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Michael Breed joined the faculty of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 1977 where he is now a Professor. He received his B.A. from Grinnell College in 1973 and his Ph.D from the University of Kansas in 1977. He is also a faculty fellow at the University’s Institute of Behavioral Genetics and had a three-year appointment as an Adjunct Professor for the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Breed's teaching interests are in animal behavior. He co-authored, with Janice Moore, a textbook on animal behavior that was published in 2011. Breed and Moore co-edited an encyclopedia of animal behavior that was published in 2010. A lab manual, published in 2007 and also on animal behavior, was co-authored with Chadwick Tillberg and Sarah Hinners. He served as the executive editor of the journal Animal Behaviour from 2006-2009.
Breed’s research is on social insects, particularly on kin and nestmate recognition, which is central to hypotheses related to the evolution of sociality in insects. In addition to his work on nestmate recognition he has also published on the food recruitment strategies and ecology of tropical ants, mating frequency in yellow jackets, defensive behavior and alarm pheromones of honey bees, and mating systems and communication cockroaches. He has published over 100 research articles and has co-edited four books on social insects.