The Ecology, Evolution, and Diversity of Animal communication

From birds singing in our backyards to dogs smelling every tree on a walk, there is evidence of animals communicating all around us. Animals also exhibit a tremendous diversity in their signals, such as iridescent peacock tails, wolf howls, and honey bee waggle dances. But why do animals showcase such a diversity of signals? How do signals and their diversity evolve? What role does the environment play in animal communication? How are these signals produced? The study of animal communication involves the integration of multiple disciplines, from the physics of light to population dynamics to phylogenetic analyses, which allows us to not only gain insight into how animals communicate but also address fundamental questions in ecology and evolution. The goal of my research on animal communication is to understand the interactions between animal signals, behaviors, natural history, and the environment. I use a multi-disciplinary approach to my research that incorporates fieldwork, large-scale comparative studies, microscopy, and museum specimens.

My research has centered around three main themes:

1) Behavioral and environmental modulation of signals
2) Drivers of signal evolution and diversity
3) Evolution of signal production mechanisms

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