Broadly, I study the mechanisms of social behavior with an eye toward evolution. Like all neuroethologists, I am 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) the neural and hormonal mechanisms of parental care in dart frogs, and
3) the spatial cognition of dart frogs.
Technically, our research employs molecular cloning, in situ hybridization, quantitative PCR, immunocytochemistry, radioimmunoassay, and behavior analysis.