Research

Broadly speaking, I am interested in the relationship between behavior, physiology, and the environment in which animals live. I study these relationships and their consequences at the organismal level, as well as the consequences of changes at the organismal level on populations and communities.

Environmental Impacts on Social Interactions and Reproduction: How do environmental factors such as food availability, predation risk, and eutrophication influence grouping behavior? Does variation in an organisms environment influence their propensity to form groups? Do these same environmental factors influence reproduction or the development of secondary sex characteristics? In systems with alternative mating strategies, do certain strategies perform better in particular environments? How do toxicants in the environment shape these relationships?

Environmental Impacts on Development and Behavioral Plasticity: How does an individuals environment early in life influence its behavioral repertoire? How do early-life experiences and environment influence individual physiology and behavior, and how are these related to one another? Do endocrine disrupting contaminants influence these relationships and developmental trajectories?

Third Party Interactions and their impact on Social Groups: My dissertation work focused on how individual and dyadic behaviors influenced and was influenced by other group members. This work was performed using the cichlid fish Neolamprologus pulcher in lab-based studies and naturally-formed groups. I have an interest in continuing to examine social group dynamics in light of environmental variation and perturbations.

Predatory Coalitions: How do predatory coalitions form? I am particularly interested in multi-species predatory groups, and using agent-based modeling approaches to investigate how these coalitions emerge.

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