We study the mechanisms of social behavior with an eye toward evolution. Like all neuroethologists, we are interested in understanding the mechanisms of behavior, in part, because understanding these mechanisms can inform our perspective on behavioral evolution by revealing the sensory, cognitive, or motor substrate on which selection acts to shape the behavior of organisms.
We study the social behavior of frogs because it is simple and easy to manipulate in both the lab and field. Ongoing projects include:
1) the neural and hormonal mechanisms of mate choice in túngara frogs and spadefoot toads
2) spatial cognition and hippocampal evolution in dart frogs and their relatives
3) behavioral flexibility in túngara frogs
Technically, our research employs RNAseq, molecular cloning, in situ hybridization, quantitative PCR, immunocytochemistry, radioimmunoassay, and behavior analysis.