I am an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Psychology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK). Our lab addresses fundamental questions about the evolution of animal behavior. We work primarily with acoustically communicating animals, including treefrogs and field crickets, to understand receiver decision-making and its evolutionary consequences.
Academic Background and Training
Prior to joining UTK, I completed an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology at the Centre for Evolutionary Biology, University of Western Australia. My research in Dr. Leigh Simmons' lab examined the evolution of the mammalian baculum (penis bone) and the sexual co-evolution of genital shapes in rodents. My work there drew on recently developed three-dimensional imaging techniques and natural history collections to test longstanding hypotheses about how sexual selection drives trait diversification across species.
I earned my PhD in the labs of Dr. Mark Bee and Dr. Marlene Zuk at the University of Minnesota, where I was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellow. My dissertation research primarily focused on constraints on the evolution of acoustic signals by sexual selection. I used both vertebrate and invertebrate systems to answer questions about how multivariate sexual signals are shaped by mate choice, how biotic noise affects the expression of female mating preferences, the capacity of within-individual variation to mask the between-individual variation that is the target of mate choice, and the role of behavior in the establishment of novel phenotypes.