Dustin is an Associate Professor of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology at Columbia University. His research 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 and neuroendocrine mechanisms. He has studied a variety of animals, including reptiles, birds, insects, and crustaceans on every continent except Antarctica and Europe.
Swiss National Science Foundation Early Postdoc.Mobility Fellow
During her PhD, Renata studied social behavior in gobies from both a proximate and and ultimate perspective. At Columbia, she will take a comparative and empirical approach to continue to study social evolution in gobies, combining field work throughout the Caribbean to identify key life history traits of goby species with phylogenetic comparative work of this group of fishes.
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, Kenya, and South Africa.
Yiru studies the evolution of avian life history strategies and social behavior. For her MS, she studied how growth strategies could have evolved under different levels of predation pressure in North America passerine birds. For her PhD, she is examining social network dynamics in grey-capped social weavers living the East African savanna ecosystem. Her work emphasizes the formation and maintenance of social groups, as well as how environmental variation influences the stability and robustness of social networks across year.
Shailee is interested in social dominance, communication, and sexual selection in birds. As an undergraduate, she studied alarm calling in herring gulls. After graduation she worked on a project on Himalayan birds in her native India, and worked at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology doing multimedia and citizen science. For her PhD, she is using field experiments, long-term data, and population genetics to examine dispersal and the direct benefits that superb starlings receive while living in complex social groups with surprisingly low kin structure.
Stefanie Siller PhD ’16 -
NSF Graduate Research Fellow
Stefanie is examining how early life conditions influence fitness later in life. After graduating college, she spent a year in Kenya working at the Mpala Research Centre doing conservation outreach with local schools and studying extrapair paternity in birds. For her PhD, she is examining how environmental conditions during early life influence DNA methylation in wild and captive house sparrows.
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 will use long-term behavioral and epigenetic data in super starlings to investigate how social and ecological environments influence individual level trajectories of roles within complex social groups, and subsequent impacts on group stability and structure.
Catherine Yung-Yi Lan MA ’21
Catherine is interested in the evolution of behavioral traits. After graduating college, she spent a year at Academia Sinica in Taiwan doing research on the effects of photoperiodism on burial behavior in hybrid beetles, as well as analyzing gene sequences for wild-caught beetles. For her MA, she will continue studying social behavior in burying beetles.
Jerry Shuzhe Guan MA ’21
Jerry is interested in how environmental change has influenced evolution . For his MA thesis, he will be examining adaptation and gene flow in burying beetles across an elevational gradient in China.
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.