Research in the lab is founded on addressing fundamental ecological questions about why animals do the things that they do in nature, and why some of them are in trouble. The questions we ask and the approaches we use to answer them overlap with the fields of evolution, behavior, physiology, and conservation biology. We primarily study birds. As our work in both the tropics and prairies have made clear, an important driver of bird behavior, population biology, and physiological condition is the weather. Although we know quite a bit about how small endotherms respond to temperature variation, we have little knowledge of the consequences of variation in rainfall. Thus, a recurring theme of both our tropical and temperate work includes understanding how both short-term storms and long-term variation in precipitation regimes influence animal populations.
Birds are also the most mobile of animals; many make one-way dispersal movements away from where they were born or where they last reproduced. Many also make major return-trip migrations each year. That mobility has tremendous consequences for all other aspects of their biology. Another recurring theme in our work is to understand what selective pressures result in the diversity of movement patterns we see in the wild.
Our lab culture
We believe that diversity of perspectives, cultures, and past experiences is a critical component of a healthy, equitable society, and makes science and scientific communities stronger. We actively support our Black colleagues, people of color, all genders and sexualities, and other voices who have been historically and continue to be underrepresented in our field. As a lab, we are engaged in ongoing work to overcome our own biases and to combat discrimination in the broader academic setting via self-education, external trainings, and critical review of our policies and behaviors. If you have suggestions for actions we can take to raise up diverse voices, then please get in touch.
Alice’s mentoring approach is based on the goal of developing intellectual independence and tailoring a student’s program to their individual career goals. Past and ongoing student-led projects overlap with the core themes of the lab to different degrees. We work hard, but value a healthy work-life balance. We welcome inquiries from any prospective undergraduates, graduate students, or post-docs interested in the topics we study.