Research in my lab examines the behavioral and microbial ecology of animals, with special interest in reproductive behavior, animal ornamentation, and evolutionary theory. My focal species are lizards of the desert southwest, and much of my field work occurs in the beautiful Chiricahua Mountains of southeast Arizona.
A long-term interest of my lab group has been the function and regulation of female-specific ornaments, which we study in the context of sexual selection theory. With my newest line of research, we are examining the role of microbes in protecting lizard eggs from environmental pathogens in the absence of parental care. I describe these and other lines of research in more detail here.
I enjoy working with students in both the field and the laboratory. I encourage students to develop full ownership of their research projects, which can be based on my ongoing research or motivated by other interests of the student. Although I currently work with lizards, I am open to mentoring student projects on other taxa. If you have an interest in behavioral and/or microbial ecology, animal communication, reproductive behavior and physiology, desert ecology, lizards, etc. please feel free to contact me about research opportunities with my lab group.
When conducting field work, my students and I stay at the American Museum of Natural History’s Southwestern Research Station (SWRS), which is a truly awesome place that attracts an international community of scientists, students, and naturalists. It is an exciting and fun place to work, and it offers incredible opportunities. When we are not working on our own projects (which is infrequent… we work really hard when we are there!), we assist other researchers, help with conservation projects, give research presentations to visiting K-12 classes, mentor these students in research projects, and explore the incredible natural history of the region by hiking, birding, and night-cruising (mostly for snakes but also for mountain lions!). It is a beautiful and ecologically diverse location.
Find out more (including information about their volunteer/internship program) here!