Evolutionary biology across winged systems
I take an integrative approach to answering longstanding questions about animal communication and sexual signaling. Explaining the mechanisms that underlie condition-dependent signals remains a key challenge in behavioral ecology. My recent work has shifted to the new field of mitonuclear ecology, applying my zoological background to tackle how mitochondrial variation influences physiological and behavioral performance. In my first postdoctoral fellowship, I used the model system of the fruit fly to explore how variation at the cellular level cascades upward to variation in behavior--particularly mating display behaviors. Recently, I began a new position working with Matt Toomey to better understand the genetic and physiological underpinnings of carotenoid-based pigmentation in birds--which has been hypothesized to have key links to mitochondria.