- Comparative Behavioral Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany
- Behaviour & Ethology, Preregistrations, Zoology
Educational and work
My BS degree is in biology from the Evergreen State College in the US where I studied play behavior in coatis (a raccoon relative). I started research in comparative cognition during my PhD as a Gates Scholar in Nicola Clayton’s lab at the University of Cambridge where I investigated how three species in the crow family solve social problems. I discovered that even the most solitary species studied so far uses social support after fights. As a SAGE Junior Research Fellow at the University of California Santa Barbara, I expanded this research to investigate the role of behavioral flexibility in cognition. I used a National Geographic Society/Waitt Grant to establish a field site to study behavioral flexibility across species with different brain sizes. I found that smaller-brained great-tailed grackles are as behaviorally flexible as large-brained New Caledonian crows. As a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge, I used quantitative genetics to investigate what social, ecological, and genetic factors are associated with intra-species variation in brain size in 1,300 red deer from a long-term study in Scotland. From the end of my Leverhulme Fellowship and now as a Senior Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, I am investigating what behavioral flexibility is and whether it is a mechanism for surviving in new environments in rapidly expanding species (grackles and humans).