Dr. Broyles

Dr. BroylesSteven B. Broyles,

Professor and Dept. ChairMonarch butterfly on milkweed






Office: 240 Bowers Hall
Lab: 234 Bowers Hall
Phone: 607-753-2901
E-mail : steven.broyles@cortland.edu



University of North Carolina at Charlotte, B.S.
University of Georgia, M.S., Ph.D.


Courses Frequently Taught

  • Biological Sciences I
  • Field Natural History
  • Field Biology
  • Ornithology
  • Economy and Ecology of Belize
  • Introduction to Environmental Studies


Scholarly Interests

My current research interests involve examining (1) patterns of hybridization and introgression in milkweeds, (2) patterns of postglacial migration in temperate forest herbs, and (3) pollination and reproductive biology of flowering plants. I have worked extensively on milkweeds (Asclepias) and to some extent on trillium (Trillium).  Other research interests include violets (Viola), Canada mayflower (Maianthemum), and partridgeberry (Mitchella repens). I have utilized a wide variety of field and laboratory techniques which include observations and tests of pollinator foraging studies, microscopic analysis of pollen on pollinators, mating system analysis using allozymes, and PCR analysis of cpDNA for hybridization and seed dispersal studies. Several undergraduate students have participated in various aspects of these studies and have been recognized as coauthors on published reports (see below)


Teaching Interests

Trained primarily as a plant biologist, my teaching interests encompass a wide spectrum of biological and scientific interests.   Most recently, I have taught Introduction to Environmental Studies.   This course examines many aspects of human interaction with the environment.   Students in this course gain firsthand knowledge of several innovative technologies and visit the Waste-to-Energy facility in Jamesville, NY, the DeLaval Dairy in Preble, NY, Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, and the state-of-the-art Cortland Wastewater treatment plant.  In addition, students examine the current issues of considerable public debate (e.g., use of Genetically Modified Organisms, Community Fluoridation, and PCBs in the Hudson River) through a simulated public forum.  Field Biology is taught at the College’s Outdoor Education Center at Raquette Lake in the Adirondacks.  This course provides practical experience to students in the Adolescence Education Program and Recreation and Leisure studies.  Students participate in numerous taxonomic and experimental activities including dendrochronology, limnology, digital photography, and recording of natural sounds.  Field Natural History has a similar emphasis as in Field Biology, but it is directed toward students with a more limited experience in biological sciences.    Additional activities include construction of birdhouses, bird feeders, surveying amphibian diversity, and examining patterns of migration animals.  Ornithology is taught occasionally during the winter/spring semester at Cortland.  Students study the avian evolution, physiology, anatomy, and flight.  The second half of the course is devoted to field studies and identification of local birds.  Local field trips include Montezuma NWR to observe migratory waterfowl and shorebirds, and Derby Hill to observe hawk migration.  On exceptional highlight of the course is our trip to Cape May NJ during the final week of classes.  During this two-day excursion we see nearly 150 marvelous species of shorebirds, waterfowl, and songbirds.



My family keeps home life bustling with activity.  My sons (Chris, age 11; and Cory, age 8) are avid hockey players.  We frequently travel on Saturdays and Sundays for five months of the year to their hockey games throughout central NY and sometimes into Canada.  Chris is an agile forward and Cory is a smart-thinking goalie.  My wife has retired from teaching at SUNY Cortland to pursue her Ph.D. in the Plant Cell Molecular Biology Program at Cornell University.  This has opened many new avenues of study for her as she struggles through the trials of graduate school again.



Outside of research and teaching, I enjoy gardening, biking, golf, and birding.  I play with milkweeds and unusual flowers in my garden (Brugmansia and Penstemon) during the summer months.  I enjoy coaching little league baseball and interacting with young and mature people in nature.


Recent Talks

  • Travels of the Monarch Butterfly—Homer Garden Club (1999)
  • Sexual Secrets of Woodland Herbs---Onondaga Audubon Society (1999), Town and Country Garden Club (2000)
  • Attracting Birds and Butterflies to Gardens—Homer Garden Club (2001)
  • Sexual Secrets of Grocery Produce---Onondaga Audubon Society (2002)



  • Broyles, S. B., A. Schnabel, and R. Wyatt. 1994. Evidence for long-distance pollen dispersal and interspecific pollen transfer in milkweeds (Asclepias exaltata). Evolution 48:1032-1040.
  • Wyatt, R. and S. B. Broyles. 1994. The ecology and evolution of reproduction in milkweeds (Asclepias). Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 25:423-441.
  • Broyles, S. B. and R. Wyatt. 1995. A reexamination of the "pollen donation hypothesis" in an experimental population of Asclepias exaltata. Evolution 49:89-99.
  • Broyles, S. B., S. L. Sherman-Broyles, and P. Rogati. 1997. Evidence of outcrossing in Trillium erectum and Trillium grandiflorum (Liliaceae). Journal of Heredity 88: 325-329.
  • Broyles, S. B. and R. Wyatt. 1997. The pollen-donation hypothesis revisited: a response to Queller. American Naturalist 149:595-599.
  • Wyatt, R., and S. B. Broyles. 1997. The weedy tropical milkweeds Asclepias curassavica and A. fruticosa are self-compatible. Biotropica (In Press).
  • Cameron, K. D., S. B. Broyles, and P. K. Ducey. 1998. Nonlethal technique for obtaining tissue for molecular studies of Ambystoma salamanders. Herpetological Review 29:20-23.
  • Broyles, S. B. 1998. Post-glacial migration and the loss of allozyme variation in northern populations of Asclepias exaltata (Asclepiadaceae). American Journal of Botany 85:1091-1097.
  • Lipow, S.R., S. B. Broyles, and R. Wyatt.  1999.  Population differences in self-fertility in the “self-incompatible” milkweed Asclepias exaltata.  American Journal of Botany 86:1114-1120.
  • Wyatt, R., S. B. Broyles, and S. Lipow.  2000.   Pollen-ovule ratios in milkweeds.  Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 25:171-180.
  • LaBare, K.M., S. B. Broyles, and R.L. Klotz.  2000.  Exploring nectar biology to learn about pollinators.  American Biology Teacher 62:292-296.
  • Broyles, S.B.  2002.  Hybrid bridges to gene flow:  A case study in milkweeds (Asclepias).  Evolution  56:1943-1953.