Ken Nagy
(310) 825-8771
4127 Life Sciences Building (LSB)

Recent Courses

EE BIOL 113A - Herpetology
EE BIOL 134B - Field Physiological Ecology of Desert Animals
EE BIOL 19 - Fiat Lux Freshman Seminars

Research Areas

Research Interests

Since retiring in 2006 and becoming a Research Professor, my research has moved away from Physiological Ecology and into the area of Conservation Biology. Specifically, my current work concerns the Threatened species Gopherus agassizii, the Desert Tortoise. We are doing Head-start studies at several specially-built hatchery-nursery installations located in natural habitat on military bases in the Mojave Desert of California. These projects involve protecting tortoise nests, eggs and juveniles from predators until they are big enough or old enough to fend for themselves, then they are released into the wild. We are examining many aspects of head-starting, including possible transmission of diseases from mother to eggs, ways to enhance growth so young tortoises can be released sooner, the possible involvement of temperature-dependent sex determination, minimum age/size needed for good survivorship of juveniles after release, best ways to handle egg-donor females to promote their continued survivorship and fecundity, and successful protocols (when, where, how) for releasing juveniles. The main goal is to overcome the 90-99 percent mortality that occurs in the early years of life among wild desert tortoises under natural conditions, and thereby make available many more sub-adult tortoises for recruitment. This strategy should help tortoise populations recover.

click here for Ken Nagy's publications and reprints

click here for Ken Nagy's curriculum vitae

Selected Publications

Nagy, K.A., G. Kuchling, L.S. Hillard, and B.T. Henen, "Weather and sex ratios of head-started Agassiz's desert tortoise Gopherus agassizii juveniles hatched in natural habitat enclosures", Endangered Species Research, 30 : 145-155 (2016) .

Nagy, K.A., L.S. Hillard, M.W. Tuma, and D.J. Morafka, "Head-started desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii): Movements, survivorship and mortality causes following their release", Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 10 : 203-215 (2015) .

Hazard, L.C., D.R. Shemanski, and K.A. Nagy, "Nutritional quality of natural foods of juvenile desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii): energy, nitrogen, and fiber digestibility", Journal of Herpetology, 43 : 38-48 (2009) .

Nagy, K.A., "Field metabolic rate and body size", The Journal of Experimental Biology, 208 : 1621-1625 (2005) .

Nagy, K.A., "Water economy of free-living desert animals", International Congress Series, 1275 : 291-297 (2004) .

Nagy, K. A, "Food requirements of wild animals: Predictive equations for free-living mammals, reptiles, and birds", Nutrition Abstracts and Reviews, Series B, 71 : 21R-32R (2001) .

Nagy, K. A., G. l. Kooyman, and P. J. Ponganis, "Energetic cost of foraging in free-diving Emperor Penguins", Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, 74 : 541-547 (2001) .

Nagy, K.A., and S.D. Bradshaw, "Scaling of energy and water fluxes in free-living arid-zone Australian marsupials", Journal of Mammalogy, 81 : 962-970 (2000) .

Wallis, I.R., B.T. Henen, and K.A. Nagy, "Egg size and annual egg production by female desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii): the importance of food abundance, body size, and date of egg shelling", Journal of Herpetology, 33 : 394-408 (1999) .

Nagy, K.A., I.A. Girard, and T.K. Brown, "Energetics of free-ranging mammals, reptiles and birds", Annual Review of Nutrition, 19 : 247-277 (1999) .