Associate Professor of Psychology and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Additional Research Interests: Comparative psychology, Life history, Social behavior
My research group focuses on understanding the physiological and evolutionary causes of variation in behavioral and life history traits in wild animals. We are especially interested in understanding the causes of variation in social behaviors (parental care, sexual and non-sexual pair bonds, cooperative behavior) and life history traits like growth, reproduction, and survival. We place a particular emphasis on understanding how early life or developmental conditions shape adult physiology, behavior, and life histories. We study these questions in wild animals in natural populations and obtain measures of physiology, behavior, and life histories from individuals over their lifetime. Current study systems include North American red squirrels in the Yukon, Canada, meerkats in South Africa, Peromyscus species in Michigan, and prairie voles in Ohio. All of our research is focused on addressing questions that are set in the evolutionary and ecological context of the study species. We aim to be "integrative biologists" and incorporate laboratory measures into our field research. We also sometimes complement our empirical work with phylogenetic comparative analyses and meta-analyses to address our research questions.
Major Research Questions Addressed:
1) What are the proximate and evolutionary causes of variation in parental care and pair-bonding (monogamous) behavior?
2) Why do some individuals or species exhibit more social behavior than others?
3) How do developmental conditions shape the physiology, behavior, and life history characteristics of individuals?
4) How does natural selection act upon physiological and behavioral traits in wild animals?
5) Do physiological systems shape or constrain evolutionary patterns of life history traits?
Recent Representative Publications:
See full list of publications on my Google Scholar Profile
Please visit my webpage for more information about my research:
I am currently seeking graduate students to join our group in Fall 2023 . Please see my webpage first and then contact me for further information. Note that application materials for graduate students are due in December 2022.