I am broadly interested in understanding the genetic mechanisms underlying the evolution of behaviors, and have thus far used African cichlid fish as a model to identify the genetic basis for behavioral diversification between species. By harnessing the genetic structure of repeated natural populations undergoing distinct evolutionary selection regimes, we can identify genes that contribute to adaptive behaviors. Additionally, I am interested in the evolutionary dynamics of sex chromosome evolution and genetic basis of diversity in sexually polymorphic characters, including morphology and behavior.
African cichlids show a great variety of behaviors in the wild that allow them to find mates, defend their homes, and gather food. Species can have very different strategies for these tasks – these behaviors critical for the survival of the animal, and often have a genetic basis. I’ve worked to develop methods to quantify exploratory behaviors in the lab to ultimately ask questions about the genetic changes that influence the … More Identifying species differences in behavioral patterns