College of Arts and Science
Ph.D., Zoology, University of Oxford
M.A., Conservation Biology, Columbia University
B.S., Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz
Patterns and consequences of animal sociality
Animals do not exist in a vacuum, and it is now widely recognized that an individual’s social environment can have substantial impacts on its fitness. My work integrates across multiple biological levels to explore the complex relationships between individuals and their social environment, as well as the consequences this has for ecology and evolution. Why are some individuals more social than others, and what are the costs and benefits of social connectivity? What drives social preferences between certain individuals, and how might this influence evolution? How can individual phenotypes predict group level traits (e.g., social network structure)? Moreover, how might these group level traits influence the fitness of individual group members, leading to feedback loops between individual phenotypes and group level traits? The answers to such questions can help fill crucial gaps in our understanding of the evolutionary implications and selective consequences of animal sociality. Furthermore, I draw on sociality research to address fundamental questions in disease ecology, sexual selection, and animal personality (i.e., consistent between individual variation in behavior).
I use a variety of study systems for my work, with a focus on California quail (Callipepla californica) and three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus). My work with the quail uses radio frequency identification, coupled with blood collection and behavioral observations, to gain a deeper understanding of the patterns and consequences (e.g., disease transmission, reproduction, sentinel dynamics) of the complex social behaviors exhibited by these fascinating birds. My work with the stickleback utilizes a collaborative large-scale transplant experiment in Alaska to shed light on the social drivers of speciation.
Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science Excellence Award, 2022
Groupe de Recherche Interuniversitaire en Limnologie Award, 2022