B.S., 1996, Cal State Long Beach, Marine Biology
Ph.D., 2005, University of Connecticut, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Animal Behavior, Biostatistics, Evolutionary Biology, and Field Studies in Tropical Biology. For more information visit my course website.
Research Interests and Background
My general interests are in the fields of animal behavior, marine biology, and conservation. Current research is examining major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-based mate choice in Pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus), a freshwater sunfish. We are using a variety of molecular and field techniques to assess whether female Pumpkinseed prefer males having MHC genes that would, when combined with her own genes, produce offspring with enhanced immune response against infectious pathogens and diseases.
Past research projects include seasonality of male mate choice in Pumpkinseed; mating preferences in two phenotypes of red-backed salamander; defense strategies of a nudibranch against a fish predator (with Prof. Penney); impacts of vessel traffic on haul out behavior of harbor and grey seals in the southern Gulf of Maine; the evolution of mating signals in a tropical coral reef fish; and annual fecundity of tautog in Long Island Sound. For more information on these projects visit my research website.
Directed Study Projects
Students interested in conducting research in my lab should have a general interest in animal behavior. Studying the behavior of organisms has important implications in the fields of conservation, genetics, ecology, and evolution. For example, increased pollution in clear tropical waters may have a negative impact on species that rely on visual cues for mating, finding food, or avoiding predators. Such changes could favor the evolution of different features better adapted to the new environment, eventually leading to alterations in the genetic makeup of a population. For more information on current research in the lab, previous projects, and student researchers visit my research website.