Staff Directory

Brian Kot black jacket, gray background

Brian Kot

Assistant Professor of Biology and Environmental Science

Office: 937-319-0137
Location: 112B Arts and Science Building


Brian Kot is a comparative vertebrate zoologist with a dual background in applied engineering and biology. He often develops experimental research technology that involves design and fabrication assistance from motivated students. His research interests are multidisciplinary, with hypothesis-driven questions often involving foraging ecology, predator-prey interactions, locomotion performance (e.g., biomechanics and energetics), and sensory capabilities.

Professor Kot has conducted scientific investigations on a wide diversity of vertebrate taxa including baleen whales, seals, hammerhead sharks, whale sharks, marine turtles, seabirds, wolves, gray foxes, fishers, bobcats, prairie dogs, ringtails, white-tailed deer, moose, cactus mice, woodrats, and desert tortoises. Some of his recently developed research equipment includes near-infrared video systems that help test for statistically significant differences in food preferences among nocturnal rodents, and underwater remote sensing systems for use in field experiments involving fish and marine mammal sensory capabilities.  He and his work have been featured in the popular press, online (e.g., BBC – Earth News), and on international television programs (e.g., Discovery Channel’s Animal Planet program). In March 2017, his work was part of a blue whale exhibition (Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story) at the Royal Ontario Museum.

When not involved with teaching or research expeditions, Brian enjoys traveling, hiking, camping, fly fishing, snowshoeing, and restoring classic muscle cars and vintage snowmobiles.



  • Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Minnesota Zoo/University of Minnesota – Duluth
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Texas A&M University
  • Ph.D., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • M.A., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA
  • B.S., Packaging, Michigan State University


  • BIO 160: Life: Organisms and Systems
  • BIO 240: Zoology
  • BIO 330: Anatomy and Physiology I
  • BIO 340: Evolutionary Biology
  • BIO 350: Natural History of the Vertebrates
  • ENVS 330: Conservation Biology
  • SCI 297: Independent Scientific Research
  • SCI 394: Junior Writing Seminar
  • SCI 494: Senior Writing Seminar
  • SCI 495: Senior Project


* denotes mentored or co-mentored undergraduate student

  • Pozzanghera, E.*, B.W. Kot., and J. Hill. Comparative passive range of motion of the canine hind limb: a clinical reference with applications in rehabilitation and physical therapy. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (in submission)
  • Marshall, C.D., K. Rozas*, B. Kot, and V. Gill. Innervation patterns of sea otter (Enhydra lutris) mystacial follicle-sinus complexes. 2014. Frontiers in Neuroanatomy. doi:10.3389/fnana.2014 .00121
  • Marshall, C.D., S. Wiettonkotten, W. Hanke, F. Hanke, A. Marsh*, B. Kot and G. Denhardt. 2014. Feeding kinematics, suction, and hydraulic jetting performance in harbor seals (Phoca vitulina). PLoS ONE 9:e86710. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086710.
  • Kot, B.W., R. Sears, D. Zbinden, E. Borda and M.S. Gordon. 2014. Rorqual whale (Balaenopteridae) surface lunge-feeding behaviors: unified classification, repertoire diversity and evolutionary analyses. Marine Mammal Science 30:1335-1357. [cover article]
  • Kot, B.W., D. Zbinden and R. Sears. 2013. Aerial behavior by the fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus)  in the wake of a freighter and near other boats. Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology 46:267-272.
  • Kot, B.W., R. Sears, A. Anis, D.P. Nowacek, J. Gedamke and C.D. Marshall. 2012. Behavioral responses of minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) to experimental fishing gear in a coastal environment. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 413:13-20.
  • Kot, B.W., T. Morisaka, R. Sears, D. Samuelson and C.D. Marshall. 2012. Low prevalence of visual impairment in a coastal population of gray seals (Halichoerus grypus) in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada. Aquatic Mammals 38:423-427.
  • Kot, B.W., C. Ramp, and R. Sears. 2009. Decreased feeding ability of a minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) with entanglement-like injuries. Marine Mammal Science 25:706-713.
  • Cooper, L.N., N. Sedano, S. Johansson, B. May, J. Brown, C.M. Holliday, B.W. Kot, and F.E. Fish. 2008. Hydrodynamic performance of the minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) flipper. Journal of Experimental Biology 211:1859-1867.