Dr. Dittel’s research primarily focuses on seed dispersal mutualisms and competitor interactions between granivorous rodents. While growing up in the northern deciduous forests in Wisconsin, he acquired a passion for the outdoors and natural history, and the seemingly nutty behavior of foraging squirrels in the fall has fascinated him throughout his life. Trying to understand their behavior and the role they’ve played in shaping the forests he loves has been the largest source of inquiry in his research. Dr. Dittel received his B.S and M.S from the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh where he characterized seed dispersal mutualisms between palms and two species of rodents in central Panama. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Nevada, Reno in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation biology, and studied competitor interactions between ecologically similar species of granivorous rodents. Dr. Dittel worked at Oregon State University as a postdoctoral researcher and where he quantified the efficacy of sage-brush steppe restoration and the influence of seed-dispersing animals on management practices. Currently, Dr. Dittel is an assistant professor at University of North Alabama in the Department of Biology.

Research Interests

  • Behavioral Ecology and Community Ecology


  •   Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology (PhD)
    University of Nevada, Reno
  •   Biology (MS)
    University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
  •   Biology (BS)
    University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Selected Intellectual Contributions

  • Christopher M. Moore and Jacob W. Dittel. 2020. On mutualism, models, and masting: the effects of seed-dispersing animals on the plants they disperse. Journal of Ecology
  • Jacob W. Dittel, Christopher M. Moore, and Stephen B. Vander Wall. 2019. The mismatch of species richness and the plants that they disperse. Ecography
  • Andrew Bretscher, Jacob W. Dittel, Thomas D. Lambert, and Gregory H. Adler. 2018. Habitat structure influences refuge use by two sympatric species of Neotropical forest rodents. Journal of Mammalogy
  • Jacob W. Dittel and Stephen B. Vander Wall. 2018. The effects of rodent abundance and richness on cache pilfering. Integrative Zoology
  • Jacob W. Dittel, Dana M. Sanchez, Lisa M. Ellsworth, Connor M. Morozumi, and Ricardo Mata-Gonzalez. 2018. Vegetation Response to Juniper Reduction and Grazing Exclusion in Sagebrush-Steppe Habitat in Eastern Oregon. Rangeland Ecology and Management
  • Jacob W. Dittel, R Perea, and S B. Vander Wall. 2017. Reciprocal pilfering in a seed-caching rodent community: implications for species coexistence. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
  • Jacob W. Dittel, T D. Lambert, and G H. Adler. 2015. Seed dispersal by rodents in a lowland tropical forest in central Panama.. Journal of Tropical Ecology
  • T D. Lambert, K L. Sumpter, J W. Dittel, S Dupre, and K Casanova. 2013. Roads as barriers to seed dispersal by small mammals in a neotropical forest. Tropical Ecology
  • G H. Adler, A Carvajal, S L. Davis-Foust, and J W. Dittel. 2012. Habitat associations of opossums and rodents in French Guiana.. Mammalian Biology
  • T D. Lambert, M K. Halsey, J W. Dittel, S A. Mangan, and E Delfosse. 2011. First record of Alston's mouse opossum (Micoureus alstoni) from central Panama.. Mammalia