My teaching and research interests are broad, but are primarily in zoology, physiology and neurobiology and specifically on the neural control of behavior.

Since 1979, our lab has worked on varied questions with many different animals, but primarily involving the neural control of behavior and invertebrates as subjects. Our approach is the progressive study of an animal’s sensory abilities and movements, and how those permit an animal to locomote, feed, escape or behave in other effective ways. While I have published in the past almost exclusively on arachnids, and my students have published studies ranging from clams and turtles to humans, our lab has explored new directions over the past two decades including studies of bird song, animal senses and currently, discrimination and learning in octopuses. In the octopus studies we are examining the visual, chemical and tactile abilities of these amazing animals, how they move, how use those senses to direct exquisite and precise movements, and how they learn to make a choice and adapt their learning for effective behavior. Therefore, as with all animals we study, we examine an animal’s behavioral abilities from several different perspectives to appreciate both its complexity and its beauty.


Sample Publications

Root, T.M. 1990. Scorpion Neurobiology. In: Biology of the Scorpionida, Gary Polis

(Editor). Princeton University Press. pp. 341-413, 4 plates, 27 Figures

Root, T.M. 1985. The central and peripheral control of scorpion locomotion. In: Neurobiology of Arachnids. Springer-Verlag. CH. XVII.