Research Summary

In the broadest context, my research integrates endocrine, immune, and behavioral techniques to investigate, the evolution of sex differences and the role they play in life history evolution across breeding and non-breeding seasons.  My work in breeding female dark-eyed juncos (J.h. carolinensis) explored sex differences in testosterone (T) and indicated a role for correlated responses to selection mediating natural levels of T in males.  For my thesis work in non-breeding juncos (J. h. hyemalis), I investigated sex differences in winter dispersal behavior (differential migration) and found alterations in migratory patterns due to climate change as well as latitudinal variation in immune function across the winter range. The implications of these results, particularly immune tradeoffs and the possibility of site dependent differences mitigating not only migratory strategies but immune function, led me to become interested in the intersection of eco-immunology and disease ecology and the role immune function may play in seasonal interactions. As a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Georgia, I investigated how parasite infection, season, and pregnancy influenced tradeoffs between different arms of the immune system in the African Buffalo (Syncerus caffer). My future research interests are centered in interactions among these fields.  I received my PhD from Indiana University in June 2010.