Research in my lab broadly focuses on Animal Behavior and Behavioral Ecology with special emphasis on animal cognition. We generally use interdisciplinary approaches by bridging evolutionary and mechanistic perspectives on behavior. Proximate mechanisms underlying behavioral traits may be better understood when placed within the evolutionary context and, equally, evolution of behavioral traits may be better understood knowing specific underlying mechanisms.
Most of our recent work has focused on investigating adaptive variation in cognition and the brain. We concentrated our research efforts specifically on spatial memory and the hippocampus, a brain structure involved in spatial memory and used food-caching birds as our model. Our goal has been to identify specific environmental features that may influence selection on memory and to investigate whether selection on memory resulted in enhanced memory associated with specific changes in hippocampal structure and neural processes. Institution Lab