Research

I am a behavioral ecologist interested in social behavior, signal evolution, and sexual selection. My work thus far has all used birds. The overarching theme that unifies my research is looking at how the environment influences animal behavior. I partition the environment into ecological and social components, and use a combination and observational and experimental approaches in my research. Additionally, I utilize a number of tools to answer my research questions, including social network analysis, radio telemetry, hormonal assays, GIS, remote sensing, and field-based experiments.

Click on the photos below for more information about each topic.

Ornamentation expression during non-breeding periods

Across taxa, breeding individuals of many species exhibit seasonal dichromatism, in that sexual signals may be reduced or absent in non-breeding periods. Although exhibiting ornamentation during non-breeding periods could benefit individuals via enhanced access to resources, theory predicts costs to producing or maintaining these signals.

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How does plumage hue (redness) relate to molt date?

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Do varying levels of ornamentation in these males covary with androgen levels?

Drivers of space use and social interactions during the non-breeding season

Animals often face different ecological and evolutionary pressures during non-breeding periods relative to breeding periods. I am interested in variation in behavior during the non-breeding season, and what might drive individual decisions during this period.

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How does fire influence social structure?

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How does space use and sociality vary between phenotypes?

Environmental affects on wading bird foraging site selection and foraging success

The Everglades, and other environments, are dynamic systems that offer a variety of foraging habitats for wading birds. What environmental variables make for the best foraging habitat for wading birds?

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Enclosures with shallow water and varying degrees of submerged aquatic vegetation

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