Research

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Communication systems and social behavior coevolve to shape the way animals look, think, and act.  We study how the coevolution of social behavior and communication influences animal morphology, physiology, neurobiology, and behavior.

A lot of our work focuses on Polistes paper wasps, especially Polistes dominulus, which have visual signals of fighting ability and Polistes fuscatus, which have visual signals used for individual recognition.

Communication

  • Signals involved in social and sexual selection
  • How does communication influence the evolution of senders and receivers?
  • What maintains signal honesty?
  • Sensory and cognitive mechanisms that facilitate and co-evolve with recognition

Cooperation

  • Behavioral and physiological mechanisms that underlie cooperation

Cognition

  • The evolution of social intelligence
  • The role of specialization vs. generalization in cognitive evolution

Juvenile hormone

  • JH as a regulator of life history tradeoffs
  • How social and environmental factors influence JH-titers