- PhD, Biology, Wesleyan University, Middleton, CT
- MS, Biology, Wesleyan University, Middleton, CT
- BS, Chemistry-Biology, Oberlin College
Professor McDaniel taught biology at the U.S. Naval Academy and did postdoctoral work at Yale University with Ian Sussex in plant developmental biology before taking a biology faculty position at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he is professor emeritus of biology.
He has been a Benedict Distinguished Visiting Professor at Carleton College and a CSIRO McMaster Fellow in Canberra, Australia. McDaniel was the founding director of Rensselaer's undergraduate degree program in environmental science and served eight years in that capacity.
McDaniel has published over 60 scientific articles on animal and plant development and ecological economics, and written three books, Paradise for Sale, co-authored with economist John M. Gowdy (California University Press, 2000), Wisdom for a Livable Planet (Trinity University Press, 2005) and Trail Magic, Creating a Positive Energy Home (2011). He has developed and taught endocrinology, developmental biology, developmental genetics, environmental biology, a half dozen interdisciplinary courses in environmental science, and taught Introductory Biology for 33 years.