Research

Our lab works primarily on behavioral ecology, ecology and evolution. In particular, we look at the evolution of communication and cooperation in animals.

My research also focuses on ways to improve teaching science to undergraduates.

Predator Approach Behavior in Mosquitofish

This project aims to determine the functions of predator approach (aka predator inspection) behavior in mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis). Predator approach is when a potential prey moves towards a potential predator. There are several possible explanations including: 1) information gathering by the prey, 2) deterring pursuit by the predator by demonstrating the prey's knowledge or quality, 3) approaching advertises the prey's quality and attracts mates. We will also examine the role, if any, of male color variation in their behavior.

Vocalization Diversity in Damselfishes

Damselfishes are very common and soniferous coral reef fishes. Only recently, however, has the mechanism for their vocalizations been discovered. Our lab is looking at the variability in this mechanism and the effects it has on vocalizations.

Recall's Influence on Learning in Biology

Reconstructing information appears to benefit learning, and in many courses students take quizzes before lecture and during class. I have been collecting data to determine whether these quizzes are effective because they necessitate recall and/or because they necessitate studying. This research will help me (and hopefully other instructors) plan more efficient courses with better learning outcomes.

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