Director, Hubbard Brook Field Ornithology Program
My field-based research program focuses on an integrative understanding of how the environment shapes the evolution of complex social behavior, especially reproductive strategies and cooperation. I am particularly interested in the role of social behavior in population and evolutionary dynamics involving sexual selection, population differentiation, and adaptation to environmental change. My research is integrative, linking insights about the ecological and phylogenetic context of social behavior with the underlying neuroendocrine and molecular mechanisms. I combine hormone assays and genomic approaches with experimental manipulations and demographic field studies. I also draw on comparative and evolutionary approaches to explore the phylogenetic basis of social behaviors.
My research has focused on behavioral and demographic studies of warbler, sparrow, babbler, and thrush populations in North America, the Caribbean Islands, and Borneo, and comparisons of life histories and reproductive strategies of temperate, New World, and Old World tropical birds. My current work is based at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire and in the Caribbean Islands.
My training includes a Ph.D. from Cornell University in behavioral ecology with Michael Webster and Scott Sillett, an interdisciplinary M.S. from Michigan State University in ecology, evolutionary biology and behavior with Catherine Lindell, and a B.S. from Iowa State University in zoology under the mentorship of Carol Vleck. I conducted postdoctoral research at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, and the Smithsonian Center for Conservation Genomics with Robert Fleischer and Thomas Martin. Prior to my doctoral training, I taught field courses as a Faculty Instructor of conservation biology in New Zealand and worked as a Project Manager on the California Channel Islands on the front lines of bird conservation.