I am a behavioral ecologist broadly interested in sexual signal evolution and animal communication. As an undergraduate student, I studied sexual selection in Eastern bluebirds (Sialia sialis) and Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens), as well as other behavioral questions with Northern cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) and honeybees (Apis mellifera).
My dissertation focuses on understanding how sexual signals evolve in the wild. An animal’s environment can target sexual signals via natural selection or alter the strength and form of sexual selection acting on the signal. To investigate the mechanisms underpinning sexual signal evolution, I capitalize on a novel case of rapid sexual signal loss in the Pacific field cricket (Teleogryllus oceanicus), where males have lost the ability to sing. However, males also have gustatory signals in the form of cuticular hydrocarbons. Both signals operate under known natural and sexual selection tradeoffs, which may change with environmental conditions across the crickets’ range. I investigate the role of relevant environmental constraints, the relationship between signaling modalities, and intrinsic signal properties to assess how environmental variation shapes the trajectory of sexual signal evolution.
Ecological effects on sexual signal evolution
How does ecology shape the interaction between natural and selection and determine the trajectory of signal evolution?
Multiple sexual signals
How do animals use signals across different sensory modalities (visual, olfactory, acoustic)?
University of Minnesota (2017-present)
PhD in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior
Oglethorpe University (2012-16)
B.A. in Conservation Biology | Minor in English & Comparative Literature | Urban ecology certificate