BMI Core Member
(519) 661-2111 x84629
SSC 7412 / AFAR 200
My education and employment has included training in both Psychology (MA, PhD: Johns Hopkins) and Biology (BSc, MSc: Queen’s; Postdoc: Princeton) Departments. As a result I try to integrate approaches from both fields to understand the mechanisms of behaviour. My research directions are driven by ecological and evolutionary questions. To answer these questions I use methodologies including field work, behavioural psychology, neuroendocrinology and molecular biology.
My research addresses the interaction between neural, endocrine, and perceptual mechanisms and the evolution of animal behaviour. Specifically I am interested in how songbirds integrate environmental information -such as seasonal changes in photoperiod or the courtship song of a mate- and use this information to organize their behaviour in an adaptive way. Thus, I am interested in topics such as i) how birds learn and perceive environmental cues (e.g. birdsong), ii) how these cues are processed by the brain, and how the brain then mediates changes in behaviour and/or reproductive physiology, and iii) how these neural and endocrine mechanisms have been shaped by natural and sexual selection to result in adaptive behaviour.