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Evolution of Behavior, Life Histories and Morphology

Evolution of behavior, life histories, and morphology involves the study of the evolution of organismal attributes that underlies understanding of the mechanisms and processes associated with the origins and function of adaptations within species and of biodiversity more generally. Approaches include direct study and comparison of behaviors, life histories and morphologies of sets of related taxa and phylogenetic mapping procedures to trace the evolution of these characters within lineages.
Italics = secondary appointment in EEB, can serve as graduate co-chair only

Thore Bergman (can serve as graduate co-chair only)

Thore Bergman's research interests are in social behavior, vocal communication and sexual selection

Liliana Cortés-Ortiz 

Liliana Cortés-Ortiz integrates genetic, cytogenetic, morphological, and behavioral approaches to understand the evolution and diversification of primates and to establish primate conservation strategies. Her current research includes systematic and phylogeographic investigations of Neotropical primates and the study of hybridization in two well-defined sister species of howler monkeys.

Ben Dantzer (can serve as graduate co-chair only)

Ben Dantzer's research asks questions at the intersection of evolutionary biology, animal behavior, and physiology. He is primarily interested in understanding the factors shaping the evolution of behavioral and life history traits as well as how physiological factors both mediate but also constrain variation in life history and behavioral traits. A major focus of his research has been about how developmental or early life experiences can shape the physiology, behavior, and life histories of individuals. To address his research questions, he performs field research in wild animals such as in red squirrels in the Yukon, Canada or in Kalahari meerkats in South Africa. Altogether, He is interested in studying other mammalian species so that we can better understand the factors that have shaped the evolution of human social behavior.

Alison Davis Rabosky 

Alison Davis Rabosky uses field and molecular studies to answer questions about the evolution of behavior, the origins of phenotypic novelty, and biodiversity, often within reptiles.  Her research includes the role of color polymorphism in mimicry systems, the evolution of sociality in lizards, the systematics of New World snakes, and the conservation and management of island endemics.

Robert Denver (can serve as graduate co-chair only)

Robert Denver studies the proximate and ultimate mechanisms by which animal hormones control development through epigenetic modulation, and thereby mediate environmental effects on phenotypic expression (developmental plasticity). His interests include hormones as mediators of environmental effects on development, physiology and behavior and their function in linking variation in the environment, genotype and phenotype to selection and evolution by regulating gene expression.

Thomas Duda

Thomas Duda investigates the processes associated with ecological diversification. This work includes field and laboratory studies that involve analyses of feeding ecology, phylogenetics and phylogeography, and molecular investigations of the evolution of venoms of members of the predatory, marine gastropod genus Conus.

Meghan Duffy

Meghan Duffy's research focuses on the ecology and evolution of host-parasite interactions. She is especially interested in the intersection of ecology and evolutionary biology, including how rapid evolution affects ecological host-parasite dynamics, and how ecological context influences host-parasite evolution. Her research uses a combination of observational studies of natural populations and communities, manipulative experiments in the lab and field, and mathematical models.

D. André Green

André Green is broadly interested in how functional complexity emerges across different scales of biological organization, from molecules and cells to organisms and populations. His thesis and present work is focused on understanding the development of phenotypically plastic traits at the molecular scale in order to illuminate general mechanisms that promote or constrain the generation of biodiversity. He is currently working to establish the monarch butterfly as a model to study the molecular genetic ‘design’ of migration and understand how this design influences evolution of the migration strategy.

Timothy James

Timothy James' research addresses mating and recombination in fungi using molecular techniques. He particularly focuses on the evolution of fungal mating incompatibility systems, as well as the evolution of alternatives to traditional sexual reproduction such as heterokaryosis and mitotic recombination. He studies organisms including mushrooms, water molds and pathogens such as the agent of amphibian chytridiomycosis.

L. Lacey Knowles

Lacey Knowles' research interests are in speciation, phylogeography and evolutionary radiations.

Hernán López-Fernández

Hernán López-Fernández studies the evolution of freshwater fishes with emphasis on South and Central America, which house the most diverse freshwater fish fauna on earth. The lab often uses the family Cichlidae as a model because it is an iconic subject of study in vertebrate adaptive evolution and the third most diverse family of Neotropical fishes. Research in the lab combines fieldwork, molecular phylogenetics/phylogenomics and comparative methods to integrate ecology, functional morphology, life histories and geography into macroevolutionary analyses of freshwater fish diversification.

Diarmaid O'Foighil

Diarmaid Ó Foighil studies invertebrate evolution and systematics, and malacology.

Daniel L. Rabosky

Daniel Rabosky studies macroevolution, speciation, and evolutionary community ecology. He is especially interested in how ecological factors influence the processes of speciation, extinction, and trait evolution through time and space. His research includes field-based studies of ecological diversification in Australian reptiles, molecular phylogenetics, and mathematical and computer modeling of evolutionary dynamics in a broad range of taxonomic groups.

Tom Schmidt

Thomas Schmidt's laboratory is focused on the physiology and ecology of microbes. We routinely develop and apply nucleic acid-based methods to explore and understand patterns of diversity and function of microbial communities, and to guide cultivation efforts. Our research is currently focused on two microbial communities: those found in terrestrial environments and are involved in the flux of greenhouse gases, and microbes that constitute mammalian microbiome. As we develop a better appreciation for the relationship between the structure and function of these microbial communities, we are conducting research to uncover fundamental principles that explain distribution patterns of microbial populations.

Elizabeth Tibbetts

Elizabeth Tibbetts explores the proximate and ultimate factors that influence animal behavior. Her current areas of research include communication, sexual selection, hormone-mediated life history tradeoffs, the evolution of sociality and insect learing.

Benjamin Winger

Ben Winger studies speciation, biogeography, community assembly, and movement ecology (migration and dispersal) in birds. He uses a variety of approaches and data types in his research, including population genetics, genomics, phylogenetics, museum collections and fieldwork.