Brian Masters


Brian Masters

Contact Info

Science Complex, Room 5150C
Monday 11am-12pm, Tuesday 10-11am, Wednesday 3-4pm


B.S. Biochemistry, University of Florida
Ph.D. Molecular Biology, University of Florida
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Stanford University

Areas of Expertise

Molecular ecology


My research interests involve the use of molecular genetic techniques to answer ecological and evolutionary questions. Since coming to Towson University, my students and I have been involved in research on a number of topics including the following: Parental behavior in salamanders; Genetic structure of yellow perch and blue crab populations in the Chesapeake Bay; Extra-pair mating behavior in house wrens, mountain bluebirds, and grasshopper sparrows; Associations between genetic heterozygosity and fitness; Molecular evolution of microsatellite sequences. We are currently starting a project in my lab examining population structure, heterozygosity-fitness correlations, molecular evolution of microsatellites, and mating behavior using a locally common species, the spotted salamander.


Masters, B.S., L.S. Johnson, B.G.P. Johnson, J.L. Brubaker, S.K. Sakaluk and C.F. Thompson. 2010. Evidence for heterozygote instability in microsatellite loci in house wrens. Biology Letters. In press.

Forsman, A.M., L.A. Vogel, S.K. Sakaluk, B.G. Johnson, B.S. Masters, L.S. Johnson, and C.F. Thompson. 2008. Female house wrens (Troglodytes aedon) increase the size, but not the immunocompetence, of their offspring through extra-pair mating. Molecular Ecology. 17:3697-3706.

Johnson, L.S., C.F. Thompson, S.K. Sakaluk, M. Neuhäuser, B.G.P. Johnson, S. S. Soukup, S. J. Forsythe and B.S. Masters. 2009. Extra-pair young in house wren broods are more likely to be male than female. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B. 276:2285-2289.

Johnson, L.S., J.L. Brubaker, B.G.P. Johnson and B.S. Masters. 2009. Evidence for a maternal effect benefiting extra-pair offspring in a songbird, the house wren (Troglodytes aedon). Journal of Avian Biology. 40:1-6.

Courses Taught

  • Spring: BIOL 309 Genetics