Dustin is a Professor of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology at Columbia University. His research spans molecules to populations, from invertebrates to vertebrates, and across levels of analysis, scales of biological organization, and the globe. He takes an integrative approach to understand why complex animal societies form and how organisms cope with environmental change through studies that combine behavior, ecology, and evolution with those of the underlying molecular, neural, and neuroendocrine mechanisms. He has studied a variety of animals, including reptiles, birds, mammals, insects, and crustaceans on every continent except Antarctica, as well as in the Caribbean and Pacific Oceans.
Patrick is interested in why animals cooperate – and what can tip them over into conflict. During his PhD, he studied the evolution of altruism in South American wasps, and during his first postdoc he developed theoretical models. At Columbia, he will investigate how tropical and temperate social insect populations may differ in their social evolution. He will be studying a species of wasp that spans much of Africa and working with populations in Cameroon and South Africa.
Stefanie is examining how early life conditions influence patterns of DNA methylation, social behavior, and fitness later in life. During her PhD, she asked similar questions in birds, focusing on house sparrow populations from across the United States. For her postdoctoral work, she will be transitioning to bury beetles, where she can work with populations in the lab to more easily to manipulate early life conditions, and because they have much smaller genomes than birds. She is working with both cooperative beetles from Asia, as well as locally with beetles from New York to develop a new lab-based study system.
Alexis is interested in the evolution of complex social behavior, communication, and cognition. For her MS she studied whether female ornamentation in Indian peafowl signals social status, and whether hormonal mechanisms link variation in ornamentation with status. For her PhD, she is using long-term behavioral data in superb starlings to investigate how the social and ecological environments influence individual level trajectories of reproductive roles within complex social groups, as well as the subsequent impacts on group stability and structure.
Joe received his MA from Hunter College before joining the lab. He manages the lab in New York, overseeing students, helping with bioinformatics and data analysis, and all aspects of lab work.
Wilson has worked on the African starling project since 2001. He left in 2006 to complete his Diploma in Wildlife Management at the Kenya Wildlife Service Training Institute.
Korir has worked on the African starling project since 2019. Previously he worked on weaver and guinea fowl projects at the Mpala Research Centre.
former lab members
Renata Mazzei ’19 - ’21
Swiss National Science Foundation Fellow
Postdoctoral Associate, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières