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Brian Patrick, Ph.D.



  • Assistant Professor, Biology
  • Dakota Wesleyan University


  • Ph.D., Ecology, Kent State University
  • M.A., Systematics & Ecology, University of Kansas
  • B.A., Biology, University of Kansas

Current Research: My research focuses on biodiversity inventorying in the Upper Midwest, particularly in South Dakota, and on spider and beetle systematics and taxonomy. Spiders are of ecological, medical, and economic importance, and a thorough understanding of the abundance and distribution of each species in a given region can help us make better decisions regarding biodiversity conservation, medical diagnoses of potential spider bites, and integrated pest management (IPM) implementation for crop protection. Knowledge of the spider fauna of South Dakota and the rest of the Upper Midwest is woefully inadequate, so my lab works to collect and identify spiders in this region while also educating the general public about the integral roles these ubiquitous predators play in ecosystems. Currently, I am working on an inventory of the spiders of the Fort Pierre National Grassland, as well as the spider and beetle faunas in pristine prairie remnants and reseeded CRP land. These projects are part of a broader research initiative for my lab, the South Dakota Spider Survey (SDSS). The goal of the SDSS is to catalog the abundance and distribution of spider species throughout the state to provide detailed imaging of each species for easier identification in general and medical settings, and accurate information regarding each species, including detailed maps of known collection locations for each county, current taxonomy (scientific species names and family information), and relevant scientific literature.