Welcome to my classes and to my research laboratory. In addition to providing curricular information on my current courses, this site is an introduction to the research taking place in my laboratory. For more information on the ongoing research initiatives or the classes, you may contact me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or directly during my posted office hours (Room 148) or in my laboratory (Room #9).
My research is focused on questions surrounding the mechanisms and evolution of behavior. I am interested in how animals evolve solutions to fitness-related problems associated with communication, reproduction, predator avoidance, and response to stochastic ecological conditions. To test hypotheses regarding these evolutionary problems, I study several insect systems.
Insects are wonderful study subjects, as they provide us with countless examples of innovative behavioral strategies. Some current insect systems under study include:
- Male acoustic display and female mate choice in the lek-mating prairie mole cricket (Gryllotalpa major)
- Vibrational communication in the New Zealand giant weta (Anostostomatidae)
- Response to ecological disturbance in the endangered American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus)
I conduct my field research at two primary study sites: The Nature Conservancy's Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in Osage County, Oklahoma, and Matiu/Somes Island Scientific Reserve, Wellington, New Zealand.
I encourage students interested in gaining research experience in animal behavior to arrange a meeting with me to discuss potential research opportunities, available funding sources, and application deadlines for participating in field projects.
Our research team is currently working on several projects:
The effect of sensory pollution on animal reproductive behavior; wind turbine seismic environment influences burial latency in the American burying beetle; Courtney Moore and Christina Johnson.
The role of substrate-borne signals in mediating male-male contests in the New Zealand Cook Strait giant weta; Claire Bestul and Ashley Schmidt.
Life history trade-offs in regard to reproductive decisions in the burying beetle, Nicrophorus marginatus; Anna Bahnson and Brooke Woelber.