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Behavioral ecology is rapidly becoming an integrative discipline. For example, researchers interested in social systems (i.e. sociality and mating systems) have made progress in establishing some of the links between ecological variation, social systems and the underlying genetic and neural mechanisms regulating social and mating behaviors. The next challenge to behavioral ecologists, and a major objective of my research program, is to determine the link between ecological variation, neural mechanisms and fitness in social species. My lab groups uses a combination of field and laboratory research to test integrative hypotheses for animal social systems that link ecology, mechanism, and fitness. In particular, we ask questions about how intraspecific variation in ecology (or environmental conditions) affects the expression and fitness consequences of mammalian sociality and mating systems. I am conducting or developing projects that address the following questions:

(1) How does intraspecific variation in ecology influence social mating systems (e.g. monogamy), including the neural mechanisms underlying social and mating behaviors?

(2) To what extent are the reproductive fitness consequences of sociality linked to intraspecific variation in ecology?

(3) Does variation in environmental and social conditions influence the extent to which direct reproduction is shared equitably among plurally breeding females in the same social group?

To answer these questions, I am conducting two main projects using non-traditional rodent species - Octodon degus and Microtus kikuchii. Most of my research takes place in Chile and Taiwan and is funded by the National Science Foundation.

If my research interests you, I invite you to read more about my lab group and projects. I am usually open to new collaborations and taking on students with serious interests in behavioral ecology. If you are interested in joining my lab as a graduate student, please read relevant papers listed on this site and contact me with some research ideas. I usually prefer to interact with students several months prior making a decision about sponsorship.

Prospective students should also visit the University of Louisiana at Monroe Graduate Studies webpage (http://www.ulm.edu/gradschool/). There, you will find details about the application process, assistantships and appropriate forms.

My research is funded by the National Science Foundation.