Welcome

I’m currently a PhD candidate in the Oakley lab at the University of California, Santa Barbara. My primary research interest is understanding how evolution produces complex traits like behaviors. How can we study the evolutionary history of such an ephemeral character? Since behaviors emerge from the combination of underlying genetics, morphology and physiology, we can break behaviors down into their component parts and ask about the evolutionary origins and history of the components themselves. Did some components evolve alongside the behaviors they underlie? Were some co-opted for use in a new context? These questions require integrative approaches set in a comparative context. My current research draws from the fields of animal behavior, neuroethology and molecular evolution to understand 1) how animals behave, 2) the underlying neural and genetic basis of those behaviors, and 3) the evolutionary history of those component mechanisms.

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