and locality records for Euhirudinea in Australia.

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Hands-On Laboratory Simulation of Evolution An Investigation of Mutation, Natural Selection, & Speciation

The American Biology Teacher

Terri J Hildebrand, Fredric R. Govedich, and Bonnie A. Bain

Evolutionary theory is the foundation of the biological sciences, yet conveying it to General Biology students often presents a challenge, especially at larger institutions where student numbers in foundation courses can exceed several hundred per lecture section. We present a pedagogically sound exercise that utilizes a series of simple and inexpensive simulations to convey the concept of evolution through mutation and natural selection.

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Redescription of the Australian leech Placobdelloides bancrofti with new records of its distribution

Journal of Parasitology

S. McKenna, D. Betts, W. Pong, D. Barton and F. Govedich

Placobdelloides bancrofti (Best, 1931) Sawyer, 1986 (Euhirudinea: Glossiphoniidae) is recorded for the first time from a location in North Queensland, Australia. Placobdelloides bancrofti was found feeding on the freshwater turtle Emydura krefftii and was collected from a new host species Elseya latisternum. Examination of live individuals enabled us to document external coloration and markings for the first time. Clarification of the original description of P. bancrofti is made, correcting the location of the anal pore, and then the taxonomic history of this species is discussed.

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Courtship and mating behaviour in the Pycnogonida (Chelicerata: Class Pycnogonida): a summary

Invertebrate Reproduction & Development Journal

Bonnie A. Bain and Fredric R. Govedich

The few published observations on pycnogonid courtship and mating behavior are widely scattered in the literature and there are no recent summaries available. Consequentially, the exclusively paternal care which is characteristic of this little-known group of marine invertebrates remains understudied by modern behavioral biologists. The current paper provides a comprehensive introduction to pycnogonid morphology with emphasis on the structures required for reproduction and then summarizes all of the available information on courtship and mating behavior in pycnogonids.

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Courses (7)

BIOL 1625 General Biology Lab II

Lab to accompany BIOL 1620.

BIOL 3450 Comparative Vertebrate Studies

Evolutionary comparison of the development, structure, and behavior of vertebrates.

BIOL 3455 Comparative Vertebrate Studies Lab

Lab to accompany BIOL 3450.

BIOL 4410 Animal Behavior

Study of adaptive value of animal behavior and behavioral diversity, including foraging, territoriality, communication, mating systems, sexual selection and social behavior, with emphasis on evolutionary and ecological interpretations.

BIOL 4840 Cooperative Education

Observation and activities in professional practice situations on or off campus arranged by contract with an appropriate faculty supervisor.

BIOL 4850 Undergraduate Research

Original lab or field research in biology arranged by contract with an appropriate faculty supervisor.

BIOL 4890 Internship

An off-campus experience with an employer, agency, or organization that will provide hands-on experiences. Internships must be initiated by a contract between the student, the provider, and the faculty advisor. The student may be paid or work as a volunteer.