How do animals respond to changes in their physical and social environments, what are the mechanisms mediating the behavioral and physiological responses, and what are the consequences for the individual and population?
These are the types of questions we address in our research. As such, our work crosses traditional disciplinary lines to achieve a more complete understanding of animal function. We try to identify important questions and then utilize appropriate methods to answer them. Our general premise is that one must study, or at least appreciate, animals in their natural environments if one is to truly understand how they work. A strength of our research is the combination of field based observations of classical naturalists with the rigorous experimentation and techniques of modern biologists.
Click on the images below to learn more about each project.
Our work on tropical birds illustrates what we can learn from studies of free-living organisms when addressing questions of animal function from both proximate (mechanisms) and ultimate (consequences) perspectives.
More recently we have broadened our work on tropical birds to investigations of the neuroendocrine mechanisms mediating social behavior through a collaboration with Drs. Brandt Ryder and Brent Horton.
Another aspect of our work examines the challenges free-living organisms face when allocating their limited resources, typically energy, towards competing functions.