Brandon Jackson

Biology and Enviromental Sciences
Longwood University
Farmville, VA 23909

Academic Positons

  • August, 2014 to present Longwood University, Assistant Professor
  • 2013-2014 Skidmore College, Visiting Assistant Professor
  • 2012 University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Biology
  • 2012 University of Montana, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Div. Biological Sciences, & College of Forestry and Conservation
  • 2010-2012 University of Montana, Post-Doctoral Scholar, Div. Biological Sciences


  • Ph.D. 2009 (Organismal Biology and Ecology) The University of Montana, Missoula, MT.
  • M.S. 2003 (Organismal Biology and Ecology) The University of Montana, Missoula, MT.
  • B.A. 1999 (Biology) Colgate University, Hamilton, NY

Media Coverage

  • 2011 - Coverage of Jackson and Dial (2011): Knight, K. (2011). Inside JEB: Bird muscle power not limited solely by wingbeat frequency. J. Exp. Biol. 214, ii. Coverage of Jackson, Tobalske, and Dial (2011): Knight, K. (2011). Inside JEB: Birds ‘flap run’ to save energy. J. Exp. Biol. 214(14), i; BBC News “Flap-running in birds is key to flight evolution”; Science NOW: “Why fly when you can flap?”
  • 2010 - Coverage of Dial and Jackson (2010): Science Friday, NPR, AP (wire)
  • 2008 - Coverage of Dial et al. (2008): BBC, National Geographic, AFP (wire), London Telegraph, The University of Montana News Featured on History Channel’s Evolve (episode: Flight) series

Selected Papers

  • Jackson, B.E., Tobalske, B.W., Dial, K.P. (2011). The broad range of contractile behaviour of the avian pectoralis: functional and evolutionary implications. J. Exp. Biol.214, 2354-2361.
  • Jackson, B.E., Dial, K.P. (2011) Scaling of mechanical power output during burst escape flight in the Corvidae. J Exp Biol214, 452-461.
  • Dial, K.P., Jackson, B.E. (2010) When hatchlings outperform adults: locomotor development in Australian brush turkeys (Alectura lathami, Galliformes). Proc. Roy. Soc. B. http://
  • Jackson, B.E., Segre, P., Dial, K.P. (2009) Precocial development of locomotor performance in a ground-dwelling bird (Alectoris chukar): negotiating a three-dimensional terrestrial environment. Proc. Roy. Soc. B. 276, 3457-3466. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2009.0794
  • Dial, K.P., Jackson, B.E., Segre, P. (2008) A fundamental avian wing-stroke provides a new perspective on the evolution of flight. Nature 451, 985-989.

Research Interests

I am intrigued by animal locomotion, particularly as it relates to non-steady movement.  Instead of long-distance, long duration, constant speed movements where efficiency is very important, I think we have a lot to learn from an animal’s ability to accelerate, maneuver, and decelerate.  Whether for escaping from a predator or chasing a mate, such types of locomotion are most likely under strong selective pressures.  I have approached this theme from two angles: the allometry of burst flight ability in songbirds, and the development or ontogeny of flapping locomotion in baby birds.