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Helen Boswell-Taylor - Southern Utah University. Cedar City, UT, US

Helen Boswell-Taylor

Professor of Biology | Southern Utah University


Specializing in sharing the complexities of biology and how all living forms are connected


Dr. Helen Boswell-Taylor is a professor of biology at Southern Utah University. She teaches general biology and the evolution course for biology majors, sharing the complexities of biology and how all living forms are connected.

Along with several works of fiction, Dr. Boswell-Taylor is the author of the nonfiction work My Fish Ate Your Fish: Can Evolution and Religion Play Nicely?

Dr. Boswell-Taylor earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences and a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences with an emphasis in evolution and animal behavior from the University of Buffalo.




Helen Boswell-Taylor Publication Helen Boswell-Taylor Publication



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Meet Our Professors: Helen Boswell, Biology Science and fantasy: Helen Boswell at TEDxSUU SUU: A Community of Caring Major Decisions: Biology Intro to BIOL 1610 with Professor Helen Boswell


Industry Expertise (3)



Writing and Editing

Areas of Expertise (6)

Ways of Knowing

STEM Students

Evolutionary Biology

Animal Behavior

Scientific Literacy

Student Mental Health

Education (2)

University at Buffalo: Ph.D., Biological Sciences in Evolution and Animal Behavior

University of Buffalo: B.A., Biological Studies

Media Appearances (3)

Celebrated Authors Present at ‘WriteOut’ Camp

St. George News  online


A new writing camp geared especially for youth ages 13-18 is slated to run Wednesday-Friday at Southern Utah University as the WriteOut Foundation brings several successful authors to town. The public is invited to attend some of the camp’s scheduled events Wednesday.

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Getting REAL about sex

SUU News  online


Real Education Affecting Life (R.E.A.L) Peers had their annual Sexual Health Week all this week. Nikki Gwin, the Wellness Coordinator for SUU, said the purpose of Sexual Health Week is to make taboo topics less so.

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Weird Science: Biology Professor Pens Paranormal Book Series

SUU News  online


Paranormal is said to be beyond the scope of normal scientific understanding, but for Southern Utah University associate professor of biology, Helen Boswell, science can explain everything from clairvoyance to flying, well she can explain it in her books at least.

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Articles (3)

Reading Fiction in Biology Class to Enhance Scientific Literacy

The American Biology Teacher


Students in the United States struggle with literacy skills, a problem that extends into their undergraduate education and beyond. Particularly in the sciences, reading assignments are usually singularly academic in nature and do not impart the importance of creativity and innovation. We propose a curriculum strategy and lesson plan that employs a “reading across the curriculum” approach to enhance literacy skills in biology students while simultaneously encouraging scientific discourse and creativity.

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Microsatellite identification of extrapair sires in a socially monogamous warbler

Behavioral Ecology


Few studies of avian mating systems have identified the sires of extrapair young, and hence it has been difficult to determine the scale at which reproductive interactions occur. For instance, females may be free to copulate with any male in the population (a “global” scale of interactions), or females may be restricted to copulating only with males on neighboring territories (a “local” scale). The scale of such interactions has important consequences for an understanding of the evolutionary causes and consequences of extrapair fertilizations. We used five hypervariable microsatellite loci and multilocus DNA fingerprinting to examine parentage of more than 400 nestling black-throated blue warblers (Dendroica caerulescens). Extrapair fertilizations were common, and the microsatellite markers allowed us to identify the sires for 89% of the young analyzed. Most identified extrapair sires were males on neighboring or nearby territories, and most nestlings for whom we could not identify a sire came from territories at the edge of the study plot. Thus, reproductive interactions appear to be more local than global in this population. Extrapair fertilizations contributed significantly to total variation in male reproductive success. However, the standardized variance in male reproductive success (0.68-0.74) was not substantially greater than that for females (0.53-0.60), and the contribution of extrapair fertilizations (9-14%) was much lower than the contribution of within-pair fertilizations (75-77%). This suggests that the local scale of reproductive interactions may limit variation in male reproductive success and hence the opportunity for selection.

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Teaching Evolution: Attitudes & Strategies of Educators in Utah

The American Biology Teacher


Method The author sent surveys to professors in biology fields at Utah universities. Participants reported gender, state where they earned their advanced degree, and current educational institution. They also reported number of years taught at the university level (< 3, 3–5, 6–10, 11–15, and> 15 years), if an evolution course was required of all majors in their program, and their opinions of whether an evolution course should be required. Participants rated replies on a scale of one to five for the following: importance of understanding ...

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Courses (9)

BIOL 1610 General Biology I

This course provides a basic foundation in the areas of biochemistry, organization and function of cells as well as the transmission of genetic information.

BIOL 1620 General Biology II

This course introduces Science Majors to the study of biology and the diversity of life. It provides fundamental knowledge of morphological complexity, physiology, development, environmental adaptation, and the evolutionary history of life on Earth.

BIOL 1625 General Biology Lab II

Lab to accompany BIOL 1620.

BIOL 3050 Biomedical Ethics

Exploration of current ethical problems in the medical and psychological disciplines and their impacts on society and the individual.

BIOL 3110 Evolution

Study of pattern and processes shaping the unity and diversity of life. Emphasis on natural selection theory, paleontological evidence, and a neo-Darwinian view of the genetic basis for variation and adaption, speciation, and phylogenetic patterns, including human evolution.

BIOL 4830 Individual Study

Individual study of topics in biology arranged by contract with an appropriate faculty supervisor.

BIOL 4840 Cooperative Education

Observation and activities in professional practice situations on or off campus 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 are initiated by a contract between the student, the provider, and the faculty advisor.

BIOL 4850 Undergraduate Research

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