David Houghton

David C. Houghton

Professor and Chair of Biology; Director of the G.H. Gordon Biological Station
“In wilderness is the preservation of the world.”
— Henry David Thoreau

Faculty Information

Additional Faculty Information for David C. Houghton


B.S. in Limnology and Fisheries Management, University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point, 1994

M.S. in Biology/Ecology, University of North Texas, 1997

Ph.D. in Entomology, University of Minnesota, 2002

Courses Taught

BIO 101: Core Principles in Biology

BIO 201: Evolution and Biological Diversity

BIO 250: General Ecology

BIO 311: Methods in Field Biology

BIO 370 Entomology

BIO 390: Animal Parasitology


Preface: Proceedings of the 15th International Symposium on Trichoptera. In Zoosymposia, 14, (2019): 6–15.

When to Sample Adult Caddisflies: Data from a Five-Year Study of a First-Order Michigan (USA) Stream. In Journal of Freshwater Ecology, (2018).

Updated Minnesota Rare Species Guide: Caddisflies. MNDNR searchable database, (2016).

The Caddisflies (Trichoptera) of an Undisturbed Lower Michigan Habitat. In The Great Lakes Entomologist, 49, (2016): 41–54.

A 5-Year Study of the Adult Flight Periodicity of 27 Caddisfly (Trichoptera) Species in Forest and Meadow Habitats of a First-Order Lower Michigan Stream. In Environmental Entomology, 44, (2015): 1472–1487.

Delineation and Characterization of Michigan Caddisfly Biological Diversity (Insecta: Trichoptera), and Comparison with Minnesota. In Journal of Freshwater Ecology, 30, (2015): 525–542.

Regional Caddisfly (Trichoptera) Indicator Species for Mid-Order Michigan and Minnesota Streams. The Great Lakes Entomologist, 48, (2015): 93–97.

Minnesota Rare Species Guide: Caddisflies. MNDNR searchable database, (2013).

Demonstration of Sex Pheromones in Anabolia bimaculata, Hydatophylax argus, and Nemotaulius hostilis (Trichoptera: Limnephilidae). In The Great Lakes Entomologist, 46, (2013): 142–144.

Biological Diversity of Minnesota Caddisflies. ZooKeys Special Issues, 189, (2012): 1–389.

Teaching and Research in a North Woods Paradise. In Hillsdale Magazine, 39, (2012).

Historical and Contemporary Biological Diversity of Minnesota Caddisflies: A Case Study of Landscape-Level Species Loss and Trophic Composition Shift. In Journal of the North American Benthological Society 29, (2010): 480–495.

The Effects of Landscape-Level Disturbance on the Composition of Caddisfly (Insecta: Trichoptera) Trophic Functional Groups: Evidence for Ecosystem Homogenization. In Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 135, (2007): 253–264.

The Ability of Common Water Quality Metrics to Predict Habitat Disturbance when Biomonitoring with Adult Caddisflies (Insecta: Trichoptera). In Journal of Freshwater Ecology, 21, (2006): 705-716.

Review of: Caddisflies, the Underwater Architects. In Quarterly Review of Biology, 80, (2006): 370–371.

Minnesota Caddisfly Biodiversity (Insecta: Trichoptera): Delineation and Characterization of Regions. In Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 95, (2004): 153–181.

Utility of Caddisflies (Insecta: Trichoptera) as Indicators of Habitat Disturbance in Minnesota. In Journal of Freshwater Ecology, 19, (2004): 97–108.

‘Supermale’ Caddisflies (Trichoptera: Hydropsychidae, Philopotamidae) from the Northcentral United States. In Entomological News, 115, (2004): 129-134.

Updated Conservation Status of Minnesota Caddisflies. In The Great Lakes Entomologist, 36, (2003): 35–40.

Evaluation of Minnesota Geographic Classifications Based on Caddisfly (Insecta: Trichoptera) Data. In The Great Lakes Entomologist, 36, (2003): 76–92.

Pheromone Use in Pycnopsyche guttifer and P. lepida (Trichoptera: Limnephilidae): Evidence for Pheromonal Dialects. Proceedings of the 10th International Symposium on Trichoptera. In Nova Supplementa Entomologica, 15, (2002): 47–54.

Updated Checklist of the Caddisflies (Trichoptera) of Minnesota. In Transactions of the American Entomological Society, 127, (2001): 495–512.

Two New Species of Lepidostoma Rambur (Trichoptera: Lepidostomatidae) from the Western United States. In Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 103, (2001): 541–545.

Caddisfly (Trichoptera) Records from the Apache National Forest, Eastern Arizona. In Entomological News, 112, (2001): 85–93.

Life History and Case Building Behavior of Culoptila cantha (Trichoptera: Glossosomatidae) in the Brazos River, Texas. In Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 91, (1998): 59–70.

Displacement of Riffle Dwelling Invertebrates by the Introduced Rusty Crayfish, Orconectes rusticus (Girard) (Decapoda: Cambaridae), in a Northcentral Wisconsin Stream. In The Great Lakes Entomologist, 31, (1998): 13–24.

Immature Life Stage Descriptions and Distribution of Culoptila cantha (Ross) (Trichoptera: Glossosomatidae). In Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 100, (1998): 511–520.

Seasonal Flight Periodicities of Six Microcaddisflies (Trichoptera: Hydroptilidae, Glossosomatidae) in the Brazos River, Texas with Notes on Larval Biology and Site Records. In Entomological News, 109, (1998): 103–109.


Although I was officially born and raised in Minneapolis, I really grew up at our family cabin in northern Minnesota. There I could hike the trails, fish the lakes, dig in the dirt, and poke around in streams to my heart’s content. I parlayed that interest into a degree in limnology and fisheries management in 1994 from the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, where I decided to become a professor so I would never really have to leave college. I received a master’s degree in ecology from the University of North Texas in 1997 before going back home to obtain my Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Minnesota in 2002. My dissertation involved the biological diversity of aquatic insects, specifically the caddisflies, and how those populations were affected by natural and human disturbances. Basically, it meant that I got paid (albeit poorly) to go camping and explore the streams and rivers of the state for four years.

After graduate school, I taught at a liberal arts college in Virginia for a couple of years before coming to Hillsdale in 2005. I became the director of the College’s G.H. Gordon Biostation in 2008 and chair of the Biology Department in 2018. I’ve also served a couple of terms as president of the Michigan Entomological Society, which means hosting their annual research conference at our Biostation.

My teaching and research interests remain at the intersection of invertebrate biology and freshwater ecology. My students and I travel all over the northcentral US, sampling streams and relating the aquatic insect populations that we find to natural and anthropogenic conditions. We’ve been fortunate to sample some truly unique and generally inaccessible habitats, such as the remote Huron Mountains of the northern Upper Peninsula, the Black River Ranch of the northern Lower Peninsula, and Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. We have compiled the largest caddisfly collection in Michigan, with nearly 300,000 specimens collected over the last 10 years.

At the Biostation we study everything from spiders, to salamanders, to snapping turtles. Many of my students present their research at professional conferences, and a good number of them also publish their findings in peer-reviewed scientific journals, which is a rare and crowning achievement for an undergraduate.

My wife and I live in Hillsdale with our passive-aggressive English Shepherd. I spend my free time scuba diving, mountain biking, and exploring remote wilderness areas by foot and packraft.

Feel free to email me if you have any questions about the teaching and research happening at the Biostation or in the Biology Department in general. I am always happy to talk with prospective students and their parents.