We are interested in the evolution of animal behaviors and most research in the lab focuses on acoustic communication in frogs and insects. Communication is a critical determinant of fitness because it mediates interactions involved in mate selection, competition for resources, and the maintenance of connections in complex social groups. We work primarily in the field to understand how animal communication systems evolved, and how selection on animal communication is affected by complex social and environmental conditions. We also explore the relationships between communication, cognition and sensory ecology to better understand the mechanisms by which communication takes place, which gives insights into the subsequent limits and trade-offs in the evolution of communication systems.
Our specific interests include: (1) Assessment, competitive strategies and cognition in animal contests, (2) Estimating selection on communication signals by measuring female preference functions, (3) Behavioral plasticity: responses of signalers and receivers to changes in the social and physical environment, including both mechanistic causes and behavioral consequences of this plasticity, (4) Communication as a social process and the relationships between the communication network and the social network.
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