College of Liberal Arts

Department of Anthropology

Research In Ethnobiology

With six ethnobiologists on our permanent faculty, WSU offers unsurpassed training in ethnobiology.  Our research examines past and present relationships of human societies with plants and animals. We integrate ethnobotany, paleoethnobotany, ethnozoology, paleoethnozoology and ethnoecology within broader sociocultural and archaeological dynamics of sustainability, societal scale, human health, and human evolution. Students should apply to the Cultural or Archaeology program, depending on which best aligns with their research interests. We have strong funding prospects, we seek graduate students to mentor and with whom to engage in research, and we welcome you to contact us. Please click on the names below to learn more about each of our faculty members.


Dr. Jade d'Alpoim Guedes is a paleoethnobotanist and archaeologist who works on the development and spread of early agriculture across East Asia and the Himilayas. In addition to traditional paleoethnobotany, her work models the responses of crops to new environments and climate change. Jade is also interested in using knowledge about traditional varieites of crops to inform modern agricultural practice.

Dr. Colin Grier

Dr. Marsha Quinlan is an ethnobotanist and medical anthropologist. She examines usage, taxonomy and traditional ecological knowledge of plants and animals, with particular attention to health, ethnomedicine, and medical ethnobotany (NE Amazon, Caribbean, US, E. Africa).

Dr. Robert Quinlan is an ecological and medical anthropologist working primarily in East Africa. His most recent ethnobiological work examines livestock management practices and use of veterinary antibiotics in Tanzania, especially as these practices influence antibiotic resistance. This research is in collaboration with the Allen School for Global Animal Health, where Dr. Quinlan is a faculty affiliate. He has also initiated a collaborative, interdisciplinary study of social-ecological systems in SW Ethiopia focusing on small-holder subsistence practices and household responses to environmental perturbations. Dr. Quinlan is interested in mentoring graduate students in ecological anthropology and ethnobiology on topics directly related to development and resilience in East Africa. Students interested in studies of the culture, ecology and economics of enset (Enset ventricosum) and maize agriculture in Ethiopia, and agro-pastoralism in East Africa are especially welcomed to enquire about graduate study with Dr. Quinlan.

Dr. Erin Thornton

Dr. Steven Weber is a paleoethnobotanist and founding member of the Society for Ethnobiology. He examines the relationship between subsistence systems, material culture and settlement systems (India, Japan, Southwestern US).

Dr. John Bodley (retired, Professor Emeritus) is a broad sociocultural ethnoecologist with research related to cultural ecology; societal power and scale; plant, animal and other natural resource use and sustainability (Amazon, Caribbean, Northwest US).

Course Information: The Department of Anthropology currently offers undergraduate courses in Cultural Ecology, and Past Environments and Culture (Sustainability). At the graduate level we offer seminars in Zooarchaeology; Paleoethnobotany; and, Settlement and Agro-Pastoralism; and we are developing a seminar in Ecological Anthropology and Ethnobiology.



Main Office Contact Info:


Department of Anthropology College Hall 150
PO Box 644910
Pullman, WA 99164-4910

Phone: 509.335.3441
FAX: 509.335.3999




Heading using the h3tag

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Department of Anthropology, PO Box 644910, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-4910, 509-335-3441, Contact Us